Have you ever committed to something but didn’t follow through?
Did you promise something that you didn’t deliver?
Have you ever told yourself, “I’m going to do _____________,” or “I’m going to stop doing ___________,” but you didn’t?
Of course, we all have.
And when we don’t follow through with a commitment–to ourselves or others—we lack accountability.
Why you may struggle to be accountable:
- You’re not actually committed to the goal you set or your intention.
- You’ve experienced a recent crisis, illness, or other unexpected life event that makes it difficult, or impossible, for you to follow through.
- You’re trying to please someone, but you’re not authentically committed or motivated to follow through with what you promised.
- You lack integrity in multiple areas of our life.
- You are attempting to indirectly (and passively) get your power back by not following through on a commitment to another person, rather than let them know directly you’re not willing to do what was asked of you or what you agreed to do.
- You have an untreated addiction or mental health issue.
If you have failed to follow through multiple times with a commitment to yourself or to another person that is genuinely important to you, it’s time to either adjust the goal, drop it, or commit to an extreme accountability.
What is extreme accountability?
Extreme accountability is when you create a consequence for yourself if you don’t follow through with a commitment. The most effective forms of extreme accountability are losing something that is important to you, whether that is an experience or something tangible like money.
Best practices for creating an extreme accountability:
Admit that what you’re doing isn’t working
If you’ve told yourself for 6 weeks in a row that you’re going to walk three times a week, and you’ve only walked twice in the past 6 weeks, what you’re doing isn’t working.
Skip the part where you beat up on yourself so that you can move on to focusing on the solution: figuring out what to do next.
Ask, “What would be highly motivating for me?“
Staying with the example of walking three times a week, maybe you would be highly motivated by paying a trainer to come to your house three times a week to walk with you. Or you could pay in advance for a trainer you will meet you at a gym or a nearby park. Or you could make a plan with a friend to walk because you know your friend is highly accountable, will show up, and it is very important to you not to let that friend down.
Make it unique to your circumstances
What one person chooses as an extreme accountability may not work for you for a variety of reasons.
The consequence may not be painful enough. Sadly, most of us don’t learn or grow without some friction or pain. Or the consequence may be too rich for you. For example, if you want to create a financial accountability, the $1000 that will cause you to squeal is a complete impossibility for another person. For that person, $10 would have exactly the same impact.
The more people you tell about your extreme accountability the better, especially if you are truly sick and tired of being sick and tired.
There’s something about knowing that other people are watching you to see whether or not you’re going to follow through that can be highly motivating. Use outing yourself in this way as a form of positive peer pressure.
And speaking of going public, this year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. And because of the multiple challenges I’ve faced, I have struggled to be as engaged, productive, and creative as I usually am. This happens to all of us from time to time, and is especially true for betrayed partners who are in the early stages of discovery and disclosure.
In Episode #50 of the Beyond Bitchy Podcast (Extreme Self-Care & Boundaries) I talked about how I navigated this challenging season, and I encourage you to take a listen if you’re in need of more self-care at this particular time in your journey.
The good news is that I’m feeling better, more inspired, and more empowered. So it’s time to re-commit!
In Episode #55 of the Beyond Bitchy Podcast, I talked about extreme accountability, and I made an accountability of my own. And today I’m going public with a new one: If I don’t blog twice a month through December 4, 2019 I will follow through with the same extreme accountability I committed to on the podcast.
Listen to Episode #55 here.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2019)
Heather Limb says
I have been on this journey a long time and have benefitted from your book Moving Beyond Betrayal. I have come to understand what boundaries are and are not but still struggle to request and follow-through. I appreciate the thoughts included in this blog about letting them know where you stand, that a solution could come from a boundary and that boundary setting could potentially save his life.