Mindful Living: Six Tips to Help You Stay Accountable
Pop quiz! Which of the following statements do you agree with?
When I set a goal, I always achieve it- no matter what.
Every year, I set new resolutions because I always complete the previous years’!
I often forget about my goals, even though I’m excited about them at first.
I sometimes feel disappointed because I’m not following through on my intentions.
If you agreed with the first two statements, you probably don’t need to read this blog post (in fact, you may be a goal-achieving guru and would love to hear any extra tips you may have in the comments!).
If you agreed with the last two statements- welcome. You’re in the right place!:)
Research shows that 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions will actually achieve them. And there’s a good reason for that;
Staying accountable is hard!
Setting goals is the usually the fun part! It’s the time when we envisage how we’ll feel when we meet our goals and we imagine all the benefits of fulfilling our intentions. There’s a level of invincibility surrounding our goals- that we’ll overcome every obstacle which has prevented us in the past and just do it (right Nike?).
However, a few steps down the road, things can start to unravel. We might forget about our goals, lose motivation, fall back into old habits, come up against barriers or obstacles, or end up feeling like a failure because we set our expectations too high in the first place!
Despite all these potential roadblocks on the way to goal achievement, we often set goals because they feel important and meaningful to us and we know they could improve our lives in some way.
So, here are some tips to help you stay accountable and increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goals!
Tip 1: Set a realistic schedule
Use a calendar or a diary to schedule your goals and actually tick them off as you take each step towards achieving them.
For example, I’m currently using the Curation 2018 Journal by Saint Belford. At the start of each week, I list a few things I want to do, then I schedule them into my week.
Some of the habits I’m working on include doing yoga 6 days per week, meditating daily and drinking 3 glasses of water (at least) each day. So, I write those goals down each day and tick them off when I do them.
You could also create your schedule using a calendar, a blank notebook, or a calendar app on your phone!
Tip 2: Create a challenge with a friend
Find an accountability buddy and create a fun challenge you can complete together! Check in with each other on the days when you want to be completing the challenge, send motivation to each other and have a little party to celebrate when you reach new milestones.
This is a great way to strengthen your friendship and have fun as you work towards your goals!
Tip 3: Make sure there’s an incentive
Incentives can work in a variety of different ways. You can find positive reinforcements and set up a rewards system, for example, you might get to go out for coffee at your favourite café on the weekend if you complete your goal of journaling every weekday.
We can also be incentivised by spending money on our goals, which is why it can actually be useful to pay for a service (such as a gym, or coaching sessions) to help motivate you to follow through on the goals you set. There’s even an app called Stickk where you put aside some money and if you don’t achieve your goal, you lose that money (you can choose to send it to a friend or charity!).
Tip 4: Use goal-setting techniques
Another reason why many goals are doomed for failure is because they weren’t set properly in the first place! There are many various factors which can improve the likelihood that a goal will be achieved: does it adhere to a time schedule? Is it measurable? Is it realistic? Is it a goal you can actually control?
I was so excited to share my knowledge about goal setting that I created an entire mini-series on my podcast, The Mindful Kind, all about goal-setting. You can discover all 6 episodes below (also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify).
Episode 81: Goals, Mindfulness and Being SMART
Episode 82: Goals You Don’t Actually Control
Episode 83: Fun and Interesting Goal-Setting Tips
Episode 84: Inspiring Goal-Setting Activities
Episode 85: Goals and Overcoming Self-Sabotage
Episode 86: Celebrating Your Goals
Tip 5: Stay on track using apps
I already mentioned the Stickk app, but there are so many more you can choose from! I’ve collected some useful articles which explain the different apps and how they work, so you can explore them and choose what resonates most with you.
Tip 6: Join a Facebook Group
A Facebook Group might post regular reminders and provide guidance to help you practice mindfulness. This would be a wonderful resource to help you stay on track with your mindfulness goals. Facebook Groups are often interactive, fun, easy to use and readily accessible!