Self-accountability is hard work, but what’s even harder is not holding yourself accountable at all. In today’s day and age, there are so many distractions keeping us from our goals. The truth is that if you want to be successful in anything like your career, then you need to hold yourself accountable, no matter how difficult it may be.
What Does it Mean to Hold Yourself Accountable?
Holding yourself accountable is basically to have a task, goal, or obligation that you have to meet — and if you’re unable to meet the goals, then there should theoretically be consequences for that.
It could potentially mean a lower status in the workplace due to a lack of productivity, or it could just mean an internal feeling of regret for not fulfilling your commitments.
In other words, the downside to not being self-accountable is subsequent levels of guilt which often lead to regrets or other ramifications.
How to Hold Yourself Accountable
Holding yourself accountable is constantly reminding yourself to be aware of what you are doing and to take responsibility for it. You would be surprised by how many people in the workplace struggle with self-accountability.
It’s a pervasive problem that can lead to more problems, like missed deadlines and poor work quality. If you are looking for ways to do better at work, here are 11 examples of holding yourself accountable at work:
1. Accepting Your Decisions
Some people find the idea of holding themselves accountable daunting because it asks them to abandon certain choices. Recognizing that you are liable for your own decisions before deciding is a sense of responsibility for decisions that you are about to make.
It means understanding the consequences of your actions and make choices to achieve goals.
You want to feel entirely comfortable with the decision you’re about to make because this would be a reason for regret. If something feels wrong, think more about it before deciding and potentially regret it.
2. Making a Commitment to Someone
A commitment is an act of self-discipline that sticks to your original decision. Committing to something means establishing a boundary or expectation and then holding yourself accountable to it.
It also means taking personal responsibility to act by the decision you’ve made and not allowing any external factors to discourage you from following through on that commitment.
Sometimes it can be challenging, but it gets easier if you are committed to achieving your goals.
Simply by agreeing to work on something, your subconscious mind will not allow you to abandon that commitment no matter how hard you try. It becomes a lot easier than you may think to fulfill your obligations.
3. Mindful of Your Attitude
Understand that your attitude at work is due to your actions. You can’t say that other people made you do something and then take no responsibility for it.
Everybody has a choice in how they react to challenging situations. It is your response (and not someone else’s actions) that impact how you feel.
Take accountability for your feelings and find a way to change them from feeling bad to be in a good mood.
It takes intentional effort to stay positive. When you react without considering what’s best, you are letting your moods dictate your actions.
So, if you get frustrated about anything, take a minute and ask yourself what is causing it. This doesn’t mean to start beating yourself up, but to understand the factors that cause it and make necessary changes.
4. Living up to Your Standards
Holding yourself accountable is one of the most powerful habits to cultivate. When you commit yourself to do the right things with discipline, there will be times when you fail to achieve your objectives.
It doesn’t mean lying about what’s going on. You need to accept failure and start the process of rectifying the fault. Accountability is about living up to the standards you set and expecting others to live up to theirs.
Self-accountability starts with being honest about where you find yourself — whether that means admitting when you have failed or share your successes so other people can learn from them.
5. Knowing Your Responsibilities
Most people are more productive when they know their responsibilities and what they’re working towards. When they don’t, it’s easy for them to get sidetracked with other things that may not be as urgent or important.
Having a list of responsibilities is a great way to focus on the right things. Take time to write all things you want to accomplish in your job, what commitments you have outside of work, and how these needs might conflict with one another.
Your list can be just as long or short as you want it to be. When the list is ready, it will guide you to prioritize your tasks and free up some much-needed time.
6. Setting Deadlines for Everything
Getting things done can be difficult. Sometimes you have a list of things to do and realize there’s no end in sight. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you don’t set deadlines for each task on your list, including timeframes.
Every day is different, but the one thing everyone needs is a plan. To stay organized and productive, set a deadline for each task. Deadlines make you stay focused and on track for what is most important.
7. Having an Accountability Partner
It is not always easy to hold yourself accountable without help — that is why you need accountability partners.
An accountability partner is someone who helps you to stay focused, motivated, or remain obligated to be accountable to a goal.
Find someone who will check in with you regularly and keep you accountable. It can be anyone from your boss or manager, but a great way to create an accountability partner is by finding a co-worker who has similar interests and needs as yours.
You and your partner should agree about what you want from the partnership. An effective partnership often includes strategies such as asking for regular feedback about how well you are doing.
Your colleague can work out the time commitment between both of you. And make sure that each week you contact one another at least once or twice. Just make sure they know what is going on – if you don’t, there won’t be any progress.
8. Tracking Your Accomplishments
Tracking what you accomplish each day is one way to focus on your overarching goals. It will help to build momentum and grow determination.
Reviewing it at the end of the week will provide motivation and a sense of achievement, which can be helpful if one experiences times when they are feeling less motivated for whatever reason.
Doing this daily will fuel your willpower and promotes a sense of accomplishment as you see your plans slowly start to come together and add up over time. Furthermore, it trains you to stay focused and hold yourself accountable.
9. Focusing on One Thing at a Time
One of the most common causes of procrastination is uncertainty. When you have many things on the go but don’t know which one to do next, you will spend time deliberating about which one is worth starting with or whether any of them are worth doing at all.
Doing multiple things at once may seem like an efficient use of time, but it can quickly lead to the inadequacy of results.
Operating in parallel can lead to information overload and stress, which over time adversely impact your productivity.
Read more: 12 Examples of Resilience at Work
10. Identifying Areas You’re Not Meeting Expectations
Many people don’t know what they are doing at work or why. They go to work because it’s the next task on their list of things to do.
But some people feel like they’re not doing enough and can’t seem to figure out how to move their career forward in a meaningful way.
Step back from time to time and evaluate your work and understand better yourself as an individual. Identifying aspects of your job which need improvement can help create a path for growth.
Be honest with yourself and identify the aspects of your job where you are not meeting expectations. It will help you understand what areas need improvement, which in turn can lead to better performance.
11. Making Rules and Follow Them
Most people make the rules but refuse to follow them or break the rules. It’s common for leaders, managers, or people in positions of power not to follow their policies.
However, it can also be anyone who sets up guidelines but doesn’t always follow them themselves. So, when you make rules, follow them. It puts you in the position to follow through on what you say and be consistent.
It also means taking accountability for your role by following all company policies and procedures even if you’re not on the frontline. It is about being an example to others.
Self-accountability can be a challenge that many people struggle with from time to time. The most important thing is recognizing when it’s happening and admitting you have an issue or problem in your actions or attitude.
It requires developing self-control habits to hold yourself accountable regardless of the situation at hand — even if they’re uncomfortable at first.
In most cases framing missteps as challenges rather than obstacles will help give you strength through adversity while motivating you to succeed.