*Check out the end of the article for products that will take all the work out of this system for you and hold you accountable to specific habits you're trying to build.
‘Personal Accountability’ in general refers to the idea of owning your choices. Whether they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ have beneficial or adverse consequences, it’s about living up to the circumstances your own choices create.
Holding yourself personally accountable for your choices, actions, words…. for your entire life.
When many people hear or talk about personal accountability, it has an immediately negative effect on them because they start to think about choices they’ve made and continue to make and how they could have made choices that would better lead them towards the life they want to live.
It’s as if most of us would prefer not to take responsibility for our lives because our choices sort of prove to us that we don’t handle it as we’d like, at least not in all the different aspects of our lives.
If you take a step back and try to see a different perspective with regards to the idea of personal accountability, you may see how incredibly powerful it can be if you begin to take ownership for your life.
It’s so incredibly powerful because it gives you all the control.
It immediately eliminates the validity of every excuse or justification you’ve ever made for your own behavior that contradicts what you say you want.
That can either scare you, or motivate the hell out of you.
The reality is that eliminating the validity of our excuses is the true, honest first step to making decisions that will take us where we want to go, wherever that happens to be for each of us.
Removing the validity from our own excuses causes pressure because you start to see that the choices you already have made are gone and you’re still making choices today, this very minute.
If you feel up to it, now is your chance to take control of your life. Now is the time to stop letting a lack of personal accountability be your excuse.
But the idea of personal accountability and taking actual control of your decisions back from yourself only makes sense when you begin to put a system of personal accountability in place.
The following personal accountability model will help you do just that.
Creating A System of Personal Accountability
Step One: What do you want to change?
Sit down and write the daily choices you make that conflict with the things you want for yourself.
It’s as simple as it sounds. You have to confront the choices you make on a daily basis that push you away from what you ideally envision for yourself.
You want to exercise more? Write down what you choose on a daily basis that leads to you not exercising.
Want to eat healthier? Write down the points in the day where you end up choosing to make less healthy eating choices.
Want to deal stop focusing on the negative? Write down things you’re constantly telling yourself that you want to stop focusing on.
Want to have better relationships? Write down the things you’re doing or not doing in your relationships that make you feel emotionally distanced from the people you care about.
The first step to really owning your choices are breaking them down and taking a look at the choices that are leading you in the current direction you’re moving with regards to any given aspect of your life.
The parts of your life that you’re more satisfied with will show you that you’re making choices that lead there. The parts that are less satisfying or further from where you will show you the same.
You have to become intimately connected with your choices in order to begin making new ones.
Step Two: How do you want to change it?
Determining the choices you want to make that will lead you in the direction you want to go.
The next step is logical and equally simple. For every choice you wrote down that you now recognize leads you to the wrong place, write down a choice you can make instead that will take you to the right place.
Rather than writing to refrain from doing things, write a positive action the choices you want to avoid or change.
For example, if I wrote that I choose to eat a cookie after lunch and I want to stop doing that, I’d write - go on a 5 minute walk after lunch or get a juice after lunch rather than saying don’t eat cookie after lunch.
It’s easier to replace current actions with new ones rather than just refrain from doing the original action in the first place.
Step Three: Why do you want to change it?
Determining why you want to change these aspects of the way you live.
For any system of personal accountability to work, you HAVE TO be very clear on both what you specifically want to change, and why.
The why is by far the most important aspect of any personal accountability because without it, you have no actual reason for making different choices.
We all have conflicting 'whys' within us. We make the choices we do because one why is stronger than another.
In order to make the choices you want to make rather than the choices you make out of habit, you have to almost obsessively remind yourself WHY you want to make a different choice.
Write it everywhere, tell everyone about it, think about it constantly because the WHY and the emotion behind it is what truly guides your decision making.
Step Four: Making sure you're on the right path
Track your progress.
Every successful system of accountability has a way to measure whether you’re on the right path.
Again, this is very simple.
To evaluate your decision-making now compared to the past, you have to take note of what you’re doing. One simple way to accomplish this is to write down the choices you’re actually making on a daily basis in some sort of journal or notebook, or even in a note on your phone.
Write down how you felt at the end of the day (physically and emotionally) based on the choices you did actually make.
This way, you’re tracking your choices, the physical and emotional feelings they produce, and seeing if you’re gaining control over your decision-making power in your own life.
In all, the whole system is a daily personal accountability exercise that will help you stick to your decisions in a simple, concrete way.
Tools To Hold You Accountable
If you feel like you need extra help when it comes to accountability, you’re not alone. In fact, solving the problem of accountability is the reason we created Habit Nest in the first place.
Personal accountability is the idea at the core of Habit Nest as a company, and is the primary guiding force behind all of our products.
Each one of our products is directly aimed at helping to hold you accountable to one specific habit that you want to build in your life. Each one has its own dynamic and comprehensive tracking system for keeping you accountable to the life-change you want to make.
The Morning Sidekick Journal helps you wake up early and start your day with the perfect morning routine.
The Meditation Sidekick Journal guides you through building a habit of meditation and actually sticking to it on a daily basis.
The Nutrition Sidekick Journal teaches you how to burn fat and eat healthier, and then helps you do it.
The Weightlifting Gym Buddy Journal, Badass Body Goals Journal, and Home Workout Journals serve as your fitness personal trainers so that you don’t have to do any thinking at all when it comes to working out.