Accountability is Key

Statistically speaking, the overwhelming majority of people have given up on or pushed aside their New Year’s Resolutions by March of any given year. This doesn’t mean that the goals these nine out of ten people set for themselves were ill-thought out, or that these people didn’t mean what they said when they asserted these resolutions. It is also unlikely that these resolutions can’t be achieved, it’s just that human nature gets in the way. We give up and we give up too early. Almost every January, gyms are packed to the rafters of the enthusiastic folks, looking to shed the extra holiday pounds they packed on, but by the end of February these same gyms are comparatively empty. Why is this? I would largely put this down to a lack of accountability.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Instead I prefer to focus on the vision I have for a year. When we talk about vision, we talk beyond a goal, to where we see ourselves at present and where we see ourselves in the future. If we present ourselves with this full picture, put it down on paper, then refer to it often, the goals that you assert at the beginning of the year can be achieved. If you can achieve 82% of the goals you set for yourself, it gives enough room to be human and to fail a little bit.   

There are a lot of reasons we give up on our goals. We tell ourselves what we are looking to achieve is too hard, the results aren’t coming as fast as we’d like them to. There are a variety of different things which we do both consciously and subconsciously to give up on our goals. These goals are almost always achievable and should be achieved. This is backed up by social science and will show that 86% more goals get accomplished if you have an accountability partner, or as I like to call them, a running partner. Although, Siri and other programs can help, having an actual person to report to is of huge benefit. This may seem fairly obvious, but what will come as a huge surprise is that it doesn’t matter how well you know that person. 

Some of us might think that a person whom we know really well and are afraid of disappointing, that we are more likely to account to that person, but statistics show that assumption is not accurate. That 86% is pretty consistent whether you know that person or not. When you have someone else that you have to account to, whether you know that person or not, you won’t want to let that person down. Almost all of us by nature don’t like to let people down. We are people pleasers. 

This may apply to some of us more than others, but on an innate, human level we want to impress others and avoid disappointing them.  Even if it’s about our goal – to stop smoking, or improving our relationship, physique, general health or financial situation, if someone holds us accountable, we want to do better. As human beings we like to achieve and move forward, but as human beings we only like to do so much on our own. When it comes to New Years Resolutions, this might get us through the first two months of the year, unless we have someone to account to. Whether on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, if we report to someone, these goals are much more likely to be kept on track. 

Ironically, if we know our accountability partner, we may be more likely to lie to them. The trade-off for the perceived attention we give to the goals may be replaced with dishonesty when we are closer to our running partner. Statistically however, whether we know them or not, the results are the same.  

Food is my big vice. Food goes beyond taste, it is an experience and as a consequence, an experience I pay for. It sticks with me, as they say. How much more likely would I be to avoid bread and empty calories if I had to make a phone call every morning? Well, I might look at a donut and want that experience, but if I know I have to make that phone call tomorrow morning and confess that jam-filled, or sprinkle covered sin, I might significantly be less likely to do it.  Alternatively, if your alarm goes off at 6:15am and it’s a cold drive to the gym, it’s very easy to hit that snooze button and stay in bed, unless you have your gym buddy and accountability partner waiting there. Then, it becomes a lot easier to get out of bed, into your gym clothes and off to the gym. 

I find a huge majority of appraisers are introverted and not very outgoing. Believe it or not, I’m the same. When I get on the microphone, I have to put on a mask. When the evening comes around though, I renew my energy reading a book by the fire, or watching a movie by myself. This “appraiser cave,” where most of us dwell in the day, is often the reason we can focus on our tasks and get those tasks done. As a business owner that is a good thing. On a larger scale, it is more difficult to build that business and move forward if we don’t have someone to report to. 

There are a lot of ways to get an accountability partner, but I don’t recommend your spouse, child, business partner or someone else you’re close to. In my experience, it’s always best to reach outside your close circle to find that accountability partner. If you can find a way to trade services as accountability partners, holding each other to their proposed goals, you can do this for free. If you must go to the level of paying for an accountability partner, it can cost around $100 a month for a weekly fifteen minute call from someone holding you accountable. This isn’t cheap, but as a business owner and as a person, you should ask yourself  “where could I be by the end of the year, if I had a little accountability.” You already know what your goals are, but it is a matter of holding your feet to the fire.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode:

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