What method do you use to hold yourself accountable to ensure that you do the work (personal or professional) you need to do when you need to do it? Most people’s answer is they don’t have a method. They have a deadline.
The catch is, life and work become really chaotic and those deadlines are often not met. Before you know it, the deadline is passed and the work has yet to be done.
No one would dream of waiting until the day before the wedding to plan and invite the guests. Yet, we know from our own experience that millions of people wait until Christmas Eve to shop for Christmas day.
Work, the important work anyway, needs to be done a little at a time, day in day out. There is no silver bullet for weight loss. Choose your strategy and do the work, day in and day out. Raising children, a day in day out effort. Getting in better shape, day in and day out. Being more effective at your job, day in day out. Being a compassionate partner, friend, neighbor, day in day out. You don’t store up the effort and do it all in one magic day. There are no shortcuts.
As I’m writing this, we are barely 10% into the calendar year. Or if the calendar year is too long for your horizon, we are halfway through the first quarter. Either way, are you at a moment to be able to ask yourself whether you have made the progress that you need on the important things you want to get done this year.
Do the assessment and let me recommend this tactic. Mark your calendar on March 31 the things you need to get done between now and then to be on track for your year. And be really specific. These are your new milestones.
When you don’t hold yourself accountable, before you know it, day in and day out becomes the passing of an entire year. At that point, you tell yourself how time flies and you’re so busy. That, in my opinion, is how one year looks just like the last and the one before it at which point we say “where did all the time go?”
If you want more out of life, treat each day purposefully. Before you know it, those days will become meaningful and the collection of them in a week, month or quarter will very clearly indicate the progress you have made on whatever it is you want to get done. Being accountable to yourself is a huge component of ensuring you’re on your right path.