Steps to Development

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5 Steps To Developing A Personal Accountability Plan

1. Set your goal.

Begin by daydreaming about what it is you hope to accomplish. Imagine yourself in that place, doing that thing, or being that way. Make sure it is something that you really want, not something that someone wants for you. Then identify the steps it will take to accomplish that goal. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you will need to develop a training schedule, consult books or experts on marathon running, buy running shoes, sign up for a race, etcetera. Identify how you will carve out the time to take those steps. Figure out a way that works for your schedule and your lifestyle.

2. Write down your goal.

Writing down your goals can reinforce the message to yourself. If you are a visual person, place reminders in places you will see them regularly. Some people write a note and tape it to the mirror; others create a vision board that demonstrates what they hope to achieve. A few others develop intricate spreadsheets on their computer, while others create a journal to track their progress. Find a way to remind yourself of your goal and the steps you need to take to get there.

(You should have already completed steps 1 and 2 in developing your Comprehensive Plan)

3. Identify an accountability partner and share your goal with that person.

Carefully consider who you will ask to be your accountability partner. Find someone who will brainstorm how to get over the stumbling blocks, encourage during the upsets, and cheer you on as you progress and ultimately meet that goal. In turn, you will do that for your partner.
Once you have identified your partner and are able to articulate what it is you want, tell your partner what you want, the steps you will take, and your deadlines.

4. Set up a regular meeting date with your accountability partner.

Meeting with your accountability partner on a regular basis forces you to consistently work towards that goal. It is important to set up some ground rules with your partner. Consider whether you want the conversations to be held in confidence. Determine the frequency and location of the meetings. Block out a standing date on your calendar for your meetings. Plan what you will do to make up for unavoidable schedule conflicts.
Since you have broken down your goals into steps, begin your first meeting by setting a deadline and articulating a plan of action for the first step in writing. For example, for the marathon runner, the first step might be to research and purchase a training guide by the end of the week.

5. Assess and review your progress.

At each of your accountability meetings, refer back to your notes and report back on your progress and specifically articulate what your next step will be-again writing out what you will do. In the example above, at your next meeting you can report that you identified and purchased a book, and subscribed to a blog on marathon training. During that meeting, articulate what you plan to achieve the next week, e.g., start a mileage log and run three miles four times over the next week.

It is critical to be honest with your partner and yourself about what you want, why you want it, and what you have done to achieve it. Articulating your deadlines to your partner will help you meet them. Hopefully, you will run that race in the time you hoped to on the specified date. And when you do, your partner will celebrate with you.

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