How Can You Develop Your Accountability Muscles?

Do you endorse the principle of personal accountability for the choices you make in life, but feel the need to further develop your “accountability muscles”?\r\n\r\nAs with the body’s muscles, the accountability muscles require consistent exercising to develop the capability to make choices based on what we have predefined as important in our lives. Here are a few exercises for you to consider, based on what I have observed in other people’s lives and my own:\r\n\r\n• Avoid the victim mentality. Who hasn’t blamed the traffic for being late? I learned a lesson first-hand from a professional coach I had several years ago. He was late to a coaching session, and he apologized for it. Nothing strange so far . . . until he assumed full responsibility for his tardiness by indicating that, even though he knew traffic was unpredictable during the early morning hours, he still chose to leave his house without allowing much margin for error. Exercise your accountability muscles by learning from your mistakes. Admit them, at least to yourself, and avoid the easy way out of blaming somebody or something else.\r\n\r\n• Set reminders. Use both new technology and conventional means to remind yourself of the need to exercise your accountability muscles and avoid the victim mentality. How about setting a reminder on your computer, cell phone, watch or any other device you may have near you during the day? Or placing sticky notes around the house or your workplace? You can also ask your close relationships to listen to the language you use and call you out when you admit accountability (for positive reinforcement) and when you blame others (for constructive feedback).\r\n\r\n• Exercise delayed gratification. I am constantly reminded of the power of delayed gratification when I see it practiced by my daughter and daughter-in-law. They ask their kids to wait for dessert until they have finished their regular meal. No meal, no dessert. How often do we, as adults, trade off doing “the right thing,” like helping a person in need or building an important life relationship, for a short-term reward, such as watching TV or attending a party?\r\n\r\nIf you are committed to accepting 100 percent responsibility for your life choices, consider these accountability exercises.\r\n\r\nWhat do you do to keep yourself accountable? Any good practices you want to share?\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Business Consultant, Facilitator, and Professional Coach\r\

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