What does it mean to Own It?
How many times have you heard people say, “I want to get in shape,” “I want a pay rise at work,” or, “I want to get higher marks in my studies?” You’ve probably even said these phrases yourself.
Now how often do these desires just fall flat? They never turn into real actions. But why is that?
It’s not that we don’t want these things badly enough. It’s not that we aren’t willing to put in the effort. It’s just that…
There’s no accountability.
Accountability is a powerful thing, and crucial if you want to make change happen. It simply means you assess a situation and take responsibility for your behaviour and outcomes.
In other words, you own it.
And if you want to achieve your goals in work and in life, you need to own it.
Let’s break it down.
What is accountability?
Accountability means you do what you say you’re going to do. You choose to take responsibility for projects, outcomes and actions, with the intention of reaching goals.
Don’t wait for others to take responsibility for your goals. Whether we’re talking about your parents, teacher or manager, it’s not down to them. It comes down to you. Just do it. Own your commitment. Take your goals as seriously as you would a promise to your best friend.
How to own your success
Sometimes, we don’t hold ourselves accountable because we just don’t know how.
Here are some practical strategies you can use to really own it:
1. Set detailed, bold goals
The thing with goals is that if they aren’t concrete and detailed, they are never going to be achieved.
We’ve all walked down the street and thought, “okay, tomorrow morning I’m going to get up earlier and do yoga/go for a run/start meditating.” Then, we’ve set the alarm, woken up early and… gone straight back to sleep.
The problem is, these goals are known only by you. They don’t exist in any place that means they need to be achieved.
That’s where accountability comes in.
Make your goals concrete and detailed. For example, rather than setting a goal to do more exercise, set a goal to “do three gym sessions a week”. Rather than setting a goal to do better at work, make your goal to “take three personal development courses by the end of the year.”
See the difference?
By being specific and concrete, you’re more easily able to quantify if and when you’ve reached your goal.
Another thing to remember when setting goals is to aim high. Yes, it’s important to be realistic, but set bold goals that are outside your comfort zone and will really challenge you.
2. Share your goal with others
Think back to that goal of getting up early to exercise. It’s so easy to pretend to ourselves that we never really intended to wake up early, and therefore that’s why it didn’t happen.
But if you write down your goal, it becomes a real plan.
That’s the important thing about accountability: it brings your goals out of your head and into the world.
This simple act is more powerful than you think – people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them, according to a study done by pscychologist Dr. Gail Matthews.
Go a step further and tell someone your goal and your chances of success just increased to 78%!
3. Identify what you need to do to reach your goal
It’s one thing to set a goal and tell someone about it. But if you’re going to keep yourself accountable and really own it, you need to work out how to achieve it.
Break down your goal into the actions required to get there.
For example, if your goal is to exercise more, you might decide to join the gym, write a workout plan, buy some workout clothes, and book in for three sessions a week.
If your goal is to build your professional network, you’ll set the actions to create a LinkedIn account, attend work events, reach out to five new contacts a week, and so on.
In both cases, your success comes down to identifying the habits and behaviours that’ll get you to your goals.
4. Schedule check-in dates with yourself
How will you know how you’re tracking towards your goals? Make regular check-in dates with yourself and someone else along the way.
Say you’ve given yourself a month to reach your goal. Set a check-in date every week. That might mean reviewing your actions every Sunday night before the week begins.
During your check-in, ask yourself whether you’ve been consistently taking action towards your goal. Study what you’ve accomplished, and what you did not. Look at any behaviours that need to be changed in order to reach your goal, and any actions that need to be added to your to-do list. What can you do better next week?
Go a step further and set specific tasks and deadlines with others. This makes you more likely to stick to them. Because when you have someone continually checking in on you, it’s difficult to admit that you haven’t completed your actions.
That’s what accountability is all about.
Quite simply, it’s nice to have someone who understands what you’re trying to achieve, and will encourage you to do so.
5. Think about the impact of not being accountable to yourself
What does it mean if you don’t reach your goals? What will it cost you in money, life experiences, and in your relationship with yourself and others?
Sometimes when trying to achieve the goal feels hard or even impossible, remember that the cost of doing nothing is often higher.
Are you ready to own it?
In Jim Rohn’s book The Challenge to Succeed, he says, “If you want more, you need to do more.”
We all want success, but you can’t expect to get it unless you own your actions. Imagine how much your life and career would begin to change if you start holding yourself accountable for what you want, and the actions needed to get there.
We can help – start your human skills learning journey and find a practical guide to setting and achieving your goals on the Hodie app, free, today!