What does it mean to be accountable? Doing what you say, when you say it. Being true to yourself. Not cutting corners. Absolutely, those are all true. Have you ever been in a position where you are supposed to do something but you are the only person on the face of the planet who actually knows whether or not you did it? You start thinking…and your mind runs with it in an instant. You begin justifying that nobody will know if you didn’t run the entire five miles, nobody will even know if you ran at all, it’s just between you and the world and if you keep it like that, your secret is assuredly safe with the world. The world won’t tattle on you. But you know, deep down, that cheating like this is only harmful. How do you eliminate the possibility of this happening in your life once and for all?
Why Aren’t We Accountable In The First Place?
First off, none of us is perfect, obviously. Second, let’s get the grandiose notion of accountability out of the way. “The only person one need be accountable to is oneself.” Yes yes yes, I do agree with this but I also know myself. I know that oftentimes when I’m alone with my thoughts, my mind has a tendency to start on this crazy path of justification and excuses.
• Nobody will know if I ran the entire five miles or if I even ran at all
• Two sets is half of what I planned to do but I’m really not motivated and no one will know
• I have a goal to look at my entire financial picture every day but it’s okay if I skip today
• It’s alright if I buy one cup of coffee even though it isn’t in my budget, it’s only four bucks
• I’ll do it later (regardless of whatever it is)
If you’re anything like me it can sometimes be tough to stay motivated and constantly on task. Self motivation is absolutely great but again, if you’re like me, sometimes it fades. Being accountable to only yourself feels good but isn’t always the most effective situation you can put yourself in. What if you took certain areas in your life, in this case finance, and set up a system where you were accountable to another person? Inconvenient and at times uncomfortable…yes. Effective, assuredly.
Pick Your People
Find a person or people in your life with whom you’re comfortable sharing the details of your goals and divulge to them everything. A spouse or long time friend is ideal. Somebody you can depend on and someone with whom you have consistent contact in life. For me, it’s my beautiful girlfriend, Christa. I am accountable to her when it comes to our finances and she is accountable to me. We don’t necessarily call each other to okay every single purchase, but we do sit down and go through our budget and trim the areas we can while finding a happy balance with living our lives.
When you are accountable to somebody else it suddenly changes your thinking when you have a challenge. Moments when you would normally begin thinking defeatist thoughts you will find yourself instead thinking of reporting to the person you’re accountable to. Sure, you can just lie and tell them you followed the plan but even the thought of doing that will make you feel disgusted. You are only left with the choice of taking care of business. When reporting that you accomplished what you had set out to accomplish you’ll look back and feel a great sense of pride at overcoming the difficulty of the task.
Take away from yourself the option to quit, to give up and to give in and you have taken away the option to fail. As always, comments and emails are welcomed! Let us know how you’re accountable and how it functions in your life.
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