Personal Finance

Make yourself accountable!

“Every excuse I ever heard made perfect sense to the person who made it.” – Dr. Daniel T. Drubin

When it comes to reaching for our financial goals one of the challenges we face is due to the fact that they tend to be long term; when the pleasure of the pay-off is many years down the road it can be easy to lose focus or become discouraged by the fact that there’s still so far to go. We tend to focus on what we still have left to achieve rather than pausing to appreciate the view and taking a moment to celebrate how far up the mountain we’ve climbed. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. financial goals and laying a strong foundation for those goals by having a clear vision of what it is you’re aiming for and a clear understanding of what your motivation is for achieving it. However, having a vision and a strong motivator are only the first two pieces of the success puzzle; you need accountability and celebration too.

The power of accountability

One trait that successful people seem to have in common is that they hold themselves accountable for achieving their goals. They commit to the plan that will take them from where they are to where they want to go, they put support systems in place and then they keep themselves accountable for every step of the journey. Too often when we start on a new venture we dive in, full of the enthusiasm and excitement of embarking on something new and that wave of excitement carries us through the first few days/weeks/months. However, eventually, we reach the point where enthusiasm starts to wane, our commitment to the goal lessens and too often we let ourselves off the hook with an assortment of excuses;

  • “I set the bar too high”,
  • “it’s not the right time”,
  • “life is just too busy/complicated/stressful right now”.
  • “I’ll wait a while and start again when the time is right”.

This is where the accountability piece comes in; if you know that you have a tendency to get discouraged then put something in place that will help you stay on track.

Find someone to help support you

It’s often much more fun to work towards a goal alongside someone else than to strive for it by yourself. Having someone who knows how far you’ve come, appreciates what you’ve achieved and who will remind you with great enthusiasm how fantastic you are can be an incredible motivator and a great strategy to keep yourself on track. Accountability goes both ways though if you have someone holding you accountable for your goals you need to do the same for them. As I’ve mentioned before I have some really big financial goals to hit by the end of 2013 in order to hit the even bigger goals I set for myself to achieve by the time I turn 40 in December 2014. I currently have more support systems in place than I’ve ever had before simply because I’m not willing to risk getting off track and letting myself off the hook. Being self-employed and living by myself means that it’s entirely possible for me to be totally unproductive for several days before anybody notices; two goal-setting groups and a mastermind partnership mean that I have to do what I say I will do on a daily and monthly basis or there will be several people kicking me back into line!

We live in a very forgiving society; a society where you can fall down, pick yourself up and then fall down again. It’s supportive but it can also be destructive to our goals when it’s so easy to be excused from achieving our dreams. Why not take time this week to review your goals, identify your motivators and then put systems in place that will keep you accountable for achieving them?

You deserve to be financially secure and to retire with the wealth that will allow you to live the retirement lifestyle of your dreams. Find an individual, a group or some other system that will believe in your goal and support you in your journey to accomplish it. Several years from now, when you’ve achieved your goal, you’ll be glad you did.

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