2 Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable to Your Growth Goals, According to a NYT Best-Selling Author

woman working from home

Adobe Stock / Fairygodboss Staff

Profile Picture
Diana Kander10
Growth starts with Curiosity

Success and failure go hand in hand. You already know that. But did you realize that the more you achieve, the more likely you are to fear making a mistake? Suddenly, you’re at the top of the mountain, right where you’ve always dreamed of being. But guess what? You are now drawn to taking fewer risks and picking the safe option for fear of falling. Ironically, it’s this behavior that stagnates your growth.

Challenging as it may be, you have to keep pushing yourself once you’ve succeeded in order to avoid that downturn of progress. This is especially difficult because the more successful you become, the more limited your external sources of accountability become. Yes, you may have responsibilities for others when leading a company or managing a department. But you don’t necessarily have someone looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing your best work or hitting your incremental goals. 

Without a measure of accountability, you can succumb to inaction and mediocrity for fear that you might get something wrong.

On my podcast The Growth League, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the world’s most remarkable women leaders. I’ve learned that you can’t grow without making some mistakes and using them as learning opportunities. And you can’t remain successful when you stop fighting to create opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

You need to carve out dedicated time and resources to help you meet your goals. And you probably need some extrinsic motivation to help you get to the next plateau — I know I always do. To that end, here are a few methods I’ve tried for integrating some accountability into my routine so that I never peak in my growth.

1. Find a supportive person or group.

Like you, I have an ever-growing pile of books I want to read sooner rather than later. It would be easy for me to just tell myself, “I’ll start a chapter tomorrow.” I don’t, though, because it’s just as easy to keep deferring until “tomorrow” becomes “next year.” Instead, I post online about the book and see who wants to “book club” it with me. All I need is one other person to commit to the goal, and we’ll be off and running. It’s a great way to crowdsource accountability.

I am always looking for the opportunity to compare notes with and provide support to like-minded people, which inspired me to create The Growth League Facebook group. This is my way of finding a supportive community that helps me make deliberate actions towards my goals.  

2. Launch some growth projects within a community.

What is a growth project you’ve been putting off for too long? Is it learning a new skill? Moving to a different region of the country? Finally writing the bestseller that’s been pinballing in your head for years? Don’t feel dismayed that you haven’t done it. Starting and finishing growth projects in a vacuum is challenging — but it’s a lot easier to keep moving when you exit that vacuum and enter into a community with others.

Allow me to tell you about a micro-growth project that might sound little but was enormously meaningful to me. I wanted to do my first pull-up. (Yep, the exercise you dreaded in gym class because someone else could knock out 20 reps while you struggled to lift your toes off the ground.) To summon the fortitude I needed, I started a group on Instagram. A couple of dozen women joined it. And guess what? We forged genuine friendships and potential business partnerships out of taking part in one another’s important achievements. Best of all, we didn’t have to worry about accountability because we had an “in this together” mindset.

Self-accountability is tough, and it only grows more challenging as your goals get loftier and the stakes get higher. So enlist some friendly forces to nudge you to grab the brass ring (or pull-up bar, as the case may be). Start applying the above-mentioned strategies today, or just share this blog post with someone you think might be a good accountability buddy. Never underestimate the power and incentive that comes from an accountability checkpoint.

--

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Diana Kander is a New York Times best-selling author, keynote speaker, and host of The Growth League podcast, which catalogs rules for growth from remarkable women. Connect with Diana on Instagram or LinkedIn.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for holding yourself accountable to your goals? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!