When my clients first come to me, they tell me they’re looking for accountability.
I tell them that I’ll do them one better: I’ll teach them how to be accountable to themselves.
When you are constantly relying on others to compel you into action, you miss the opportunity to learn how to generate your own motivation, show up for what’s important to you, and enjoy your own successes—even if no one else is around.
Relying on external accountability is a spotty strategy , and it’s the long way around, meaning you can get to your desired results better and faster if you learn to be self-accountable.
This isn’t to say that collaborating with others—on joint projects, as workout buddies, or to do goal check-ins—isn’t valuable. Camaraderie is fun, valuable, and breeds creativity and intimacy.
The problem is when you’re over-reliant on another person or an external deadline; you’re offloading your responsibility on to them and unintentionally allowing them to dictate what’s important to you.
Here’s a test: Would you show up for yourself, even if they didn’t?
Your answer to this question will tell you everything you need to know.
An added benefit of breaking your need for external accountability—besides, y’know, achieving your wildest dreams—is that it actually strengthens your relationships. No one wants the burden of carrying another person’s dreams and desires, on top of their own.
So, let’s talk about how to become internally accountable.
First, sell yourself on the benefits:
- Building self-trust
- Consciously and deliberately deciding what you want to do with your time
- Getting your most important solo work done, no matter what
- Delivering things on time (no check ins needed)
Then, notice how you talk when you have external accountability vs when you don’t:
- I wouldn’t miss it for the world
- This is going to be so fun
- This is important
- I don’t want to let them down
- It’s non-negotiable
- It’s happening, no matter what
- I’ve got to get it done now
- I don’t want to do it
- It will be boring
- This is tedious
- I can do it later
- It’s not that important
- It’s just me anyway
- It’s fine if I don’t do it
The thoughts on the left tend to create feelings of commitment, dedication, joy, energized, trusting, inspired, and excited; while the thoughts on the right tend to make you feel insecure, self-judgmental, justified, and uninspired.
Here’s the kicker: Neither of these lists is more true; they’re just what you’re currently practicing thinking.
And when you look at the two lists side-by-side, it becomes crystal-clear why you think you need external accountability: You’re using it to solve for lackluster thoughts, instead of changing your thoughts.
I can teach you how to change your thoughts, so that you don’t need external accountability anymore.
From now on, it will be a fun bonus, not a necessity. How freeing will that feel?!