Self-Mastery – The Art of Holding Yourself Accountable by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

The ability to hold yourself accountable to your commitments each and every time is difficult to do, but will help you to increase your effectiveness and productivity by leaps and bounds.

Self-mastery requires essentially holding yourself to a “no excuses” level of accountability – even on commitments you’ve made only to yourself. This level of self-discipline will help you in several ways.

  1. You’ll be more productive. If you never wimp out on what you’ve decided to do, you will accomplish more in your business and personal life.
  1. You will make commitments more thoughtfully. Once you have internalized being so accountable, you’ll find that you don’t rush to make commitments. This helps you to prioritize your life more appropriately.
  1. You will improve your reputation with peers, employees and personal contacts. A person who always keeps his or her commitments is viewed as particularly credible.

How Do I Increase My Self Mastery?

Of course, all of this is more easily said than done. Particularly when you’ve only promised yourself you’ll complete a task, it is easy to find many excuses to put the task off or forego it altogether. There are some simple ways, however, to help increase your chances of sticking to the commitments you make.

  1. Believe in what you are doing. It’s much harder to flake on a commitment when you truly believe in the overall goal you are trying to reach. For example, before committing to volunteering your time to a charitable organization, be certain that you are really passionate about the cause. When you have that passion, it’s much easier to live out the commitment than when you are “ho-hum” about the cause. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything.
  1. Plan and Schedule. Double booking yourself or failing to consider your other commitments can make it very difficult for you to do everything you’ve promised. Schedule your time for every commitment you make – even those you make to yourself. For example, if you’ve committed to working out more regularly, make an appointment on your calendar to go to the gym. This won’t automatically make you more excited about working out, but it will eliminate the excuse that you don’t have the time. Schedule time with family and down time for yourself, too.
  1. Share your commitments with others. Use your family and friends to help you stay accountable. Share your goals with them and ask them to check in with you about how you’re doing. Keeping your commitments to yourself a secret only makes it easier for you to let these fall by the wayside. Having an accountability buddy can also be a great support system.

Personal accountability is a challenge for many people. Things like scheduling too many things, being tired or needing down time can all get in the way of keeping up with your commitments. But, when you plan appropriately and examine the commitments you’re making, it’s much easier to do what you say you