A super important part of progress is the idea of being able to hold yourself accountable. You are responsible for your own actions, and it takes a great deal of strength to be able to understand why you succeed or fail.
I’ve been working on my overall health and how that impacts me. I’m trying to measure and track a number of things that assist me with this big goal. For the first three months of the year, I was doing it on day by day basis. However, while that worked some days, it was harder on days it didn’t work. I fell behind with what I was doing, and that would make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It would also be harder to get back on track with everything I wanted to track and do. After some introspection and talking to people that I trust, I decided to change a daily tracker to a weekly one instead.
I want to explain how my tracker works. When I was using the daily version (and I would remember to do it), it would only take me five or less minutes each day. I would start out by writing the date in a colored pen. Then, I would put a tally mark under each goal area I was tracking. At the end, I would put the date again on a different page with the total number of tally marks. The goal was to see how well I was doing in some areas, and what I needed to improve. However, as I realized later, I didn’t create a space to specifically look at my struggles.
My new weekly tracker pretty much incorporates all the same things. However, I do it once a week for about twenty minutes. It’s more time at once, but less time overall. Some of the areas I was tracking were doing really well, so I stopped those areas. At the end of tracking the health aspects I want to track, I created a reflection area for myself. I wrote questions/ideas of everything I wanted to write. I have: “How did I do on my goal for the week? What else went well? What went poorly? Where do I see myself struggle? What do I need to focus on for next week?”
I’ve only done this for a short time, but it already feels so much better for me to work like this. Even though this takes longer at once, I feel less stressed about it. I think it also allows me to see everything through a much clearer lens. I can really see on a week by week basis just how I’m doing. For example, I was tracking my food these past two weeks. I had gotten out of the habit of tracking my meals on a consistent basis. I wanted to be able to get back into that small goal for myself (I know a calorie deficit is one of the best ways to lose weight). So I focused for two weeks, and found myself consistent. I call that a success. For this week, I can shift my goal and focus on another aspect. And even in just this short time, I can really see the path for me, as well as the goals I can work on.
Being accountable is so important. While it’s important to be accountable to others, I think it’s just as equally (if not more) important to be accountable to yourself. I use the example of my tracker to keep myself accountable. I’m honest with myself, and I see exactly where I struggle. The section of time I dedicate each week gets me in the right mindset to really be honest with myself. While I struggle with wanting to be perfect, I can see the progress I am making all in the same place. In real life, I can feel like I’m not doing enough or nothing is working. But by looking at the tracker each week, I see what is happening, even if I don’t feel the change.
There is a lot that is within your control. You can control what you do, what goals you set, and what steps you take to achieve those goals (among other things). A good majority of the responsibility of your goals falls on you. And part of that responsibility is also to notice if you mess up. Setbacks happen in achieving goals. Rarely is progress linear. It’s okay not to be perfect. But that’s part of accountability. Recognize the bad days and the setbacks, and then you can begin to work.
I don’t have everything figured out. I’m still working on me. I’m still trying to improve who I am. But I’m on this journey, and I learn so much along the way that I want to share with others. So that’s what I try to do. I am responsible for my decisions and I hold myself accountable.