Have you ever been really excited about a goal only to forget about it a week later? Maybe a goal to eat healthier was quickly replaced with a goal to get as many double chocolate chip cookies in your mouth as humanly possible. Or maybe you were really excited to save money and finally get out of debt, but the opportunity to own every episode of Seinfeld on Blu-ray made you reevaluate your priorities. Accountability is one of the keys to keeping this from happening and sticking to goals.
Be Accountable to Yourself
First of all we need to be accountable to ourselves. We need to have a clear and well defined goal free from loopholes or vague interpretations. Then we need to commit to that goal whole heartedly. While working towards a goal, recognize justification and stop it in its tracks.
“I’ve had a rough day, so I deserve a fistful of pepperoni and a two liter of soda.”
“I really want it and it’s on sale, so I’m really saving $50 and not spending $200”
Justification will fool you into trading what you want in the long run for what you want in the moment. When the immediate satisfaction wears off, you’ll be left with regret (except for the example of owning all the seasons of Seinfeld on Blu-ray; you’ll never regret that).
Be Accountable to Others
For those of us who aren’t as strong willed as we’d like to be, it’s important to tell other people what our goals are and ask them to hold us accountable. Friends and family can help remind you of your goals and help you escape moments of temptation. A life coach can check up with you and help you remember your motivations. Knowing that other people will know if we fail can push us back on track.
Be Accountable to God
For those goals that are really important and really difficult, being accountable to God is a great help. Pray regularly, and when you do, tell your Heavenly Father what you’re doing to be a better person. Be specific, and ask for His help. The next time you pray, give a report and give thanks. When temptation comes allow yourself to think, “When I pray tonight, do I want to be thanking the Lord for the strength he gave me to succeed or do I want to be explaining why I faltered?” You can lie to your friends and you can even lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to God.
If you mess up, that’s okay. It’s usually not the end of the world. Just recognize your mistake, find out what went wrong, and recommit to do better. Keeping all this in mind, I feel like I should let everyone know what my goal is with this blog. I want to have a new post every Friday. Please hold me accountable. If you check my blog on a Saturday and there isn’t a new post, I want to hear about it. Thanks for your help.