Are You Following Through? Use Accountability!


Back in the 50’s, a researcher did an interesting experiment on employees in the workplace. He wanted to see if increasing and decreasing the amount of light in the office affected productivity. The results surprised him. Workers were more productive with any change of the physical environment.

What they eventually realized, was that people were getting more done simply because they were being observed, not because of any conditions at work. This accountability is now known as the The Hawthorne effect. We’re more likely to do something when we are being watched. Cue creepy music.

It can be useful though. I see this first hand in my own life. I’m less likely to eat a giant cookie when hubby is around to judge me for it. I’ll wait until he leaves. When I tell my sister I’m going to meditate three times, I generally do it. When I don’t? I can’t seem to find the time for one. Odd how that works.

Accountability makes our goals happen. We’re always excited at the start of a goal or project, but it’s days later that we crash and burn without a little help.


*Start with very specific goals and a plan to achieve them.

If my goal is to “have a healthy body” I have no idea what that actually means to me. A better example would be to “walk four times a week for 30 minutes in the evenings” or “eat a whole foods breakfast 5 days this week.” It’s specific and measurable.

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*Get an accountability partner or group!

I’ve always been a little jealous that hubby has built-in mentoring at work.

So, I do this with my sister every Sunday night at 7:00 pm. We tell how our week went, then 2-3 goals that we’re working on for the following week. We give each other a few ideas to help make things happen. Finally, we do a mid-week text to check in on progress. We don’t always get everything done, but it’s a lot harder to report to her that I was lazy or didn’t use my time wisely. It’s been a long winter. Without this, I doubt I would have made progress on any of my goals.

*Put it on the calendar!

Sign up for an event or class! Schedule a healthy meal prep session with a friend! This works because it sets a deadline and makes you allocate your time to it. Make sure that goal or habit is written in the schedule. It’s especially helpful if others are counting on us or we’ve invested a little money.

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*Announce it to friends, family, and even on social media.

Telling anyone about our goal makes it more likely to happen. I made an announcement on Facebook to participate in a few races. I can’t back out now even if I wanted to. Will I regret this in a month? It’s possible. But I’ll do it anyways because I publicly made the commitment! And after, I’ll be so glad I did. If that’s too much, simply share your calendar (with personal goals) with someone else. They may never look at it, but if we know it’s possible, we are much more likely to do what we plan!

*Sign up for an app or make it a little painful.

Studies show that we are extremely averse to loss. Use that! Apps like StickK help you use money to stay on track. If you don’t achieve your goal, you pay money to a charity, person, or anti-charity. It’s free and the success rate is pretty impressive.

I know it’s easier to keep our goals and dreams to ourselves. But we want them to happen right? Make it difficult to fail and use the power of accountability this week!

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Have a lovely and productive week!

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  1. Wish I lived iIN KC! A tribe definitely helps wiyh accountability and follow through. I have a fit tribe here in RI and we help eaxh other a ton! Have fun with all your planned activities ????

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