When we hear the word “accountability” we often feel a subconscious sense of guilt. Yet it can be such a powerful tool for us to use. So much of life is about perspective and if we can just change the way we look at things, like the way we receive information and perceive the meaning of words, then we can greatly improve our lives. For example, consider the word accountability as a challenge, as opposed to a threat. Accept accountability, make its power yours, and while you are at it, enjoy using it.
When I refer to accountability, it has a very broad meaning. I don’t mean just the usual reporting back to someone. The power of accountability could lie in something as simple as a statement, made out loud, just for yourself. Our thoughts are so fleeting and numerous that they can be hard to hold onto. Especially when it is one that the mind may, for some or other reason, be avoiding. But if we can grab the thought in the moment and repeat it out loud, we are linking it to the real and tangible world. Anchoring it to reality as opposed to leaving it floating in the subjective realm of our minds.
This concept also links to mindfulness. Because once you have stated a goal or an action, you automatically become more mindful of it. It can be anything, from setting an exercise goal for the day to acknowledging an action, like drinking a glass of wine.
At first it seems weird, but once you have tried it a few times it starts to feel normal. For example, when you have a second glass of wine, say out loud, “I’m drinking a second glass of wine”. If saying that out loud doesn’t make you feel great, that’s fine. Accept it and allow yourself to feel that emotion without guilt. Just consider sticking to one glass next time. If you want to do ten squats today, say to yourself out loud “I am going to do ten squats today”.
Also, if you did not complete your spoken goal for the day, avoid letting it slip away unnoticed. Say to yourself, out loud, “I did not do my squats today”. Like acknowledging that second glass of wine, this may not make you feel awesome. But that is no reason to let it slip away unnoticed. Rather own up to it, allow yourself to feel what you need to feel, and move on to improve from it. Don’t fight with yourself, dwell or become depressed. Change your perspective and rather allow it, accept it and learn from it.
As soon as we start ignoring our actions we let go of accountability and lose power over them. Slipping back into a less mindful state. So remember, even if you did not complete your task, but still acknowledge that fact, you are holding yourself accountable and furthering your state of mindfulness and awareness.
Keep to Your Word
Nobody wants to be the person that is all talk and no action. So be realistic with yourself on any goals set. Avoid making a statement out loud that you suspect you might not be able to fulfill, lest your words begin to lose their power. For example, don’t tell yourself you are going to do ten squats every single day when you are just starting. Be fair and give yourself at least two days of the week for rest. Pick the days in advance and try sticking to your schedule.
An Accountability Buddy
If you have someone non judgmental in your life that wants to join you on your conquest of achieving a greater life, or is simply willing to have you report to them, then use them! Some people even use social media platforms for this purpose. Options like these are also a great way of keeping track of progress.
Plus, without even realising it, you could be inspiring someone else along the way. I was always an energetic person, living a healthy life and roping friends into exercising on the beach with me in the mornings. After not too long a few of them really started enjoying it and craving more. The fact that I could improve the life of the ones I loved boosted my motivation even more.
Then I ran into some health problems which prevented me from being active for over a year, after which I thought I would never be able to get back into it all again. But I did, after finding inspiration through the social media posts of a childhood friend with whom I had not communicated in years. Rekindling both my desire for fitness as well as an old friendship.
Mastering the mind is not easy. Actually even having a teensy bit of control over our minds is difficult at best. But you would be amazed at the difference seemly small concepts can make to the way a persons brain functions. Things like harnessing the power of accountability, or practicing mindfulness in as many ways as possible, or even learning better discipline through small acts like following healthy routines, such as a before bed routine. All the little ways we contribute to our health an mental well being eventually add up to create a better picture. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.