I’ve always felt that setting goals was easy. At least it is for me. I genuinely enjoy making plans, setting schedules and generally “organizing” life. I’m so good at it that I sometimes feel like most of what I do is set goals and schedule things for the fun of it but never really achieve them or at least not completely.
After analyzing my last year’s goals and checking up on how much I actually got done I realized that I, like a lot of people, fall into the category of planners and not doers and this needs to change. While knowing how to effectively plan and setting reasonable goals is a good skill to have, it doesn’t do much good if at the end of your day, week, month or year you haven’t achieved what you set out to do.
Being an extremely self-reliant person I thought that I would be able to motivate myself to do all of the things I had set out to do and while I did motivate myself I realized I was also the biggest excuse maker and “defender” of my procrastination. You know the “good conscience” and “bad conscience” idea? That’s exactly what happens to me. I feel like I sometimes let my “bad conscience” convince me that my procrastination is justifiable and as much as I’d like to be able to “motivate myself” out of the procrastination trap my conclusion is that I might not be the best person to keep myself accountable.
So I decided to do things a bit differently this year. I’ve talked about the basics of setting goals in this previous post and have given a general overview of how to set goals and how to get you started into moving towards achieving them but for this year, my focus is on productivity and actually getting the most done out of my days, weeks and months, in-keeping with the goals I’ve set for myself and since coming to the realization that I am not the most reliable one to keep myself in check I decided to team up with a friend and become each other’s accountability partners.
Neither of us had ever done this before but we both understood the basic concept: an accountability partner is someone who’ll help keep you accountable for your goals. They’re someone with whom you share your goals and you work together to set deadlines to when everything needs to be achieved, you help each other work out the kinks in each other’s plans and most importantly, check up on each other’s progress. This would be someone you meet up with regularly (usually once a week, once a month or every trimester at the very least) and share your progress, the things you’re finding difficult to do and help each other stay on track.
My theme for the year is “Just do it”. I have an issue with having to read everything ever written about something before starting a project, researching, comparing, preparing and having everything be “perfect” before I take on any endeavor or as Robert Kiyosaki would say, I have “analysis paralysis” meaning that I end up researching a lot and doing too little. I’m working on changing that for this year and being more proactive instead of trying to learn passively so in-keeping with that theme we decided to just go ahead and do it. We decided to meet weekly for this year and we’ve had a couple of meetings so far and they’ve been good. We’re still trying to improve them and figure them out as we go but its getting better every time.
From what we’ve done so far there are a few things that I’ve noticed are important to keeping each other accountable and I’m going to share with you 4 of them:
1. Commit. I think both partners need to be committed to the idea of not only keeping the other person accountable (since it’s easier to mind somebody else’s business than our own) but also to keeping ourselves on track. When you have someone else that’s going to check you on your plans it should fuel you to get things done if for no other reason than not wasting the other person’s time.
2. Set a meeting schedule and stick to it. No excuses. Your meeting dates should be a priority over any and everything else on your schedule. If you don’t make time for your goals (and accountability is an effective part of achieving them) then you’re really not planning on achieving them.
3. Exchange Goal Lists. You should have a copy of your accountability partner’s goal list and they should have a copy of yours. That way you make sure the goals are clear, specific and written out and you can both actively keep each other on track. Feel free at this point to help each other tweak your goal lists. Make sure all the goals have deadlines, make sure you both give specific steps you are going to take towards achieving each goal. Something my accountability partner pointed out was having the goals in categories (Money, Career, Health and Spiritual/Emotional). I loved this concept because it makes sure you’re not neglecting certain areas of your lives and ensures we each manage to keep some sort of balance.
4. Be patient with each other. It’s important to work with a person who understands you and your way of thinking so your ideas/approaches don’t clash but this should also be a person who is going to be honest with you and tell you straight forward when you’re not committing and push you to do better. This has to be someone who’s going to tell you the blunt truths, help you see your destructive patterns and work with you in ways to break them and form better habits. This does not mean one of you is there to teach and the other to learn. This is different from a Mentor/Mentee relationship. You’re both here to learn from each other. You each have strengths that the other doesn’t and both of you should leave this relationship an improved person. That being said, be mindful of not picking an enabler to be your partner in this. Someone with the same (negative) emotional response to stress as you won’t help you see when you’re going wrong and will probably just procrastinate with you.
In addition to having this personal, more “hands on” accountability system, I’ve also joined the Think & Grow Chick Accountability Group. It’s an online community of women striving to do more with their lives and their businesses this year, created by the lovely Courtney of Think & Grow Chick! (one of my all time favorite finance and personal development blogs). It’s not only a great way to network but also keep yourself motivated by seeing other motivated people setting and achieving goals and most importantly encouraging and pushing each other to do more and be more. So maybe try and find an accountability group near you or a virtual community like I did to help you stay focused on getting things done.
And this is what I have so far! More to come as me and my accountability partner develop our relationship and encounter new challenges as we take on this journey!
How do you keep yourself accountable for your goals throughout the year? Do you have an accountability partner? If so, what are your experiences and what tips can you share with us? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions let me know in the comments bellow!