You may be wondering, what is an accountability structure?
An accountability structure is something that you put into place to encourage your follow-through on your chosen plan of action.
For example, think about meeting a friend to go jogging every morning. If it were left up to you alone, you might prefer to lounge in bed, but knowing that your friend is waiting for you motivates you to get up and out the door. For extra oomph, maybe you and your friend give each other your running shoes at the end of your jog – you give her your runners, and she gives you yours. Now you have *extra* accountability because if you don’t meet her, she can’t go for her run because you have her shoes! That’s a serious accountability structure, and you definitely won’t miss your morning run with your friend.
So, what accountability structures might work for you?
Of course, it’s going to depend on what your goals and plans are, but here are a few things to consider as you create your own accountability structures:
- Reflect on what has worked for you in the past to help you commit to your plans.
If it’s worked for you in the past, there’s a decent chance it might work for you again.
- Consider who else you can involve.
Tell another person about your goals. Ask them to check in with you, or even accompany you.
- Change aspects of your environment to make it easier to accomplish your goals. For example, if you wanted to do yoga every morning, set out your yoga clothes and mat right next to your bed, and have your laptop ready to go with your video instruction queued up. Make it easy and just roll out of bed and get stretching!
- Put your money where your mouth is.
Some people find that if they pay for a service, they are more likely to make use of it. Paying for that 1:1 yoga instruction might work better for you than a free class.
- Don’t break the chain!
This has been attributed to writers, such as Jerry Seinfeld, who have a writing habit of writing a bit every single day. Print out a calendar (this works best when it’s easily visible) and put a big red X through the date when you have done your coaching homework for the day. After a few days, the Xs form a chain – and you wouldn’t want to break that chain, would you?
- Put your money where your mouth isn’t!
Choose a cause that you *don’t* believe in and promise that you will donate to that heinous cause every time you miss your action step on your plan. Didn’t call 5 customers today? You must donate $5 to that foundation that’s anti-butterflies. For some people, this “punishment” approach works better to keep you accountable.
Accountability structures help to keep you honest and on track in the coaching experience. Experiment – find one that works for you – and get closer to your goals, one step at a time.