Now seems as good as time if any to talk about accountability. With the New Year comes resolutions and promises made that have a high rate of failure unless steps are taken to ensure a degree of success.

In the last year I found myself sharing over and over a simple tool that that has helped me accomplish more than I thought I could in all areas of life. A simple accountability sheet that I adopted about 14 years ago while I was a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty. I was fortunate to attend seminars and speak with best selling author of One Thing, Gary Keller(he’s the Keller in Keller Williams) a few times and he always emphasized the power of goal setting. Gary taught us a lot about how to goal set and how having an accountability partner can motivate a person to work harder for their goals and he was right!

This simple tool has helped through career changes, business challenges, business school and even my personal life. In retrospect the weekly updates can be compared to the weekly sprints that are an integral part of the agile methodology. Having a reliable partner that is willing to keep you accountable is also a key to this being effective. The job of the accountability partner is not to judge but to facilitate the development of the other person. If an item is moving from week to week without getting done then probing questions are encouraged in order help re-prioritize if needed.

I recently heard motivational expert Ed Deci say that we should there is a fine line between reaching to far from our level of competence where we are intimidated and we don’t take any action and being to close to our current level where we are bored. His advice is that the challenge should be about 4% than our current baseline in order for us to feel comfortable yet motivated to accomplish it. So this year I’m going to be aiming for ~4% improvement every month and will break down my weeks accordingly.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.

Accountability worksheet