Personal accountability, and the integrity that’s deeply intertwined with it, is necessary if you want to reach your goals and turn your dreams into a reality.
How do you know if you’re struggling with personal accountability and integrity?
- Do you feel like you walk away from every project you start?
- Is it impossible to follow-through with an idea?
- Do you often jump in head first, but can’t seem to get anywhere after that first day of inspired action?
On the surface, the problem here is commitment. If you can’t commit, nothing else matters. Yes, make the intentional choice to take first step. Yes, you can make the intentional choice to visualize and manifest. But that’s only part of the work.
To truly commit there are two two other pieces that need to fall into place: Accountability and integrity. Without these two qualities, you’ll never finish that project, start that business, or buy that plane ticket for your trip around the world.
Get moving on your big ideas once and for all by finding the personal accountability buried within you and the integrity to take action every single day. When you put it all together into a plan, you’ll see how easy it is to follow your ideas through to the end.
More Reading: Why Inspired Action is Holding You Back
Let’s Talk Personal Accountability
You can have all the integrity in the world, but without accountability, you’ll stay stuck where you are. Accountability means you keep going even when the going gets tough. To hold yourself accountable to your goals—and the work it takes to reach them—you have to consider a few important factors:
Internal accountability versus external. Are you good at setting a goal and sticking with it, or do you need others to hold you accountable? If you’re reading this, my guess is the latter is true for you. In that case, an accountability partner, Mastermind group or coach can serve as valuable resources for holding you accountable to your goals.
Your “why.” Do you know why these goals matter? Do they even matter to you? If they don’t matter, you’ll never hold yourself accountable because you don’t care about doing the work.
If they do, however, and you have a strong “why,” you have a reason to pursue them with all of your energy because the goal is more than a goal: it’s something that matters to your life on a deeper level. For example, publishing my book is the first step toward a new career for me—the book is important, but what comes with it is even more important.
A plan. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have anything to hold yourself accountable to because you don’t know which intentional steps you need to take to reach those goals.
Let’s Talk Integrity
So-Young Kang, an entrepreneur and CEO of Gnowbe, explains that the attributes that are commonly forgotten about integrity include: consistency, honesty, truthfulness, and accuracy of one’s actions. Kang explains what living with this integrity means:
“Consistency is a choice we make every single day, even when the situation or environment is not great. Honesty and accuracy of actions require intentionality and thought.”
When looking at your goals, integrity means choosing to work toward them every day, even when you’re not inspired or excited, and being honest and accurate with yourself about what you can achieve each day. For example, creating a realistic to-do list for yourself may not seem important, but if you’re constantly overloading yourself, you’ll never do the work because you’ll always feel discouraged. “I can’t get all that done, I’ll just figure it out later…” And then later never comes.
As I write my book, I am constantly checking in with my to-do list to see where I can reasonably fit in time for more writing. More often than not, I plan my writing on travel days—when I won’t have wi-fi, which means I can focus on my writing and nothing else. Because of that, I am making progress, rather than avoiding the work.
Commitment = Integrity + Accountability
To see your goals through to fruition, you need commitment that’s cemented in accountability and integrity. Here are five steps you can take to make that possible right here, right now:
#1. Determine your why. If you don’t have one, consider whether your goals are actually aligned with what you want in life. This might be a big “gulp” moment because, perhaps being honest with yourself reveals that what you thought you wanted is actually what someone else wanted for you. Step back and reconsider what’s important and how that lines up with new goals.
#2: Write five action steps you can take that will get you closer to your goal.
#3: Prioritize and schedule those action steps based on what needs to come first and what you realistically have time for. You may even break them down into smaller steps. Like, “Write Part 2 of my book” might be, “Write 3 pages of Part 2.”
#4: Find an accountability partner. This could be your best friend, a co-worker, a coach or a group of people. Finding this person or group could even be one of your five action steps.
#5: Start today. Choose one small thing you can do right now after reading this article and then do it.
The Power of Personal Accountability
To commit, you need more than just an idea and one day of inspiration. You need the integrity that keeps you honest and the personal accountability that keeps you working. If you feel stuck, use these steps to start moving again. It takes one simple action each day to reach your goals and eventually, you’ll look around and realize you’re living a life you had once dreamed about.
A version of this first appeared on my LinkedIn Pulse: Why You Can’t Commit: Integrity and Accountability