Dec 31, 2008

- End of Year Personal Inventory

Do you find that you keep promises to everyone but yourself? Do you tell yourself you will do something, but then not do it? It seems much easier to make commitments to others and keep them, than it is to honor ourselves.
To me, the definition of accountable is that you do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. People can count on you. You’re responsible. You’re reliable. You honor your commitments. You show up. You’re on time. If you are accountable to others, are you accountable to yourself? And if not, why not?
Why would you put the needs of others above your own needs? Why would you keep appointments with others but not yourself? Could it be an issue of self-worth? Do you hold others as more important than you? Is being there for others a way of giving more than you receive because you don’t feel worthy? Or do you show up for others in order to make yourself feel more important?
Are you less accountable to yourself because you’re not ready to face the consequences? So you break agreements with yourself to give up smoking, or overeating, or overspending, just so you won’t have to do without. Or do you avoid activities you just don’t enjoy, like cleaning house, walking the dog, or exercising? Even though you promised yourself you would do them. Maybe you’re resisting taking action toward a goal because you’re afraid of failure or increased responsibilities. So you don’t follow the steps on your action plan and figure you can’t fail if you don’t even try.
I’m sure it doesn’t feel very good to break promises to yourself. You have great intentions, set goals, schedule tasks, and then find yourself not doing what you said you would. What do you think you could do to become more accountable to yourself?
Have you ever considered finding an accountability partner? As a life coach, I serve as an accountability partner to my clients, and it helps them over a lot of hurdles. They start noticing their patterns, and we work together to find ways to change their habits. 
You might consider working with a coach, or find a friend who would enjoy being your accountability partner. If you’re not sure you need one, here are some signs:
1. You make excuses and rationalizations: Do you talk to yourself and rationalize excuses for not following through on your actions? “I worked hard today, I’ll exercise tomorrow,” or “It’s a special occasion, I can cheat on my diet this one time.” Finding an exercise buddy or diet partner for accountability can help you stay true to your word.
2. You put yourself last: Do you run out of time to do the things you want to do for yourself because your boss, spouse, children, or friends’ needs come first? A coach or accountability partner will remind you that you are the most important person in your life. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t have the energy to give to others.
3. You rarely achieve your goals: Do you find yourself constantly making the same goals and never reaching them? Each New Year’s Day it’s the same goals as last year. I have a colleague who I’ve been meeting with for years every New Year’s Day to review our goals together. Then we check in with each other from time to time. It really works!
4. You break appointments with yourself: Do you keep a calendar that is so full you rarely have time to do everything on it, so you break appointments you’ve made with yourself? It may be for some time out, to play golf, get a haircut, or take a short vacation? With your accountability partner, you can support each other in taking time to do what’s important to keep your life in balance.
5. You procrastinate: Do you find you have a pattern of putting off doing certain things? Maybe you promised yourself you’d clean out the garage over the weekend, but decided to go into the office to catch up on work instead. Procrastination means you’re avoiding something, so discuss this with your coach or accountability partner.
6. You don’t get important things done: Do you have a list of A, B, and C items but tend to do the C items first? This is another form of procrastination. A coach or accountability partner can help you prioritize so you get to what’s most important first.
Whatever you want to accomplish in your life takes commitment and action. If you’re not getting as much done as you’d like, an accountability partner like a coach, friend, or associate might be the perfect solution.

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