Finding motivation through accountability

What can you do when your internal motivation has deserted you but you need to get stuff done? Try finding someone to hold you accountable.

Last week I helped a friend who was struggling to find the motivation to start work. We talked a little about how the lack of routine during lockdown has affected her. She realised that the drive she’d previously had was created for her through the structured nature of her working day. And having that external accountability was what she needed to motivate herself to get things done. So we came up with a plan where she would set a target for the day and I would check in at a specific time to hold her accountable.

Finding a partner to work with in this way is one example of using accountability for motivation. But accountability can take many forms. Here are some alternative approaches.

Use a contract. The contract could be with yourself or others. It’s a commitment to action. You could use it for many tasks, big or small. Even your daily to do list. You may want to include rewards for successful fulfilment of the contract and penalties for inaction.

Make a public commitment. Share your intentions or goals publicly and use your network to hold you accountable. That could be talking about what you want to achieve with friends or posting on social media. Here’s an example from this week.

Hire a coach. This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s simply important to recognise that sometimes you can’t make things happen on your own. And beyond a willing friend or colleague you may need someone with an objective view to help you. Working with a coach to provide accountability can also help you tackle any underlying barriers to action.

Have you got any other examples of using accountability to help boost your motivation? I’d love to hear them.

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