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The Missing Ingredient to Goal Making

01/17/2016

For me, goal making begins in the fall. The way my job works the fall is the start of a new season or year. However, I know for many that the dawning of a new calendar year is also the time to reevaluate priorities and create goals or resolutions. Therefore, this is a repost from the fall. My hope is that this post will serve as tool to help you in your goal making process.

I am almost three weeks into my new goals for this next year.

And guess what? I’m already falling behind in some areas. As I reflect back on the past two weeks and look to see what’s wrong, I realize that problem doesn’t lie in my goals. They are very doable. The problem also doesn’t lie in my busyness. I’ve actually had plenty of time to accomplish them. The problem lies within. The real problem is me. On my own, I simply lack the discipline to consistently keep up with those goals. This is why I need accountability as well.

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I first became aware of my need for accountability as it pertains to goals back in 2009. That year I decided to start blogging. So I created a blog on a free site and then wrote a few posts. Unfortunately, that lasted for a few months and then I went nearly 2 years between blog posts. Then in 2011, I decided to pick it back up again. Trying to learn from my previous mistakes, I developed a better vision and plan this time. However, my lack of discipline got the best of me, and a few posts later it fizzled out. Then a year later, I made one more attempt. Starting in September 2012, I made a goal to write one blog post a week for an entire year. And you know what, I did it.

So what changed? My motivation and desire were the same as in previous years. The difference this time was accountability. First, I told my family, friends, and staff about my goal. Then I asked a friend if they would help proofread my blogs. This provided instant accountability. This person was expecting a post each week and would know if I missed. It was amazing the added motivation and discipline I had knowing that someone would be checking up on me.

In my opinion, the reason most goals fail is due to a lack of accountability. Pastor and author, Crag Groeschel, says “accountability closes the gap between intentions and actions.” It is the common denominator between success and accomplishment.

As you think about areas in your life that could use accountability, here are a few thing that every accountability relationship needs.

Authenticity and Permission

Every accountability relationship needs to have authenticity. The problem is that it’s hard to share our struggles and failures. You need to find someone who you trust and then have the courage to reveal those not so pretty areas of your life. Second, you need to give that person permission to speak hard truth into your life. Most of us don’t like receiving criticism from or giving it to those we love. That’s why permission is so important. Without accountability, we can naturally drift to people who will only praise and encourage us and not critique us. Marion Jones, the Olympic gold medalist who was caught cheating by using performance enhancing drugs, commented on what led to her breaking the rules, “I distanced myself from people who would give it to me straight and surrounded myself with people who would only pat me on the back if I won.” We need people who will love us enough to speak hard truth into our lives.

Consistency

The second thing an accountability relationship needs is consistency. The people who have permission to speak into your life need to interact with you on a regular basis. Find people who have the same set of values and goals, and then do life with them. Maybe come up with common goals that you can do together. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon. Then find someone else who is training for a marathon and run with them a few times a week. You will be amazed with how much more you keep to your running schedule when someone is doing it with you.

Focus on Positives, Not Negatives

Finally, accountability should be centered on encouragement. Most people respond in a more productive manner to positive reinforcement than criticism. One of my first managers told me that we should say 5 encouraging things for every 1 critique. That means I should speak uplifting words 80% of the time. That’s very hard for me, because I analyze and critique everything. But if I want to have effective accountability than I need to focus on what that person is accomplishing and not as much on what they are not.

Tweetable Lesson: 

What have you learned about accountability?

About the Author:

I have a passion to equip or prepare young leaders for maximum impact in their spheres of influence. Former Pine Cove camp director and currently a general manager for Hawaiian Falls. I am originally from South Louisiana but now live in East Texas with my beautiful wife, Robyn.

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