It’s the beginning of January. Resolutions have been made. Intentions set. Desires, dreams, and goals created.
Ok great, so what. What now?
Maybe you’ve said this year will be different. You’re committed. Seriously committed.
You’ve set SMART goals and you’ve even got someone, a team, or community holding you accountable.
Well I’m here to say accountability schmountability.
This year I’ve decided to toss accountability out the window. I thought I loved it. I thought I needed it. I thought it made me a better person. But what it did was create an intention that I didn’t want my goals and dreams coming from.
And that was the feeling of shame.
I discovered the driving force behind the accountability was shame and disappointment.
I didn’t want to disappoint myself on the way to a goal and then feel ashamed that I didn’t reach it. I didn’t want to feel ashamed if the time came for me to complete a part of a goal and then not finish it. I hated that feeling. It made me feel like crap.
That’s probably the one bad thing about goals. If you don’t reach them when you said you will, you feel bad. I hate that. Don’t you?
In the past I’d set a food goal (like quitting sugar), a fitness goal (like being able to do a pull-up), or a business goal (let’s make €3000/month) and think I need someone to hold me accountable. Yes, of course I could hold myself accountable but I loved someone else holding me accountable for a goal I wanted to achieve because it made me more likely to accomplish the goal.
Why? Because having a person outside of myself asking me how I’m doing made me want to ‘perform’ for them. I wanted to be better than where I was. I wanted to show that I was disciplined enough to reach my goals.
But of course at least 50% of the time the inevitable would happen. I would start failing on my goal. Check points for my accountability partner would be on the horizon. The time was approaching when I declared to the world that I would reach that goal or be at a certain milestone and yet, nope. It clearly wasn’t going to happen.
Feelings of shame, guilt, disappointment. You know, the whole shebang. Let’s call ‘em THE BIG 3. They came to me every time I asked someone to hold me accountable. It’s either I feel one of those 3 feelings or try to avoid feelings altogether by making an excuse and completely unattaching myself to what happened.
The latter was the new strategy I was adopting lately by attempting to feel nothing and tell myself and accountability partner that’s just the way it is. The crappy thing about that strategy is even though you don’t feel anything you still don’t reach your goal.
And that’s the thing about accountability. For years the driving force behind this need for accountability was so that I didn’t feel the guilt, shame, or disappointment. I was actually trying to avoid those feelings.
Now I finally understand that was the hidden intention and energy I was putting into reaching my goals. Who likes to put that type of bad energy into things we aspire to? Why would I purposely put myself in situations where in order to change something about myself I’m trying to avoid certain feelings? That’s pretty messed up logic.
Yes, if I reach a goal I’m also chasing great feelings but if I’m not where I want (expect) myself to be with that goal then I’m automatically going to start feeling THE BIG 3 feelings.
So then what can I replace accountability with? Well my great friend, Doris, who is beautifully obsessed with bringing nature back into all the lives of humanity told me what they do in her nature mentoring which inspired this blog post.
You ask for support.
No one’s holding you accountable. Instead you ask the person if they can support you in achieving your goals. It’s very simple and it’s a very subtle difference from accountability. But do you notice the shift in your body in how you feel now with trying to achieve your goals?
I no longer feel like the dreaded BIG 3 will emerge now that I’m on a mission for support buddies and communities. All thoughts that someone might blame me if I don’t reach a goal is gone. Whewww, relief!
What I feel is love and support. Someone to lean on if I’m stuck or start falling into old patterns. Since they said yes to my support I know I now have permission to go to them during the good or the bad.
When it came to my accountability partner I never felt like they were my cheerleader. But I automatically feel like my support buddy is rooting me on and I dig the way that feels. Like I’m stuffed in a fluffy- just roasted on the fire- marshmallow as I propel myself towards my goal.
It. Feels. Good.
So this year as you set your business and personal goals I challenge you to get rid of your accountability partners. See what happens when you ask them to be your support instead. Be clear to your support buddy what you wish for them to do. If you hear your friends and family setting goals and trying to realize their dreams, ask them if they’d like a support buddy.
The power is being clear in what you need. And the best place to do that is when you’re already in a good place, not when you’re in a low place.
So get your phones out and start asking for support. Be clear on the support you are looking for because people love to help and support - they just need to know how.
Support can be as simple as listening to what you are thinking (when your mind is crazy noisy and violent) and ask them to offer a recap of what you said.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What does support look like for me? (Is it being a cheerleader? Telling your struggles and asking for help? Listening? Telling personal success stories?)
What support do I need?
What exactly can I ask of this person?
Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page what you are declaring to the world that you need support in. You may end up finding others who need the same support as you!
But wait Kristin. Can’t accountability be good? You’re absolutely right. Check back later this week on our blog to see how we’re bringing accountability back into our lives.
Until then much madness, love and support!