Ultimate Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals (Part 3: Accountability and Staying Motivated)
- What you can rely on instead of motivation to stay on track
- The difference between those who are successful and unsuccessful at accomplishing their goals
- Effective forms of accountability
Meaningful goals require a shit ton of work to accomplish. It’s normal at this point to wonder, “How am I going to stay motivated?”
“Don’t count on motivation. Count on discipline.” – Jocko Willink
Jocko is an ex-Navy SEAL / badass, and I love his insight here.
Motivation is an emotion, which means it fluctuates on a daily basis. Studies have proven there are three critical elements to sustaining motivation :
- Autonomy. Set your own goals and live the life YOU want to live. Ignore peer and/or societal pressures. Use your goals to create autonomy in your life, and you’ll stay motivated.
- Value. The first part of this series focused on finding your values. Set goals that embody your values, and you’ll stay motivated.
- Competence. Get better at everything you do. Sharpen the axe a little bit every day. Devote time to becoming better in each area you set goals, and you’ll stay motivated.
These three elements will help you stay motivated, but there’s one more piece I would add.
Peter Voogd, a past guest on the podcast, shared the “decision train” in our interview together. He believes that unsuccessful people let their feelings decide their actions. When they don’t “feel” like hitting the gym, eating healthy, writing that blog post, making that sales call, etc. they just don’t do it.
Successful people do the opposite. Actions dictate their feelings. Taking action creates their motivation.
If you’re out of shape, you won’t magically get motivated to start working out. Otherwise you’d be in great shape already! But when we start working out, eating healthy, and losing a few pounds, motivation comes.
Our results motivate us. Focus on taking action to achieve results, and motivation will be much easier.
Michigan State University conducted a study on accountability in exercise programs, which concluded that the use of an exercise partner increases both motivation and results by 2x ! We can apply these same principles to accomplishing our goals.
Find An Accountabilibuddy
I’m not sure who coined this term, but apparently it started on South Park . An accountabiluddy is someone you can talk to on a regular basis to hold each other accountable to taking action on your goals.
I’ve had multiple accountabilibuddies in the past, and they’ve always worked out great. The structure is pretty simple.
Schedule a reoccurring time in your calendars for a 30-60 minute call where you cover the following:
- Goals from last week
- Did you accomplish your goals? Share your wins.
- If not, where did you fall short?
- What are you most excited about right now?
- What are your goals for this week?
You should already have your weekly goals broken down. Just share those! Share your big goals with each other as well. Give your weekly goals context. Now you can bounce your ideas off someone else who can give you feedback, and hold you accountable to taking action.
How to find a great accountability buddy
Find someone who meets these criteria:
- Avoid people who are not at your level. Equal parts accountability is important in this call. Avoid people you feel like you’d be mentoring.
- Avoid people who you consider mentors. Find someone who’s on your level. There’s a difference between a mentor and an accountabilibuddy. There should be value for the other person as well.
- Find someone doing something similar. If you’re running a business, find a person who is also an entrepreneur. If fitness is a big initiative for you, find someone who cares about fitness. This will make your calls more productive.
- Focus on reliability and trustworthiness. Find someone who will show up to these calls every week without fail and have good shit to share!
Think of a mastermind as a collective group of individuals who can help each other accomplish their goals. These types of groups are less personable than having an accountability buddy, but you’ll receive much more diverse feedback.
Masterminds and accountability buddies do not have to be mutually exclusive. I recommend both. A mastermind group, especially one that I’ve created, offers much more accountability than an accountability partner.
It can be hard finding a single person who will call you out on something. But a group? Much easier.
What To Avoid
AVOID PAYING TO BE A PART OF A MASTERMIND. Many “success gurus” offer mastermind groups ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each month.
Every one of these types of masterminds I’ve tried has been a waste of time and money. The biggest mistake most paid masterminds make is not taking the time for each individual to get to know each other, and pairing people up with dissimilar skill levels and/or experience.
If you’re going to be a part of a mastermind, create your own.
What To Look For When Choosing People For Your Group
A specific topic or goal for your mastermind group is essential.
My goal is to run GenY Success as my full-time gig. Right now, I consult with construction contractors through my company, Contractor Rep. It pays the bills, but I’m not incredibly passionate about it. I want to make a living helping Millennials find more passion in their work. I want to write books. I want to do more speaking.
I looked for individuals with similar goals when I created my mastermind group. Our goals are similar: make a full-time income running a business we’re passionate about.
I didn’t want people who are “thinking” about starting a business – they wouldn’t provide any value to the group. Look for people who have experience, and avoid people who have only read books or listened to podcasts on the topic. Find people taking action.
Don’t reach for the stars either. Again, make sure everyone can both give and receive value from the mastermind.
How To Run A Great Mastermind
I keep the schedule pretty basic: one call each month. Make the calls as close to the beginning of the month as possible so that you can reflect on the previous month and talk about the current month as well.
Limit the number of people in your group to five (counting you) or less. This way each person gets the floor for at least 10 minutes apiece and you can keep the call under an hour.
Here’s what a sample call agenda might look like with five people:
- 10 minutes / person
- 2 minutes – quick update and one major win from last month
- 6-7 minutes – share biggest challenge and open up to the group with feedback
- 1-2 minutes – share goals for the current month
I’m not a big fan of social media. Since I’ve started using apps like Newsfeed Eradicator and deleting just about every social media app from my phone, I don’t find myself even wanting to use them very often.
Utilize Social Media
I know I just bashed on social media, but it can be a very powerful accountability tool. When you share an ambitious goal on Facebook and hundreds of your friends see it, backing down becomes more difficult.
For example, when I ran a marathon several years ago I put up a post on Facebook about it. I knew people would start asking about it, which made talking about it a regular occurrence. This really gave me no choice but to train as hard as possible and follow through with running the marathon.
Jocko Willink’s Instagram page is also great example. Jocko is the Navy SEAL / fuckin’ bad ass dude I quoted earlier in this post. He puts up a picture every morning around 4:30am when he gets up. I have a feeling he doesn’t do that just to motivate others. He creates public accountability for himself in the process as well!
You can also try Facebook groups. The Miracle Morning Community page is a great example. Hal Elrod, a past guest on the podcast, created the group page as a way for fans of his book to interact and create accountability around their Miracle Morning.
Lastly, try telling as many people as possible what your goals are. They could just be acquaintances, it doesn’t matter.
“Should I work out today? Well I’ve been telling everyone that my goal is to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months…so I probably should!” Public accountability can really help your self talk.
Find Support Groups
I don’t necessarily agree with the Weight Watcher’s diet, but if you’re into it…join their group! Support groups exist for all kinds of issues ranging from alcoholism to dieting.
Raise the Stakes
Are you a competitive person? Try raising the stakes.
Create a competition between you and a friend or coworker. A simple cash bet works, or maybe the loser has to do something you would absolutely dread doing. Keep the stakes high enough that you’ll feel the pain if you lose.
That’s all folks.
This concludes the three-part series on goals. What have your biggest challenges been so far? Any wins you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!