Skip to main content

On Creating Public Accountability

There's no doubt that goals are important.  They give us focus and purpose as we move through life, and give us something to strive for.

But just as important is having a reason to complete those goals.  Without a big enough "why," our goals are useless to us.  There's no reason to get them done if we don't have a really good and powerful reason to want them to get done.  And the reason can be "good" or "bad."

One of the reasons I want to develop some residual income, for example, is so that I can help get my family some freedom to do things like travel.  Both my parents and my wife's live in the western US, now (Arizona and Washington) and we'd love to be able to get out and visit them.  I love to travel anyway, as does my wife, so this is a big goal for me.  A big "why."

Another goal I have is to get into outstanding shape.  And there's not any other reason for that than I want to look good and feel healthy.  Honestly, that's a harder "why" to get attached to - especially when there's ice cream involved (one of my weaknesses) or I want to get some extra sleep after being awakened by one of our kids in the middle of the night (which happens probably twice a week at least).

So it's at times like this that I like to give myself another big "why" and create some accountability for myself.  And the way I'm doing that is by using social media and all of my friends.

I'm currently using two iPod Touch apps for my workouts:  One Hundred Pushups and Two Hundred Squats.  They present two workout regimens designed to help you attain the ability to do 100 consecutive pushups and 200 consecutive squats (they're not just clever names, folks).  And the apps give you the regimens for each workout, rest timers, logs, the whole nine yards.

And the other thing they give you is the ability to automatically post your workout results to Twitter and Facebook.  So all my friends know exactly what I've taken on with this.  In other words... I'm opening myself up to peer pressure.

And this is a good thing.  It's forced me to take some accountability for my fitness by letting everyone know my goal and how I'm doing with it.  Public accountability is a fun and effective way to complete a goal.

Now, not every goal is well served by public accountability.  There are some goals that are more personal, and should be kept under wraps.  Steve Martin had a character in a movie that refused to talk about his goals to other people, with the standpoint of "I don't like talking about my goals... it sort of takes the place of achieving them."  If people congratulate you just for taking a goal on, then you may feel too much satisfaction just from that.

And with this standpoint, you have to know what kind of person you are.  Do you thrive from peer-pressure related goals?  Or do they make you expend energy that might otherwise be better used actually achieving the goal at hand?

Only you can know the answer to these questions.  And in such a case, be honest with yourself.  If you aren't getting results from a goal by keeping it to yourself, maybe a little publicity isn't the worst idea.

But don't be afraid to let people know what you're working on, goal-wise.  Good friends will encourage and perhaps even give you a bit of an ass-kicking when you need it.  And the "pressure" you put on yourself to look good in these cases can be just the impetus you need to put in that effort to get your goals done.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Caffeine and Cortisol - a 30-Day Experiment

No Caffeine for Me! Today, I began upon a 30-day experiment to reduce my cortisol levels by removing coffee from my diet. The goal is to see how it might be affecting my cognitive function and my belly fat. Cortisol is a hormone that is related to stress .  At a very basic level, cortisol is created as a response to stressors in our environment.  Back when we were still chucking spears at deer and chasing down antelope, cortisol was helping to preserve our lives by giving us quick energy by signalling to our livers that it was time to engage in a process known as gluconeogenesis. This process is basically the breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, into glucose - one of the two monosaccharides (the healthy one) that our bodies use for fuel. Picture this - you're walking across the street, enjoying the day, when suddenly some inattentive driver tries to turn and doesn't see you.  Your heart rate speeds up, and you get a little burst of speed to quickly sprint o

More on Journaling: So many tools...

Journaling was long a habit that I wanted to pick up but just never did.  And it was never because I didn't believe in its worth, it was that I just never built the habit or found the proper method that worked best for me.  I'd start it for a while, be enthusiastic about it, and then lose the habit when something else came up and interrupted me.   That's all changed for me now, as I look forward each morning and night to journaling in my newest tool I've found.  But that search has clued me in to a ton of great journaling tools that might help you as you're looking for that great push to get you into the journaling habit!   The Five-Minute-Journal:    This is obviously   the one I've adopted .  It's simple, it's quick, and it does the trick.  I won't expand into stuff I've already talked about with this in the two posts I've done on this fantastic tool.  But let's talk about some of the other aspects of the Five-Minute Journal.

Capture Those Crazy Ideas with Connected Mind

Are you one of those people whose brainstorming abilities are barely under control?  When you have an idea, do the details come pouring forth in a tidal wave, and get lost as they crash to the shore and pour back into the sea? That is me in a nutshell.  I'm full of ideas, but when they come it's hard for me to get them under control and organize anything.  I've tried notepads, using my good friend Evernote , and a whole host of other stuff to get those crazy ideas under control and in some semblance of readability.  But that's tough sometimes when you have eighty things going on at once.  Enter my new favorite tool, the mind map .  I don't know if you've ever come across this concept, but basically it's something like this:   The basic idea is that the shape at the middle is the "main topic" at hand.  The branches out from the main topic are the subtopics, and then the smaller branches are the details, etc. It's a simple enough conc