One of the most important things we can do if we really want to reach our goals is to create accountability for ourselves. I don’t know about you, but my internal locus of control only goes so far in keeping me honest–even with regard to goals that are truly meaningful to me. Take my goal to shave an hour off my average marathon finishing time. If I hadn’t told people I would blog about my training, I wouldn’t have had any reason outside of myself to stick to my training plan all year.
Last Saturday I took my last pace run before the Austin Marathon this coming Sunday. I went north to Blaine, WA (just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border) to do a seven-mile fun run. My goal was to keep all seven miles between 10 minutes and 10:30. But one thing I know about myself is that if no one is looking, there’s a chance I’ll say something to myself like, “Well, it’s no big deal if I slow down to an eleven-minute mile on the hill.”
To help keep me on track, I invited my friend Pam to join me on the run and she graciously agreed. For the whole seven miles, Pam stayed perfectly consistent. If I slowed down, she remained solid, which helped me hold onto my own intention to maintain my pace.
When we make a commitment to ourselves and don’t share those commitments with others, we have only ourselves to rely on when we get tired or lose momentum. And while it’s true that no one else can do the actual work for us, sometimes some one else CAN hold the optimism or faith in ourselves that we need to push through doubts or exhaustion.
If you’re working toward a goal and you could use a little accountability to keep you moving, try some of the things that have worked for me:
1. Create or join a group that meets regularly to support one another (this is a great one for athletic goals or goals related to creative projects).
2. Find a coach who will hold your feet to the fire.
3. Blog about your journey.
4. Find a partner who is working on a similar goal. Throw out friendly competitive challenges to each other.
5. Talk about your goals and plans to anyone who will listen. The more people who know what you’re doing, the more people you’ll feel accountable to.
What other strategies do you have to keep you on target, friends? I’m always looking for more ways to hold myself accountable to my intentions.
The next time you “see” me, I’ll be in Texas. I’ll let you know how the race goes. Cheers!