Resolutions and Recommitment: How to Create Accountability in 2017

It’s January and people all over the world are waking up with a couple things on their minds. The first is that now that the hangover is subsiding, it’s time to get serious and recommitted. The second is that despite that recommitment, the New Year’s resolutions are probably going to last only a couple of weeks.

Why don’t resolutions last? Usually, the answer lies in a lack of accountability. There’s noone to coach resolution-makers along the way to stay committed to their goals. So perhaps a resolution this year would be coming up with a plan to create personal accountability in 2017.

In my last blog, I wrote about reviewing my year and how powerful it was for me. This week, I want to share with you how important planning the year ahead is and how planning it with more intention is likely to lead you to a successful year.

On December 30 my mastermind buddies and I got together to plan the year ahead. This is our sixth year together working through Darren Hardy’s workbook, Living Your Best Year Ever, and we’ve done well for the last five years.

We spend many hours together discussing our plans. Every meeting begins with gratitude. Without it very little else matters.

During this last meeting, we then went through eight areas in our lives (spirituality, family, relationships, lifestyle, finances, mental and physical health, and business) to define goals for ourselves in each area. When we were finished, we had compiled a list of 40-50 goals each.

It can be overwhelming to start the year with a list that large so our main objective was to categorize and prioritize what we are striving for in the coming year. The process is to take those 40-50 goals and narrow the list down to our top 10 and finally to the top three items, the “Banner 3.”

Planning and writing these goals can be tough because we want to be realistic but we also want to think big. For many people, there may be some reluctance to share goals with others because they worry about what people may think. This is not an issue in our group. We’re expected to think big, and we are also expected to be ready for the accountability process.

We always want to encourage each other and pat each other on the back, but if we truly desire to reach our goals and if we are really stretching outside our comfort zones, we have to be accountable, and with that, open to constructive criticism.

Once we have decided on our Banner 3 goals, out next piece of business is to build and agree to stay true to a weekly tracking register. The register is where we track weekly and monthly goals, list three important events or meetings that need to occur to work toward our goals, and list 10 activities we intend to track in the upcoming week that will assist us in reaching our goals.

For the next 52 Mondays we will conduct a 30-minute phone call to share how and what we did during the previous week. We will share our wins, losses (things we failed to accomplish), things we can fix, and any “aha” moments we may have had during the past week. We will also discuss any personal growth materials we are studying, what we’re grateful for, and what we learned in the prior week.

This sounds like a lot of work and it is. So why do it? It all depends what you want in your life? Do you want to live life going from one week to the next and accept whatever comes your way, or do you want to live a life with intention and purpose?

I believe we are all called to a purpose and once we know what that purpose is, then we can live a life with intention. From the words of Mark Twain, “The two most important days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we find out why.” 

When you know the “why,” odds are you will figure out the how. But achieving the how means holding yourself accountable while pursuing the why. If a resolution is a hard promise to keep to yourself in the new year, or if you find that your “how” has you traveling in circles, it may be best to reconsider your motivation and build a hard list of desires and goals that will help you discover what truly fulfills you. Then you can go find the method and the people who will hold you accountable, and from whom you are willing to hear constructive criticism as well as positive reinforcement. When you find these problem solvers, your resolutions won’t feel as challenging nor will they be as easy to abandon.

Happy New Year, and may your goals be reached in 2017!