Friday, 11 October 2013

Personal Accountability

Anyone who knows me well says that I think way too much...and they would be correct. Sometimes I can't turn my brain off and one thought leads to the next and the next. This is where my thought process led me last night....

The word that has been playing around in my mind this week is accountability. I don't necessarily mean in a financial or organisational sense such as a company being accountable or answerable to its shareholders. What I have been thinking about is being accountable as an individual with the various aspects of your life that you are balancing. Accountability means taking responsibility for your actions or, in other words, to account for them.

With some areas of our lives we are accountable to someone, just as companies are to their shareholders. We are expected to perform in certain ways just as we expect doctors or teachers to do. For example, we are accountable to our husbands to be a loving wife, to our employers to do our job well, to our children to be a good role model and responsible parent. If our actions contradict what is expected of us then our husbands, employers and kids will hold us accountable and expect us to explain or justify our actions.

So, what got me thinking is, what about those areas of our lives where we don't have to be accountable to others? What if we don't have husbands, children and employers to be accountable to? In these instances I can only surmise that we are only accountable to ourselves, or to our conscience or beliefs perhaps. We only have ourselves to answer to if we err in judgement or give up on a goal.  This is dangerous ground for me because I have found that I am persuasive and can talk myself out of being accountable.  I don't need to go to the gym after work, I've lost weight this week, I need a night off... or... I really need that chocolate bar right now, its been a stressy day. I am the boss of me so I can break the rules when I want to, and accept my rather weak justifications.

It therefore takes strength and sometimes willpower to be accountable to oneself. Sometimes I feel like Sylvester from the Tweety Bird cartoons with that little pain in the butt conscience angel talking him out of or into things. So, with all this deep thinking about being accountable today, I realised that I have already taken some measures to take the accountability away from just me.

For example, I have joined a gym with a program where I get weighed every week and measured every month. My mind then sees that I am accountable to my trainers Nikki and Kerrie, as well as myself. I want to do well and I hate going backwards. I want them to be proud of me (as I am of myself)  for getting fit and losing the weight. There is my accountability. Works for me.

Being a writer is a big goal of mine and starting this blog is making my writing accountable. Instead of thinking yeah okay I will watch television instead of doing that article or writing that chapter, I now have a regular pattern of writing. It has become less sporadic and more disciplined, I am more productive and savouring every minute of it. My writing will improve every day and I will reach my goals. Works for me.

So, now I just have to extend that personal accountability theory to those other areas of my life that are unbalanced. The main area that needs work is my personal finances.

 I work, I spend, I buy. Yes, I do have a budget, but there is still that voice that tells me I need to buy something or I can make it up next week. I have met a pretty amazing lady Stacey from the UK who knows exactly how much she is spending and saving every single day...and she documents it on her blog Mortgage Free Journey. It has inspired me to take a closer look at my personal spending (what I have left after paying my bills) and make it work towards my goals of a holiday and reducing my credit card debt. I have already started by growing my vegies and making my own cleaning products, but the rest needs a closer inspection and I will be doing that in further blogs.

So, there you have my theory of personal accountability. I have since Googled it and others define it simply as responsibility. That's where I am heading...towards responsibility and taking control of those neglected areas of my life. I imagine the little Sylvester or mini-me will still sit on my shoulder and try and talk me into things....sometimes he/she will win because no-one is perfect. We do the best we can. But with my goals in sight, only I can formulate and put into action the plan to get there...and the best thing is...I am working on it.

Do you have a plan? What do you think about personal accountability?

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