Do you have big career plans and dreams that are always put off for another day? Do you want to grow your business or achieve personal goals that always seem to be overshadowed by that next email or the needs of others? Achieve more. Be accountable.
Creating an action plan without being truly accountable to yourself or others may cause you to falter or fail. Think about those New Year’s resolutions made back in January—have you stayed the course or are they a distant memory?
Here are some tips to help you create the accountability you need to reach your goals:
Nothing succeeds like success. Help yourself succeed by setting realistic goals. Even two new networking or business contacts a month will yield 24 new contacts in a year’s time. Think about your timeframe and the tasks you need to accomplish, then create your action plan in achievable steps.
Who's your partner? Anyone can be your accountability partner--friend, career coach or advisor, trusted mentor, family member. Choose someone who will follow up with you if they don't hear from you at the scheduled time, and not let you slide. For accountability partners who are volunteering their efforts, think of an incentive that will help them help you—a nice homemade dinner, for example, or other special treat to say thank you.
What's your plan? To work best, outline for your accountability partner your planned actions and activities. Specify what you need from them. Set a report date when they can expect to hear from you. Follow through, and repeat.
You…meet You. Don’t forget to monitor your own progress along the way. Schedule appointments with yourself on your calendar to review your progress, evaluate next steps and recalibrate as needed. It can be tough not to let outside demands encroach on time you’ve scheduled for yourself, but protecting this time will help you stay the course.
Victory is sweet. Reward yourself with something as simple as a favorite sticker on a month-at-a-glance calendar on the fridge when you accomplish a task toward your goal. Even a simple visual can help remind you of how far you’ve come and all you have achieved.
Carolyn Bregman is Emory Alumni Association's Director of Alumni Career Services. A former lawyer, her past roles at Emory include assistant dean for career services and for development and alumni relations at the School of Law. She has more than 15 years of experience in alumni advising. You can reach Carolyn at email@example.com.