At the start of the year, there’s a lot of buzz about positive change. We’re all ready to establish healthy habits, create exciting goals, and realize our aspirations.
Everything appears to be conceivable.
But how can you stay accountable a few weeks later, when your starry-eyed enthusiasm fades and you’re faced with the day-to-day monotony of achieving your objectives, with distractions beckoning at every turn?
According to U.S. News, 80% of us have failed to keep our resolutions by the second week of February.
It’s not about making hasty resolutions in response to holiday indulgences for me. I spent a lot of time and effort developing an annual strategy for my life and writing. When I establish goals, I’m dead serious, even if I’m naive and overly excited at the same time.
Here’s the issue: It’s simple for me to hold others accountable. Being accountable to myself — to my own aims, dreams, and aspirations — is a million times more challenging.
Fears and apprehensions are widespread. We need a combination of the correct tools, the inside scoop on willpower, and the fortitude to look deeply within at the origins of our own self-defeating tendencies if we want to achieve our goals.
Today, I’m going to talk about some of the ways I’m going to hold myself accountable this year. I’ll also ask you a few questions to assist you dig deeper into the factors that are preventing you from altering harmful behaviors or realizing your goals.
Let’s begin by examining effective time management and accountability strategies. I won’t go over every time management or accountability technique available; instead, I’ll focus on my favorites.
These time management suggestions can assist you in properly managing your time and responsibilities as well as achieving your life objectives. Whether you’re a businesswoman or a mom, they’re simple time management tactics that will help you at work and at home. I also…
- Keep track of your time and eliminate time wasters
If you don’t manage your time well, you won’t be able to achieve your goals or make room for new habits.
When we fall short of our goals, one of our most typical excuses is “I didn’t have time.” Is this, however, the case? You won’t know for sure unless you keep track of your time and activities for a set length of time.
When you keep track of your time, you’ll be able to see if your activities are in line with your values, priorities, and goals, as well as how much time you waste and how you waste it. Time tracking will also highlight where you fail to respect your limits, allowing others to take advantage of your time.
It’s easy to keep track of time. Simply make a commitment, pay attention, and keep track of your time and activities for a set amount of time, preferably seven days. If that seems too much for you, start with three days. Just make sure to keep track of enough days to get a good representation of your overall time utilization.
There are a plethora of free time tracking apps available online. Alternatively, you can use my free 7-day Time Tracking Log.
If you’ve never done it before, time tracking can be an eye-opening experience. It’s also a good idea to practice the exercise on a regular basis because undesirable habits might creep back in.
While facing the reality about how you spend your time may be uncomfortable, the knowledge you gain through time tracking will help you move forward in a constructive direction.
- Use time blocks or time boxes to keep track of your progress.
Francesco Cirillo renamed the “Pomodoro Technique” after reshaping the use of time boxes into 25-minute intervals in 1980. Lisa Jacobs, a creative entrepreneur, titled her timers “power blocks” and set them for 90 minutes. Brian P. Morgan, a productivity specialist, refers to them as “strategic blocks.”
Time boxes are a time management technique that involves scheduling a task or a group of related tasks into a set amount of time. Because you can see whether or not you’ve done the chores assigned to your boxes, time boxes also function as an accountability partner.
I’ve found that using time blocks has helped me get more done in less time.
In my analog planner, I pencil in time blocks with their specified topic at the beginning of the week. When I start a time block, I use my iPhone to set a timer.
This approach provides me with a pre-determined timeline for completing tasks. It encourages me to concentrate and assists me in avoiding distractions. It also demonstrates how much I can accomplish in a given period of time.
I, like most of us, tend to overestimate what we can do on any given day. This technique helps me stay grounded and focused on achieving my objectives.
Time boxes can also assist you in forming new habits. Let’s assume you wish to go for a 20-minute run or meditate five times a week. Make a time slot for this new habit on your calendar. Then cross it off your list as you complete it.
- Make a list of your objectives.
According to the Written Goals Study, people who write down their goals achieve much more than those who do not, according to Gail Matthews of Dominican University.
A simple framework for setting effective goals is as follows:
Goals are broad statements such as, “This year, I want to lose weight.” Begin by making a list of objectives.
Specific goals are set, such as losing 24 pounds this year. Goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) are the best. Each goal should have an aim.
The steps you’ll take to reach your objectives and goals are known as tasks. In this situation, chores can include eliminating specific foods from your diet, such as sugar or bread, boosting physical exercise, calorie counting, and so on. Make a task list for each aim.
If you haven’t already, write down your goals, give each one an aim, and establish a list of the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goal. Take as much time as you require, whether it is a few hours, a day, or several weeks.
- Keep a record of your habits
Since the introduction of the Bullet Journal and publications like James Clear’s Atomic Habits, there has been a surge in interest in habit tracking. Habit trackers are now included in many popular plans.
However, not everyone is aware of this great tool.
On one side, a habit tracker has a grid with the days of the week or month, and on the other, a list of your behaviors. You can also construct a grid for a single day to keep track of your water consumption, vitamin intake, and other such things. Some people go all out with their habit trackers, making them bright and beautiful. Others, like me, prefer a straightforward, practical look.
Here are a few free habit trackers to get you started:
There are 21 free printable habit tracker templates available.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed and giving up, start by recording just a few behaviours. I keep note of my habits on the weekly page of my planner, although some people like to keep track on a monthly basis.
What types of habits can you track with a habit tracker? Almost anything is possible! Consider the following scenario:
- Routine in the morning
- Bills to be paid
- Getting your bed ready
- Vitamins or medications
- The use of water
- Examine Your Results
If you examine your progress on a frequent basis and resolve any roadblocks to your development, you’ll be more likely to reach your objectives.
Do this on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis if you’re serious about achieving your goals.
You can create your own review questions, the ones that are most appropriate for your situation. To get you started, here are a few simple ones.
- What did I do this week (month, quarter, or year)?
- What was lost in the cracks?
- What challenged me?
- What did I gain from this experience?
- Is it true that I am satisfied with how I spent my time this week? If not, what can I do differently the following week?
Make sure your review questions are relevant to your goals, objectives, and responsibilities.
At the same time, because you felt called in a different way, you might accomplish something other than what you imagined. That isn’t necessarily a source of distraction.
Maybe you’ve had a change of heart and need to modify your objectives. Although having a structure might be advantageous, you don’t want it to stifle your creativity or quiet your heart’s desires.
Keep in mind that the system works for you, not the other way around.