The accountability exercise

by Peter Crocker

Forget “New Year’s resolutions”. What about “This Year’s resolutions”? I’d like to suggest a short and simple exercise which will use the proven power of accountability to help you achieve something extremely important this year.

I also posed this same challenge in an earlier article called Tell someone who cares. The concept is that for many people, including me, nothing happens quickly unless there is a specific deadline to meet.

For example, if I say to a client, “I’ll get started next week” the project is guaranteed to drag, whereas if I say “I’ll finish your project by 10am Tuesday” then that’s when it will be done.

The simple fact of telling someone that you will have a task done by a certain time changes everything. The difference is accountability. The fact that I will let someone else down unless I act is a very powerful motivator and sure-fire cure for procrastination.

Once you’ve made the commitment, it’s as good as done. Therefore your challenge is to think of one important project in your business or personal life that would make a big difference to you if it was completed before the end of this year.

Then make the commitment to do it by a certain time via an online comment. For example, start with the words “By 10am on the 11th of December I will have…”

To get things going, I’ve listed my own task, something I’ve let slip for years. In my next article on 11 December 2007, I’ll be back with a pointy stick and smiley stickers to see how we all went.

Last time, some 50 readers took the challenge and made commitments to update 8 websites, reorganise 3 offices, create 4 business plans, finish several sets of accounts, complete 4 paintings, launch 1 blog, organise 1 sub-division, implement 1 marketing plan, make 1 baby book, have 1 week off, make a 5-year plan and much more.

I’m sure we can beat that. Got something that needs doing? Tell someone who cares.

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