Accountability is so hard. It’s hard to say you love your job when you have to work around the clock because that’s how an industry works- working weekends in retail because you LOVE your product, but wishing you had more time with your friends and family.
Accountability is an even harder thing to teach. As a parent, I struggle with holding my kids accountable for grades, certain behaviors, being a good friend…blah blah blah. The bottom line is that my kids shouldn’t be accountable to me, but to themselves. But how do you teach that without teaching them that they are the center of the universe and entitled to their every whim?
How do we teach ourselves that?
I think it starts very simply. It starts with taking time to be quiet and still, taking account of where we are and where we may like to be. Again, writing it down helps me organize my thoughts and view my progress. I use my previous days as “bouncing off points” when I’m in need of personal insight in my quiet time. It may sound hokie, but this us how I came to the realization that my life was out of control.
This morning I woke up at four. I went to work with a big smile on my face, because I LOVE my job. I came home- made breakfast, lunches, did laundry, straightened up and vacuumed. I lifted for thirty minutes and then went on a beach six-mile run. And then, home- to paperwork, scheduling, accounting, blogging… etc.
As I sit here and blog, I am aware of all of the thoughts that swirl around my mind and threaten to derail me from my current task at hand, which is
...uh…uh… uh… um…ummmmmmmm
It’s hard to stay accountable in a world where everything moves so damn fast. You sit down. The phone rings. The laundry machine starts singing that you need to change it. Your e-mail sends notifications. You need to have a meeting in two minutes and still need to pick up dry cleaning after work and figure out how you’ll get your kids at the same time.
What we need to be accountable to or who we need to be accountable to constantly changes, or so we think.
Unless we start with ourselves first.
So, what does that mean?
Sit down, if you’re not sitting down already. Get a piece of paper and a pen. Answer these questions:
- What does my ideal life look like?(draw a picture if you have to, or jot a note..it doesn’t have to be elaborate)
- What does my real life today look like?(same instructions as above)
- What are the things I need to change? (put this under the “real life” category)
- What are the things I want to change? (put this under the “ideal life” category
- What are the most important VALUES in my life?
- What about my real life supports these values?
- What about my ideal life supports these values?
- Where do I have ten minutes a day to work on this list?
And then, maybe you can start working a life plan. Say, for instance, you want to spend less time working. You need more family time. That’s a basic feeling that this list outlines, but if you are accountable to yourself for ten minutes a day, this list should progress every day in your quiet time. Your goals change to realize you need a new job, then you need to look in the classifieds, go on interviews, etc. It sounds so basic, but the ten minute list accountability moves you through.
You want to be healthier. In your ideal life you’re a super model, your real life you’re up twenty pounds. Same thing. You may realize you need to tweak your diet or join a gym. In those ten minutes, keep progressing that list. And you’ll be where you want to be in no time.
Accountability doesn’t have to be something to be fearful of, or intimidated by.
When we are accountable to ourselves, the world becomes an organized and prioritized place.