This month’s focus is about ‘getting it done’ – be it a big project, a long-term goal, or something in your personal life like getting fit or losing weight and getting an accountability partner is one of the most effective ways of keeping you on track and getting stuff done.
My last blog post was all about lists and how to get a to-do list system working for you because without a plan, getting big projects completed will be a struggle, especially if you’ve got more than one on the go.
Accountability is one of the most effective ways of committing to a project, and getting it finished.
I know from personal experience that goal setting is really important – but keeping on track can be really tough. The first few weeks or months may seem easy – but as soon as other stuff comes up, or more projects land on your desk, big, long term goals can take a back seat. What seemed important and achievable – suddenly becomes a chore, and in most cases, if it’s not actually earning you money, gets left to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ pile. (And a sense of guilt and shame which leads you to abandon the project or goal entirely.)
So, what is accountability? Well, I define it as; having something in place, other than yourself, that encourages you to get something specific done. It can either have a consequence (if you don’t do X, then Y will happen) or a monetary value that enforces the action (or whatever it is you’re being accountable for) to happen.
Let’s take one of my goals as an example. I wanted to get fit and although I’m fairly good at starting an exercise program, sticking to it long term is something I really struggle with. So, in the spring I joined ‘Borrow My Doggy’, which is an organisation that puts dog owners in touch with people who love dogs so that they can ‘borrow the dog’ to walk. It’s a bit like match.com for dog lovers. You put up a profile, enter your preferences for what dogs you like (small, med, or large) and where you live and then BMD ‘matches you’ to a dog they think would suit you. You then review the dogs profile, and message the owner if you’re interested.
I’ve been walking and looking after Ruby (See blog pic) since May and it’s working a treat – I have regular walking times, and the ‘accountability’ kicks in when I’m not really feeling like going for a walk, as I know I can’t let Ruby – or her owner – down. (Consequence.)
I’ve now stepped up this strategy and have signed up to Aspire’s Swim the Channel Challenge – which is swimming 22 miles in 12 weeks. I’m doing it for charity through just giving – and I’ve already got donations. I now HAVE to stick to my swimming goals – three times a week, 40 lengths a go – or I lose the challenge and let my sponsors down. (Monetary value which enforces my action.)
Using accountability is really smart – and it’s a sure way to get ‘it’ done, especially if you know it’s going to be a long-term goal that could lose its appeal.
Did you know that 85% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February? Also, interestingly, the number 1 resolution is to lose weight and get fit. The top 3 reasons why they get abandoned; no proper planning, losing interest, and the most relevant to this article, doing it alone.
How do you get accountability?
The first step to getting accountability is to admit that you need it! I think most solo entrepreneurs are die hard ‘do-it-yourselfers’ and even though this attitude has got you to the level of success you are at the moment, you may have forgotten what actually contributes to the larger ‘wins’ within your business. Being fiercely independent is all well and good, but how much of the ‘I can do this myself’ is really serving you? Understanding the power of accountability and how that can be built in with your goal setting will see your performance reach higher results and in quicker time.
It took me several years of struggling to finally admit I needed some help with my goals, and as soon as I hired my mentor my results were almost instantaneous.
My top 4 ways to get accountability
- Sign up to something relevant to your goal – but has a consequence if it doesn’t get done.
- Join groups on Facebook – or other social platforms – that help you keep you on track. Just stating your intentions to a group of peers can have really positive results and you’re more likely to finish it.
- Get an accountability partner – or a group of people – who can keep you motivated. This can be both in business or personally (be part of a running team for example).
- Hire a coach – or accountability partner. This is the ultimate ‘get it done’ strategy – and usually the higher the monthly cost, the more incentive you have. The caveat is to make sure they are suited to your needs and have a good track record of helping their clients achieve their goals.
The more you have to lose – in relation to goal setting – the more likely you are to achieve*
The most common feedback I get from my book coaching clients is that if they hadn’t hired me, they wouldn’t have got their book written. This is powerful proof that accountability works and if you’ve ever struggled to get big projects finished or take your business to the next level, then why not step out of your comfort zone and ask for help?
Whatever your big project is – be it in business or something personal, having accountability is one of the most effective ways of achieving your goal. Admitting you need some help can unlock that missing piece – that magic wand that helps you fly. However, having the right type of accountability is key – so make sure what you choose is relevant and of enough reward/punishment to keep you motivated.
If writing a book has been on your to-do list and you’re ready to take the plunge to ‘getting it done’ then why not get in touch. I have several services which can start you on your book writing journey, from a simple ‘book discovery call’ to monthly coaching.
Or if you want to find out more about how writing a book can get more clients why not buy my book – Publish Your Way to More Clients.
*A study was done to see what motivates people to do something – and interestingly enough people who had set up to lose something, rather than a promise of a reward, were three times more likely to stick with their goal. Check out this fascinating article by Washington University. Negative reinforcement was referred to as the more powerful but less preferred method of the two.