time management

Crossing the Finish Line: Why You Need Accountability to Achieve Your Goals

May 23, 2022

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Crossing the Finish Line: Why You Need Accountability to Achieve Your Goals

Finish lines come in all shapes and sizes. Graduating with your Masters. Buying a house. Getting a promotion. Launching a project. Getting that promotion. Working hard toward something big (or small) and crossing it off your list is an amazing feeling. But before you hit your stride, there’s ONE thing you need to set yourself up for success.

Working hard toward a big (or small) goal and achieving it is an amazing feeling. If there was a way to bottle it up and save it for tough days, I would do it in a heartbeat. But before you cross that finish line, you need one thing to stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize: accountability.

So today, we’re talking about

  • Why accountability is absolutely necessary when you want to make things happen
  • 3 reasons why accountability is more important than productivity
  • How your personality plays a role in finding accountability that works for you
  • Where to find accountability

What you need to accomplish your goals

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” We’ve all heard that motivational quote before, right? While I totally agree, I have to wonder, what makes the teamwork? What fuels the power of teamwork itself? 

I say it’s accountability. Accountability makes the dream…accomplished? Not quite the same ring to it, but let’s go with that. 

Accountability is defined as “the acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions.” But anyone who’s tried to start a new fitness routine or keep a New Year’s resolution — and failed — knows how difficult it can be to hold yourself accountable on your own.

That’s why accountability partners are crucial. An accountability partner will hold you responsible to your commitment. They’ll help you stay the course and avoid getting sidetracked or giving up on your goals. And before you think that accountability partners don’t really work, listen to this: The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65% likely to achieve a goal after committing to another person.

That chance of success increases to 95% when they check in on their progress with their partners. Almost 100%?! I’d say accountability partners work.

Why accountability is more important than productivity

Recently, someone asked me what I thought the most important thing was for sticking with your plans and reaching your goals: productivity or accountability?

I may be a time management coach and a self-proclaimed productivity nerd, but honestly, I’m Team Accountability. Yes, you heard me right! Productivity is great for freeing up space in your calendar or helping your day run more smoothly, but it’s not the same as having a solid system in place. It’s also not a substitute for accountability.

We’ve already covered the first reason why accountability is the MVP. Checking in with your accountability partner regularly actually works. If you try a time management hack like task batching and time blocking, but you decide to ditch them, you’re the only person you’re letting down. But when you know you have to talk about your progress to another person, you’re more inclined to keep it up so you don’t let them down.

Plus, checking in with your partner helps you measure your progress! At every meeting, you let your accountability partner know what you’ve done since the previous meeting. This helps you see how much progress you’ve actually made — which can be really tough when you’re going it alone. Accountability is also a great source of motivation.

And finally, your regular accountability meetings help you figure out your next step. Forget habit trackers and Google Calendars and following one-size-fits-all plans in an app. Those things won’t talk to you about how your personal journey is going, nor will they share friendly advice that you might not have considered. 

So, you can have both productivity and accountability, but if I had to choose one to reach my goals, it would be accountability. 

What’s your personality type?

At this point, you might be thinking, “Accountability partners sound great! How do I get started?” Love the enthusiasm, but we have to talk about one more thing. Your personality. Your personality impacts the type of accountability that’ll work best for you!

According to Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before — one of my favorite books about habits that I love even more than Atomic Habits — there are four tendencies that outline how you respond to expectations:

  • Upholders easily meet inner and outer expectations, and make great accountability partners for other people. Regular meetings and accountability check-ins are the best strategies for upholders.
  • Obligers excel at meeting outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. They benefit from having accountability partners since they have trouble following through on things alone. Most people are obligers.
  • Questioners excel at meeting inner expectations, but outer expectations, not so much. Reason and information are key. Questioners are always asking “why?” Regular check-ins with clear expectations will help questioners meet their goals. (By the way, I’m a questioner!)
  • Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations. Don’t tell them what to do! Unfortunately, they also struggle with telling themselves what to do. Rebels will find success if they make their goals a part of their identity. 

Knowing our tendency can help us approach situations in ways that make it easier for us to follow through. If one of these tendencies made you feel seen or was a little too accurate, take that as a good sign. You’re not alone in struggling with accountability. Understanding your personality will help you meet your goals.

Where you can find the accountability you’re craving

I think we can all agree that accountability isn’t just a “nice to have” thing, it’s a necessity. 

But if we know that accountability partners are crucial for achieving our goals, why don’t we have them? Why aren’t we asking our buddies to help us out or creating groups with colleagues or setting meetings in our calendars?

A lot of times, we don’t know who to ask. Or we’re afraid that the person we ask will judge us or not understand us. Maybe our friends, family members, and coworkers are wonderful, but they wouldn’t make the best accountability partners for you.

Having a community of people to support and cheer each other on is so, so important. That’s why, about 6 months ago, I created a small community of women with the shared goal of growing professionally, growing our businesses, learning together and supporting each other along the way. Before coming together, each of us felt kind of alone, without anyone to talk to or throw ideas around with.

Now, thanks to the community, we’ve all crossed finish lines together. When one of us wins, it feels like we’ve all won, because we’ve been there for each other through it all! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? That is the power of accountability in a community, my friends.

Join the It’s About Time community!

Now that we’ve covered just how powerful the support of a community can be, I won’t leave you hanging on where exactly you can find that community! There’s still time to join the It’s About Time Academy as a founding member. (If you missed the big announcement, you can find more details here!)

If you’re looking for a time management coach who’s got your back, a members-only exclusive podcast, and an awesome community of friends cheering you on, the It’s About Time Academy is for you.

Successful time management isn’t about trying every productivity app you find on the internet. Nor is it about stuffing your calendar full of tasks and activities and ignoring how exhausted it makes you feel. It’s about getting clear on your values and goals. That’s how you prioritize your to-do list, make decisions with ease, and enjoy every moment.

That’s what you’ll learn when you join It’s About Time Academy, through private podcast episodes, monthly live coaching sessions, and the support of the community. The clock is ticking, though, so don’t wait! Join the It’s About Time Academy now!

Links & Resources Mentioned in Episode 125

Episode 124: Introducing the “It’s About Time Academy”

Related Episodes

Why productivity hacks aren’t the same as having a solid time management system in Quick And Easy: 7 Simple Productivity Hacks That Could Change Everything.

Learn what’s next for It’s About Time in Introducing the “It’s About Time Academy”

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