I have avoided this one for a while. Not because I am not into goals; I totally am. It’s because I could write about this subject for months. A short post here on a Friday evening will have to suffice for now, though.
I’m fast forwarding a bit here and assuming that you already have goals for yourself. I have a quite a few, but all you need is one specific, measurable goal for now. After you have at least one goal that is rock solid, one of the first things you must do is hold yourself accountable for achieving it. One of the best ways to do this, in my opinion, is to make your goal public. I know that sounds scary, and it is. Why? Because once you make a goal public it is game on; you face humiliation if you have to explain to friends and family that you did not follow through on your goal.
Here are a few ways to put the heat on yourself to achieve your goals:
- Make a Public Challenge. This one is huge. Tell people about your goal and your time limit (goals must be time-bound!), and when you’ll be going for it. For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds in two weeks, tell people when the 2 weeks will start, and what your challenge is during those 2 weeks (losing the weight). Tell them that you’ll report to them each day during the challenge. You should make this challenge public on Facebook, Twitter, email, a blog…anywhere. The challenge will motivate you…I promise!
- Find friends who share your goals. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (debt payoff, dieting, fitness, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. You don’t have to necessarily be after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing each other in a positive way. Look for local groups (I am about to join a triathlon club) or online forums (there are a ton of these) that cater to your goals.
- Report Your Success. Even if you “fail” on a specific day, report it. It’s human to have an “off day”, and it will make you feel better if you see people who empathize with you after you tell them it didn’t go so well that day. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from keeping yourself accountable. Ultimately, accountability helps keep you motivated. Stick with it!
- Check out websites like 43 Things. This is an online goal-setting community that allows you to post your goals for all to see. Through a “tagging” system, you are connected to other people with similar goals. People then “cheer” you on, and you can do the same. It is definitely worth checking out.
- Go to Stickk.com. Now things start getting interesting! Once registered, you create a “Commitment Contract” that binds you into achieving a personal goal. You pick the goal, then you pick the stakes; how much money you are willing to lose if you don’t achieve the goal? You also pick a referee (or moderator) who keeps you honest and reports to the site. There is a built-in audience of supporters as well. Your privacy is protected. Are you brave enough to do it?
- The Bet Switch Mechanism. Check out Maneesh Sethi’s article here about this.
Bottom Line: Anyone can achieve their goal(s). We simply need individually tailored ways to hold ourselves accountable. Personally, I am motivated pretty well through fear, so that helps me decide how to create accountability measures for myself. Other people require different tactics. Once you find what keeps you motivated, follow through! Hopefully some of the above recommendations will help.
Please post any other accountability tactics you use to carry out your goals here!