Accountability in Practice: How I Stay Accountable with My Personal Goals

accountability: how I'm accomplishing my daily goals, www.marianamcdougall.com

I’m not great with accountability. Let me rephrase that. I’m an accountable person when it comes to my work. But when it comes to personal goals, I often don’t do well with accountability strategies, such as checking in with an accountability buddy. But I think that’s just because I hadn’t found “my people” yet.

As a multipotentialiate, or scanner, or my favourite term, multitalented person, I often have several projects on the go, which means a few of them don’t always get finished. All my work projects get done, but the things I want to do for myself often go by the wayside as I attend to more important things. 

Exercising is the worst. Well, actually, exercising is the best. But it’s the thing I’m the least likely to maintain accountability for. Which is ironic, since I spent 17 years teaching people how to do it. That was before homeschooling kids while running a business.

To stay on top of a daily exercise routine, I’ve tried checking in with my husband to tell him what exercise I’ve done, I’ve tried the apps, I’ve tried classes, I’ve tried it all. But eventually, I end up dropping out of whatever it is I “committed” to doing.

But for the last 4 weeks, I’ve been exercising religiously for 30 minutes a day, except for one day when my arthritis pain was a little too much to think about exercising at all. And then I just exercised for an hour the next day to make up for it.

How did I stay accountable for the last 4 weeks?

accountability: stay motivated to reach your goals

It seems odd, but the one accountability method that actually worked for me was one where I didn’t have to (directly) speak to anyone about my goal. But a lot of people are watching, and these people are all multitalented, too, which means they also have a hard time with sticking to some projects, and they get it. It’s helpful to be in a group of people striving to reach goals who won’t harshly judge you if you fall off the wagon (because they fall frequently, too). Oddly, to me, that motivates me more.

About 3 months ago, I joined the ranks of the “PuttyTribe,” Emilie Wapnick’s group for people who, like me, refuse to pick “one thing” for the rest of their lives. People who, like me, have found many passions instead of one, and want to “be everything.” The PuttyTribe is an amazing group of people who are all interested in each other’s success, and who frequently “get together” virtually to check in with one another’s goals and progress. It’s all done in a friendly manner and doesn’t feel overbearing.

Participating in one of the PuttyTribe’s morning business huddles via Zoom, and telling 5 other people what my goals were for the week put a fire under my behind to finally get things done and voilá, a 3-month content calendar for both my websites was finally finished.

But what really did it in helping me to keep up my exercise routine was the July JumpStart project, in which one of the PuttyTribe members created a spreadsheet with all the participant’s names on the top row and a daily goal and achievement column for each member underneath. So, every day, I go in and write my goals for the day, and every day, I go in and say whether or not I’ve accomplished my goals. This is awesome for several reasons:

1. It keeps me on my toes with ensuring that I create daily goals (soooo much more effective than weekly or monthly goals for me, though I do all of them);

2. It ensures that I set realistic goals for myself, because a lot of people will see what those goals are and if I’ve accomplished them, and

3. A lot of people are in the project, so I want to make sure I can write DONE! on my daily goals. It’s a trifle embarrassing if I don’t accomplish any of my goals, and all of the members of the project see “not done” on all my goals for the day.

And while all those things are awesome, what’s even better is the community around this. Everyone is interested in everyone else’s success, and it doesn’t feel competitive like certain apps. Plus, I can join huddles and get tips for getting my goals accomplished—tips from other people who also have a million things on the go, but who always find the time to hang out with their (virtual) friends.

I’ve found “my people” online, and it’s helping me to stay accountable and accomplish the goals I set for myself.

How do you stay accountable with your goals? Let me know in the comments.

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