What causes someone to set a goal and actually make it happen?
The pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.
When I think back to the turning points in my life, that truth is clear as day:
When I struggled with anorexia and depression in college.
When my marriage was falling apart.
When I took the leap of faith to start Southern Weddings ten years ago.
In our season of having two babies in 6 months.
When I was facing fear in starting to homeschool Grace.
When I let go of my role as Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings this year.
At the start of this year when I wanted to read the Bible again.
You guys, my list is long.
In all of those things, there was first a moment of brutal clarity: Something needs to change!
Then, there was a moment of faith–believing in what I couldn’t yet see: If I were to take a leap of faith and step into this change, good things could come. But… I won’t know until I leap!
Many times, it was sharing my frustration where I was that sparked change and helped me see a different way forward. When I let someone else in, or let my true thoughts hit the paper, something magical happened: accountability.
Accountability means to count someone responsible, trustworthy, or true.
When you are accountable, it means you will follow through and do what you set out to do.
When someone holds you accountable, it means that person loves you enough to help you walk the walk. When you hold someone accountable it doesn’t make you their judge, but rather their loving advocate. You commit to helping them be their best. It means seeing the good in another person and being willing to cultivate it alongside them–which can be hard work at times! But, what a joy and a gift that is for another.
We each have unique gifts to use–good tools with which to grow good things. If our “irons” aren’t sharp, or they sit in a toolshed doing nothing at all, then nothing gets cultivated. Accountability helps us to bring our gifts out into the open and use them well: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV).
A life of accountability is a life of humility. It’s hard to let people in and share our weaknesses, isn’t it? But, it’s so rewarding!
I’ve built accountability into my life in several ways this year, both through tools I’ve used and through relationships:
- I’ve blogged my PowerSheets goals here for you each month, sharing my progress and challenges openly. Writing my goals down and tracking my progress keeps me accountable, but sharing it adds another level of commitment.
- I joined a group of fellow CEO’s where we are accountable each month to the goals we set each time we meet. We even have a system where we pay $10 for every to-do we don’t complete! We pool that money together and donate it when a need arises.
- And, among many other things, this post was inspired by the fact that I’m going through an Advent study with two sisters from church this month. It’s super simple. We do it each day and text each other our thoughts. This is the reason I have stuck with it consistently!
If you’re still not convinced, consider the alternative to a life accountable. Here’s what a lack of accountability can look like (and I have experienced each of these things before!):
- We go through the motions in life without purpose or clarity on where we’re going. If we don’t share our goals with anyone, we don’t have to do anything about them. We can just stay the same, going in circles, lacking direction. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra
- We miss opportunities to love others and grow good things. When we lack accountability, we are more likely to waste time. We are more likely to shrink back.
- We crave connection with others. When we lack accountability, we can often miss out on meaningful connection with others. We begin to feel distrust for others and for ourselves. “Anyone holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine
- We don’t make progress. Nothing measured, nothing managed. “Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen Covey
- We hide our passions. This is a dangerous trap. You were created for a purpose and the world needs your gifts and talents, my friend. If no one knows about your goals, it can be pretty easy to let them fall to the wayside. Out of sight out of mind, right?
- Our lives can become complicated and distracted. Accountability simplifies life and makes us more productive in the right things. Accountability helps to cut out the time and energy you spend on distractions.
Here are some ideas on how to be accountable, either by using a great tool or through relationships:
- Write your goals down. Research shows that, as opposed to typing something on a device, writing your thoughts and goals down in your own (messy!) handwriting changes our brains. Hand-writing things flips a switch in our brain that begins solving problems and making decisions, making us more accountable for our actions.
- Be the invitation. Start a 2018 PowerSheets Group in your area! Host a PowerSheets party using our free Groups Guide. These groups have been so successful for women all over the world. And most of the time, the group members didn’t know each other well when they started. That changes quickly when you start talking about what matters together! 🙂
- Get a buddy. If you are a PowerSheets user, join our private Facebook group (Search “PowerSheets Group!”). There are tons of friends waiting for someone to say, “Does anyone need an accountability partner?”
- Do goals with your team.
- Have your PowerSheets Tending List out in front of you where you will see it most often.
- Use your phone screensaver to your advantage and make it inspiring words, a photo of your Tending List, or a reminder to love others through accountability.
- This is one of the most effective things you can do: write your goal action steps in your planner and on your wall calendar. There’s is power in repetition. It takes humans at least 7 times to hear something and remember it. Use the power of repetition and write your goals in more places than you think are necessary, making you more accountable to choose to act on those goals. You will be shocked at how well this works to steer your actions when you are tempted to distractions.
To help you stay accountable in 2018, I am so excited to share an AMAZING GIVEAWAY with you! The two women who created these products have held me accountable in many ways over the years and I’ve been blessed by their products! (I am so excited for the pair who wins this!) We’re giving away not one, but TWO of each of the following for you and your “bestie” (or sister, co-worker, mom, neighbor, or classmate!):
- Creatives Calendar from Lindsay Letters
- 2018 Simplified Planner of your choice from Emily Ley
- 2018 One-Year PowerSheets from Cultivate What matters
Enter below, and feel free to share this giveaway with friends!
Winner will be selected at random and announced here on December 18.
Your turn! I’d love to hear: what are ways you have stayed accountable in your goals and in living your best life?
I’d love to hear your tips too!