You’ll never know what you can do until you try. Fortune Cookie
When you start looking for motivation in a fortune cookie you know it’s time to ask for help. When a friend approached me about being part of an accountability group, I was terrified. It is a procrastinator’s worst nightmare. The thought of having to answer to someone every week was a daunting proposition. Instead this group helped formed a powerful commitment to real change and accomplishment of goals.
Accountability groups are not a new idea. Groups of people with similar interests meet on a regular basis and hold each other accountable for their goals. Their goals can be varied; getting into graduate school, finding a dream job, finishing an artistic portfolio, or getting to a healthy, happy weight.If you’re the kind of person who can never finish anything or struggles with goal setting, this may be the answer.
Accountability groups are based on the results of a 1950 Harvard study of graduate students. Though all were taught that goal setting was important and necessary, only three percent of the graduates actually wrote them down. Thirty years later, the results were in. The three percent who wrote down their goals were more financially successful than all of the ninety seven percent combined.
That’s impressive. If only it was true. It seems that this story has been circulated around the self-help circuit since the ’50’s. Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, business gurus and anyone who has a program to sell uses this inspiring story to market the value of goal setting. Should that stop you?
Common experience and numerous studies have since shown that people who write down their goals, internalize them, and follow through with them will be successful. Those that don’t will struggle. Being accountable is owning up to your goals then changing your behavior and habits to reach them. This is not only powerful in business,creative endeavors, weight loss, and healthy living, but its also key to becoming the person you want to be.Trainers and personal coaches deal with accountability on a daily basis. They define accountability as first asking for observations, advice and direction and second, being willing to be humble enough to accept the above and remain teachable enough to apply it.
With weight loss goals, personal trainers say the people who show up, attend class, and are honest with their choices are the achievers. Adding group support can only help the process. People become accountable not only to themselves but to the group. In a group setting accountability is also showing up for other people, if one person shows up and succeeds. . .she or he could be the inspiration for the rest of the group to hang in there.
Suggested Guidelines for An Accountability Group
1. Meet on a regular basis.
2. Set guidelines that work for your group.
3. Respect each member’s privacy, do not share with others outside the group.
4. Change the group leader or facilitator at each meeting.
5. Share weekly personal goals before you leave the meeting.
6. Start and end on time.
7. Use a timer to give each member equal time.
8. Don’t interrupt. Hold all comments until every member has a chance to speak.
9. No chitchat. This is a powerful place to make real commitments, don’t abuse the time.