Goal Setting: The Importance of Having Accountability

Last week I wrote about goal setting for 2018. Upon a reread of our discussion, I found that I talked about the importance of setting goals, and how you are the only one who can accomplish the goals you set out, but I said little about how to have a greater assurance of success. It is true that no one can accomplish your goals for you, but you can use the “cheering section” I spoke of to give you the occasional boost when your confidence is dry.

Choosing Your Goals

I hope this past week you have been successful in getting your goals narrowed down. A good rule of thumb is to write them down. A goal that can be seen gives it more life. If you merely keep your goals in the recesses of your mind, they can be forgotten or not taken as seriously.

There is something about seeing your goals in writing. Have them in a place where you can see them regularly, daily is preferable. Have them in a place that is easily seen; on a bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door, or take a photo of them and make them your screensaver. This will keep them fresh in your mind.

I know, if a goal of yours is rather personal it may be difficult to see every day. Don’t look at it as a reminder of your past failures, look at it as an incentive to make that change, or motivation to reach that goal. You cannot expect to make progress without being challenged. That reminds me of a movie quote from Young Guns. Billy the Kid, played by Emilio Estevez, is talking to his fellow ruffians. He tells them, “You have to test yourself every day, gentlemen. Once you stop testin’ yourself, you get slow.” Once you stop challenging yourself, you stop growing.

That makes me think even more. That movie was about a bunch of guys who had each other’s backs. Yes, Billy the Kid was a lone wolf sometimes, and he cost his cohorts quite a bit, but they never gave up on him. Regardless of their situation, they stayed together. They lived and died in defense of a common goal.
This leads me to the reason for my follow-up; having accountability. We all need that voice in our ear, encouraging us. But who should that person be?

Choosing an Accountability Partner

While you don’t need to gun down Murphy’s men in defense of John Tunstall’s murder, to help you when you struggle, you do need a Doc Scurlock or a Chavez y Chavez to have your back. An accountability partner can console you, lift you up, and push you on to achieving your goal. AND you have their back to assist them in achieving theirs.

When you are choosing an accountability partner, there are a few things to consider:

First, they must be willing to be an accountability partner. It may be surprising to you that other people may not be as interested in your success as you are… I know, right? In all seriousness, it’s a good thing to keep in mind that nobody will take your aspirations as seriously as you. So, don’t expect just anyone to bend over backward to keep you going; going is your job.

The person who is best suited to become an accountability partner, is someone who already encourages you. A good friend, a mentor, a family member, or a spouse. The more they know about your goal already, the more supportive they will be. If you can find someone who has similar goals, you can push each other on to accomplishing them together.

Second, if you are married, the person should be of the same sex. Having an accountability partner who is of the opposite sex can cause conflict with your spouse. Even if your spouse is okay with you allowing them to help you stay accountable, it’s best to refrain from any appearance of wrongdoing. Just don’t do it.

Finally, expect them to keep you accountable. You cannot get upset with someone who is on you about your eating habits if you asked them to keep you away from the junk foods. You cannot get angry with someone who is reminding you that you gave up that habit when you gave them permission to scold you if you picked it up again. You cannot avoid your accountability partner because you falter. Your partner is not only there to encourage you; they are there to support you when you fail.

Final Thoughts

One final thing to know is that if you fall behind or break a rule, it’s okay. Making mistakes and failing is part of the learning process, part of getting to where you want to be. Nowhere are you promised success in all that you do. Life is a series of steps; forward and back. We don’t know what the next day will hold, so we must make the most of every opportunity, even if taking a chance ends in failure.

The road may be long, so do not get discouraged if you do not accomplish everything in 2018. If you take just one step closer to any of your goals by December 31, then you have made progress, and you should be proud. The point of having an accountability partner is to have the help to take more than one step. To make you not satisfied with just one step. To encourage you to success, and even more, to celebrate with you each achievement you make.


Author: Jeff S. Bray

Jeff is a writer with a passion for God that comes through in everything he writes. A local First Baptist Church member and Freelance Writer he loves to create works that glorify God. In addition to his blog, Jeff has written a series of children's books titled Elissa the Curious Snail. This book series helps parents introduce basic faith concepts like friendship and prayer, even in the face of adversity. Jeff integrates these teachings in a fun and entertaining way. No home with children or grandchildren should be without Elissa's inspiring stories. See the book series at www.elissathecurioussnail.com

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