How to Make Yourself Accountable – to Yourself!

Leigh D Wilson running

I help people make changes in their lives so they can be closer to their best selves.

While some types of personal change can happen very quickly, changing habits can often take quite a bit longer. To help us stick to our goal as we make these changes, it is often really helpful to have an accountability partner – someone to report to from time to time to keep them informed of our progress. Knowing that we are committed to doing this can help keep us on track when we find your motivation is waning.

Sometimes, however, an accountability partner is not available, or perhaps not appropriate, so it is my aim with this post to prompt you to think of creative solutions in those situations.

I think the best way that I can help with this is to describe the way I have kept myself accountable to myself with my distance running for a period of about 30 years.

While this is an activity that is very important to me in terms of maintaining my physical health and mental well-being, and overall, I enjoy it very much, it can often be very hard to convince myself just get out the door and start running.


So, I have a number of techniques that I have built up over the years to help motivate myself and keep myself accountable to myself, and will outline these below.

  • Firstly, I have a guiding principle to not miss running on more than two consecutive days, because I find that the habit starts to unwind if the time between runs gets longer.
  • I also aim to run about five or six days a week, although I must admit that I haven’t stuck with that too well lately.
  • I allow myself only a limited range of excuses for not running on a particular day, which includes ill-health and unavoidable commitments, but unpleasant weather, hot or cold or wet, is never an excuse.
  • I maintain a running diary, keeping track of the distance I ran, the time that it took, my speed, my heart-rate details, how I felt, details of the weather and anything else of interest, and any niggles or injuries. By doing this, I find that I am taking note of all these things as I run, which makes the activity more enjoyable and gives it a greater sense of purpose. I even find myself composing my diary note as I run. It also helps me become even more aware of the weather, my surroundings and my body, which is quite meditative.
    By maintaining these records, I’m able to keep a tally of how many kilometres I’ve run that far in a year and the totals for the week and the year, which I can use to motivate me to run as much, or further, as I have in previous years.
  • I also maintain personal speed records for various distances, which gives me an incentive to improve each year. The records start again after each birthday so that they are age-related, so after each birthday I get it big boost to create a new set of records for that year.
  • I also have a calendar on which I record the distance and the speed of each run and colour code this so that I can get a quick visual picture of how my running is going over the year.
    Maintaining this calendar gives me an incentive to not have too many blank entries, as does expecting myself to explain in my diary why I haven’t run on any day that I have missed.

I’m sure this will seem excessive to many people, but as I said, it has enabled me to maintain and enjoy my distance running for three decades, making it an integral part of my life and who I am. I have absolutely no doubt that it is contributed to my good health. It also meant a great deal to me during the many months of lock-down that we had here in Melbourne as it continued to provide me with an ongoing hobby as well as a safe outdoor activity.

I hope this inspires you to be creative in the ways in which you might be accountable to yourself with any of the changes that you are working on at present.

On the other hand, If you feel that you would like to have an executive coach as an accountability partner to help reach outrageous goals, feel free to get in touch with me.

#anxiety #stress #worry #overwhelm #fear #procrastination #selfesteem #emptiness #loneliness #failure #sadness #guilt #selftalk

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