How to Hold Yourself Accountable

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If you’ve ever made a pact with a friend, co-worker or spouse to hold each other accountable for reaching a goal, you know the struggle is real. While some accountability partners are a match made in heaven, others can be flaky, bossy, unrealistic or even toxic. But truly, if you’re looking for that one magical person who will change your life, look in the mirror because there’s simply no one better to count on than yourself.

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“When you hold yourself accountable, a sense of ownership, mastery and pride is created,” says Dara Bushman, PsyD, NBCCH, RRT, a licensed clinical psychologist in Pembroke Pines, Florida, adding that those who are not accountable feel a loss of control and often leave tasks incomplete or complete them with a lack of purpose. “Holding yourself accountable creates patterns of consistency and continuity and empowers authorship of your destiny. When commitment is achieved, a profound purpose is cultivated and integrity is established.”

1. Be realistic. 

Create goals that fit with your lifestyle and that you know you can reach or even exceed.

Example: Set a goal to work out three days a week to begin. You’re likely to add a day onto that schedule down the road as it becomes an enjoyable habit.

2. Personalize your plan. 

It is more natural to want to be accountable for things that are fun and that you feel good doing. Find your strengths and use what works for you.

Example: If you don’t enjoy cooking, vowing to cook every night will be pure torture. Instead, set a goal to cook two times a week and you’re much more likely to do it.

3. Loosen up (a bit). 

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