How to Make Yourself Accountable to Yourself


You might be accountable to your boss at work, but are you accountable to yourself? Do you regularly let yourself down or fail to live up to the standards you’ve set for yourself? You’re not alone. 

Most people struggle to behave in a way that is congruent with their values and goals. Most people make plans that they never follow or set goals they never come close to achieving. 

This is a frustrating and ineffective way to live. There’s no one to hold you accountable if you don’t do it yourself. 

Be accountable to yourself and anything is possible! Follow these tips to master the art of accountability: 

1. Keep a to-do list. If you don’t have a plan, you can’t hold yourself accountable to anything. Start each day with a detailed plan of what you want to accomplish. This list should consist of things that need to be done to maintain your life, as well as things that will bring you closer to achieving your goals. 

  • The first step to self-accountability is a to-do list that you take seriously. 

2. Make a schedule. A list of tasks isn’t enough. When are you going to do each item on that list? What is most important? What needs to be done first? Create a schedule and hold yourself to it. Start each day with a plan. 

3. Review your performance. Review your performance each day. You can review at the end of each task or review all of your tasks at the end of the day. Make note of your successes and failures. 

  • What can you learn that will make you more effective?
  • What do you feel good about?
  • What embarrassed you about your performance today? 

4. Reward and punish yourself as appropriate. When you do well, give yourself a reward. When you’re not performing up to your standards, punish yourself. Most people don’t have trouble thinking of rewards, but here are a few ideas for punishments: 

  • Don’t allow yourself to watch TV for a week.
  • Give money to a charity you don’t approve of.
  • Don’t allow yourself to ride your motorcycle for a month.
  • Embarrass yourself publicly.
  • Snap your wrist with a big rubber band.
  • Force yourself to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week.
  • Make yourself watch a news channel that you despise. 

5. Be clear on your goals. Your to-do list is largely dependent on your goals. It’s easy to sit around and accomplish little if you don’t have well-defined goals. You can’t hold yourself accountable without something to hold yourself accountable to. 

  • What are your five most important goals? Make a list and review it at least once each day. Be able to recite them without thinking. 

6. Have others hold you accountable. Whether you’re training for a marathon or trying to buy your first rental property, let others know your plans. You might be more inclined to take action rather than suffer the public embarrassment of failure. 

  • Who will hold you accountable without trying to sabotage your efforts? Who really wants to see you be successful? This person could be a great accountability partner. 

It would be nice to be assigned a drill sergeant to hold us accountable each day. Unfortunately, we have to manage ourselves. 

What would you be capable of accomplishing if you could hold yourself accountable each day? The sky would be the limit. However, we allow ourselves to get away with regular displays of mediocrity and simply sigh as a response. 

Today is the day you can begin to hold yourself responsible in all areas of your life. 

Be accountable to yourself and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve! 

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