In life, one can be accountable to many things. A worker is accountable to the boss, students are accountable to their teachers, children are accountable to their parents, and couples are accountable to each other. Accountability is not about concerns but rights. It is a personality attribute which will help one to own up actions and results regardless of the situation one faces. As you are accountable to people so you are to yourself.
Being accountable to oneself is known as self-accountability or personal accountability. What is self-accountability? Self-accountability is when one takes control of one’s responsibilities, actions, mistakes, values and goals. One is responsible for the actions, decisions and choices one makes in life. As such, no one should blame another for one’s wrong choices. Everyone is the decider of the choices and actions he takes. In one of their writings, Lightbox Leadership nailed the definition of self-accountability when it stated, “Accept responsibility for your actions. Be accountable for your results. Take ownership of your mistakes.”
Holding yourself accountable means to take responsibility for your achievements and mistakes. Dan Millman said “Responsibility is a grace you give yourself not an obligation.” Kristen Moeller also said “Responsibility is a grace we give ourselves. It is not something imposed from outside of us. We have a say in how our life goes.” Chinwe Onwubiko said “Accepting responsibility for one’s actions will make one a credible and commendable person.”
To achieve purpose and vision, we have to understand that we are solely responsible for our actions. This knowledge then becomes a driving force pushing us to face our goals with a determination for success and victory. Knowing that we and nobody else is to blame when we fail generates a greater determination to succeed.
For one striving to hold himself accountable, there are quite a number of things to learn and do in order to make the journey a little easier. Some of these are as follows:-
HAVE A TO-DO LIST
To hold yourself accountable for a particular pursuit or engagement, you have to write out the things you need to do to achieve the desired goal. Where one does not have a plan, one cannot hold oneself accountable to anything. This confirms the old saying that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” As such, always start your mission or day with a comprehensive, detailed and achievable plan of what you want to accomplish. You must be committed to the list and make sure you implement every action to the letter.
In preparing a to-do list, you must have goals of what you want to achieve or accomplish. The list must contain the things that need to be done as well as objectives that will bring you closer to achieving those goals. It is only a plan of how those goals are achievable that can take you to your destination. The plan is like a map that guides a traveller. Without it, the journey may be disorganised, weary and hopeless. Therefore being accountable means always taking time to clearly describe what one wants to accomplish so that goals will be recognized when achieved.
MAKE A SCHEDULE
A schedule of objectives is good for accountability. But keeping a to-do-list is not enough. Rather what is important is how to achieve the items on the list. The schedule acts like a reminder of what your goals are. Therefore it is always better to create a schedule and hold oneself responsible to execute the plan. Having a plan for each day makes the new day more interesting and successful.
REVIEW YOUR PERFORMANCE
To be accountable, one must always review one’s performance each day. A review is an assessment of the progress made on the plans. One can decide to review at the end of each task or at the end of every day. With that, it will help you to do some checks and balances on your activities. Keeping a note of successes and failures while reviewing will serve as a reminder or lessons for future pursuits as well as provide reasons to do things another way. While reviewing, ask questions like:-
1) Did I perform my task for today?
2) What do I feel good about?
3) How do I handle obstacles and temptations?
4) How do I handle negative thoughts and situations?
Keep evaluating how your efforts are paying off. Correct mistakes quickly enough and avoid distractions until you get where you want to be.
REWARD AND PUNISH YOURSELF AS APPROPRIATE
When you complete a task very well, give yourself a reward but when you are not performing up to your expectations or below your standards, always punish yourself. In terms of rewarding oneself, you can give yourself a treat or buy something meaningful or you can celebrate your success no matter how small it is. After all, you have come a long way from where you started from and are a step closer to your goal. In the aspect of punishments, one can deny oneself some of the things one enjoys most, such as a visit to the cinema, a treat or even working extra hours to ensure that the goal is met.
BE CLEAR ON YOUR GOALS
When writing your to-do-list, let your goals be simple, concise and clear at the same time. If your goals are not well defined, it might be impossible or long drawn to achieve them. Review your list at least once a day, if possible memorise and recite them without thinking. Make them a part of you. When the goals are clear, it becomes difficult not to hold yourself accountable for not accomplishing the tasks on the list.
Avoid procrastination by all means because it is the killer of visions. Never put off what you have planned to achieve in a day or what you have on your to-do-list. Never change your plans of activities for activities without plans. It is better to execute your plans and fail rather than to leave them unexecuted because there is a lesson even in failure. Procrastination has never taken anyone anywhere. As time is an essential part of accountability, procrastination steals time thereby making you unaccountable.
Finally, being accountable means being purposeful. It is the right path to achieving great things. The right place to start is to determine how to do so. You will most definitely enjoy the journey.