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One of the most powerful things that we can do if we truly want to be successful is also one of the last things that most of us want to do! What can we do? Add ACCOUNTABILITY to our lives. We stay away from accountability because we don’t want to expose our weaknesses and insecurities. Accountability, though, may be the very thing that keeps us moving forward when it would be easier to quit. But what does “accountability” actually mean and how do we add it to the most important areas of our lives? Here are a few thoughts that will help to get things going.

What Does Accountability Mean?

Accountability is the INTENTIONAL ACT of putting ourselves in a position where people or systems know where we intend to go and keep us focused on pushing toward that goal. To become accountable means that we are not alone as we push forward and have increased our opportunity to succeed. The reason that accountability is something most of us avoid is because being accountable means that we will need to expose our weakness and insecurities to someone else. Transparency is the key to accountability and accountability may very well be the key to success in most areas of life. Since transparency is uncomfortable and requires humility most people will never allow themselves to be accountable and will always struggle to move forward.

Why Accountability Matters?

Accountability moves us from working to accomplishing

When we make ourselves accountable to others we are able to move from working toward a goal to accomplishing a goal. Have you ever felt like you are working toward a goal that is forever unattainable? Working for to long without some measure of success can make us feel like we are the problem or that we ARE a failure. Accountability shares our goals with others who keep us on track when we drift away from our stated goal. We keep moving forward because we are not the only ones who know what we are trying to accomplish. This will make the work a part of the journey instead of a lifetime destination. Eventually, when you include others, you will move from working to accomplishing.

We are able to get back up when we fall-Hopefully before too much damage is done

This one is super important. If the only person you have shared your goals with is yourself, then when you fall, and you will, there will be no one there to pick you up and help you to get going again. No matter how hard we try or how dedicated we are, there will be times that we feel like we just can’t go on. We conclude that a goal was too big or unattainable and quit because it has gotten too hard. This happens to anyone who attempts to do anything. The difference between success and failure when we fall is whether or not we have others around who can help us get back up. Accountability is the difference between a temporary fall and a permanent life on the ground. 

Keeps life in the right perspective

Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to keep life in the right perspective? It is so easy to allow emotion to override intellect and then make decisions that would be unthinkable during moments where we are thinking clearly. Maintaining perspective can be a hard fought battle made easier when we allow others into our lives. What does accountability mean? It means allowing outside voices to help cut through the noise and emotion so that we can see clearly. This will only happen when we are confronted with the truth and truthful confrontation will only happen when we have decided that we need others.

How Do We Become Accountable?

Identify important areas of life and prioritize

Before you can make yourself accountable, you have to identify the areas that require accountability! This begins with listing out, in order of importance, the roles and relationships that you consider the most important. This should include your relationship with God, your spouse, and your children, other important relationships, and your physical and financial health. Once you have listed these out you will know that even if everything else falls flat, as long as these areas are right, you will be successful in the most important areas of your life. Once this is done, begin to develop an accountability plan for each area.

Consider the resources and people available for accountability

Take inventory of the resources and people available to you for accountability in your priority areas. Although we tend to think about people when talking about accountability, there are also apps and software programs, along with other tools, that can be a benefit here as well. Spend some time determining the best resources and people available to you. 

Demand accountability from yourself and be accountable

We like to think of accountability in terms of someone else chasing us down when we get off track. The crazy thing about other people is that they tend to have their own lives! If we are depending on others to keep us accountable, we are missing the point. In order for any of this to work we need to DEMAND ACCOUNTABLITY FROM OURSELVES AND CONSTANTLY BE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE. This comes downs to personal responsibility. You are the only one that can ensure you are accountable. Go out of your way, in everything, to make it happen.

Trust systems and not people

Connected the last point is this one. You need to trust SYSTEMS more than you trust PEOPLE. This is a good rule for every area of life. Hopefully you have evaluated the resources and people available to help you with accountability but when you realize that you are responsible to be accountable you will build systems into your life that are not dependent on your will-power or the memory of others.

A simple example of this can be found in the pursuit of early morning exercise. Do not trust your determination to get you up when the alarm goes off and don’t depend on your spouse who may just want to be left alone. Lay out your cloths. Set an alarm across the room so that you have to get up to turn it off. Know what exercise you will do and have any equipment prepared. This is a system. Accountability systems should be a part of every important area of your life. These will keep you moving forward when your accountability partner forgets to call and you want to give up. You need to trust systems more than you trust people.

Where Do We Begin?

Where do you begin? Begin right where you are. Maybe your past lacked accountability and you are paying the price of living on your own. While there is nothing that you can do to change what is behind you, you can put the right pieces in place to keep you moving forward from here. Begin where you are. Prioritize your life. Examine your available resources and people. Demand accountability from yourself. Trust processes more than people. Begin where you are.

What does accountability mean? Accountability means that you have decided that forward progress is more important than protecting your insecurities. What does accountability mean? It means that you care more about being what God created you to be than pretending like you are perfect. What does accountability mean? It means making the decision to March when it would be easier to stay where you are and die.