Be Accountable in the New Year

January 3, 2013 by Rose Cook

Happy New Year!  Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I love that the new year brings the opportunity to start with a clean slate and I prefer to look for ways to improve myself all year long, not just those first few weeks.  One area I plan on focusing on more is accountability.  I and I alone am responsible for my behavior, my actions and my consequences.

As can easily happen over the holidays, I put on a few extra pounds.  Darn all those holiday gatherings and delicious food. As much as I’d like to place the blame elsewhere, no one forced me to eat those holiday cookies and other yummy treats. So now I have to suck it up and accept the consequences of my actions – several unwanted pounds. I’m determined to get back where I want to be so I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. With it I can record all my food and exercise and the app tells me how I’m progressing against my goals. You can even share your goals and progress with friends so they can cheer you on. And quite frankly the peer pressure is a healthy driver to keeping on track with your goals. One of my friends says “I bite, I write!” Amazing how recording things (on paper or on iPhone) makes you more accountable for what you eat and do.
Another area where accountability has had a huge impact recently is with my newly-licensed son. My husband and I wrote up a Teen Driving contract for him and we asked him to read each agreement out loud and sign the contract. It outlined things like “driving is a privilege and not a right,” my parents own the car and I must ask permission to drive it,” etc. As over-the-top as this may sound, I wanted to take advantage of the power of writing something down and speaking it out loud. My hope is that this will help him be more accountableand responsible as he starts his independent driving years. This is not much different than when you start a big work project and the team agrees on the team’s goals and deliverables upfront. It’s very effective to have that initial expectations conversation (and write the agreements down!).

Whether you have weight loss goals or sales targets, partnering with someone can work wonders in keeping you on track, on target and on task. Enlist a partner to help you meet your goals. Tell them what you want to accomplish and ask them if they will help you stay on track. Ask them to nudge you…and give them permission to do it often. Then do the same for them. Misery loves company!  As with my son and his new driver’s license –  he knows the rules, he signed the contract, but that doesn’t mean his dad and I won’t help him along with reminders.  We truly want him to succeed, we want him to be safe and we want him to learn that life is full of trials and tests. He needs to make good choices and if he falters, he needs to be accountable for his actions.

The people I respect the most aren’t the ones who never make mistakes, it’s the people who make mistakes and accept responsibility for them.  Nobody’s perfect, why pretend to be?

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