Y’all, I just saw the funniest little “meme” on Facebook today. You know, those little cartoons that say things in a straightforward way that we usually have to skirt around in polite conversation. Well, this one said something along the lines of “My New Year’s resolution was to lose 10 pounds. Only 15 to go!” I laughed at that one because it is so, so true! We set out with the best of intentions, but as the days and weeks and months progress, we end up in a hole deeper than the one we started in. Why is that? Why is it so darn hard to keep ourselves accountable to our own plans?
I was chatting with a client the other day about just this situation. I asked her a question – If you had to take a friend to the doctor and you scheduled a day and time for the trip, would you cancel at the last minute because you got busy? Time just got away from you? NO! You are a good friend and if you said you would be there, you would be there with bells on and take your sweet friend to the doctor. Her health and wellbeing are more important than “busy”! Then why, oh why, is it so hard to be that “good friend” to ourselves? Why is it so easy to say “Oh, I just got busy” or “time got away from me”?
The things we want to accomplish in our lives – losing weight, getting more exercise, getting a new job, spending more quality time with family or friends, spending more time in the Word – these are all activities that affect our own wellbeing, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Yet we make excuses about why we don’t get it done. And you know why? Well, first, it’s easier to NOT do something than it is to actually try something. You also can’t fail if you don’t try, and fear is a big DEmotivator. But the biggest reason we don’t do the hard things we really want to do is because we don’t have anyone really holding us accountable.
In the scenario where you take your friend to the doctor, your friend is holding you accountable to pick her up and get her where she needs to go. There will be an upset friend if you don’t do what you said you would do. As Ricky Ricardo used to say, “Lucy, you have some ‘splaining to do!”
But do you have someone who holds YOU accountable for your own plans and goals? Some of us may answer YES to that question. A friend, a spouse or a coworker might be your accountability partner. How’s that working for you? Are they holding you accountable? Asking the hard questions when you don’t progress? Is there tough love happening that keeps you on track and motivates you to keep going? If the answer is still YES, you are in the minority.
Most of us have accountability partners who love us too much to keep us on track. They don’t want to be tough on us when we get lazy or make excuses. They don’t help us evaluate our circumstances and make a course correction to get back on track. Most of the time, they help us make up the excuses. “Girl, you have been so busy! I don’t know how you do what you ALREADY have on your plate!” or “Man, you have been working so hard! I know I could never get to the gym/work on my resume’/coach my kid’s game with your schedule”.
An accountability partner cannot be an excuse maker or an excuse taker. Period. End of sentence.
If you are going to do hard things, you have to work hard and have someone hold your feet to the fire when the going gets tough. They have to fan the flames of your desire for change and help you break down the gigantic, insurmountable goals into smaller goals that move your forward instead of keep you paralyzed.
So, here we are. Facing down the calendar…the one about to end and the new one about to begin. Where will you be at the end of this year? Did you reach your goals, stick to your resolutions? If not, what is in store for the New Year? At the end of 2016, will you have enlisted the help of a true accountability partner that will keep you in check and moving toward progress? My prayer for each of you is that 2016 brings you great blessings and great success toward achieving your big goals.
And, as your friendly neighborhood accountability partner and life coach, I am here if you need me! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!