The Importance of Accountability for Goal Achievement

Have you ever tried to reach a lofty goal, got off to a strong start, but quickly lost motivation? Maybe your goal was to lose a substantial amount of weight, train for a marathon, or earn an incentive trip. What happened? If you’re like most people, staying focused and motivated can be challenging, especially if you’re relying on yourself for the encouragement. When a bump in the road occurs, it can be difficult to maintain a positive mindset. That’s why accountability is so important for goal achievement.

When you’re in the corporate world, your direct supervisor holds you accountable. If you’re on a project team, your teammates hold you accountable. Knowing that someone has your back when things don’t go as planned, problems arise, or mistakes happen, can mean the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, you may have been in a situation where your boss or teammates did not have your back. As a result, your business goals were not met, impacting your performance.

Often when we set a personal goal, we don’t think of having an accountability partner. We assume we have what it takes to get through the tough situations. We may have the skills needed to navigate challenges, but our mindset is not in alignment. For example, imagine that you’ve had a particularly stressful day at work. Instead of going for a walk when you get home, you kick off your shoes and open a bottle of wine. After the second glass you determine you’re too tired to make dinner, and decide to order a pizza. When the pizza arrives, you eat 4 pieces instead of the 2 you intended. You turn on your favorite Netflix show and end up binge watching several episodes until late in the evening. By the time you get to bed, it’s hours past your normal bedtime. When the alarm goes off the next morning, you’re exhausted and irritated with yourself for blowing it the previous evening. You tell yourself you have no willpower and that you’ll never lose weight. When you get to work you discover a co-worker has brought donuts. Instead of refraining, you have two.

How could this situation have been different if you had an accountability partner? For starters, if you had a walking buddy, that person could have encouraged you to join them on a walk. If you had gone on a walk, you might not have indulged on wine and pizza, and managed to get to bed at your normal bedtime. If you did end up over-indulging, your accountability partner would be supportive and encouraging, preventing you from further self-sabotage.

Accountability partners can be close friends, family members, colleagues, advisors, and coaches. They may be going through, or have been through a similar journey as you. Regardless, they are someone you can trust to share your goals with and hold you accountable. They will be your biggest cheerleader but will also expect you to do the work necessary to achieve your goals.

What goals are you struggling with? It may be time to find an accountability partner.

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