Perhaps this sounds familiar: you think about doing marketing, put it on your calendar, call an accountability buddy, tell yourself you got this, and … an hour later you’re watching YouTube videos of fluffy kittens and eating chocolate.
What happened? You did what the experts say to do to keep yourself accountable:
Get a buddy – check
Put it on the calendar – check
Give yourself a pep talk – check
Staying accountable seems like it should be easy enough, right? Maybe for someone else! If you’ve struggled to hold yourself accountable to what you said you were going to do — and you really do want to do it — there may be several things conspiring against you.
Here are some common scenarios:
Comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides
Your inner critic is really good at pointing out how much better at marketing Suzie is than you. Seemingly, she’s better at getting things done, and doing what she said she was going to do, too; anyone can see that from just looking at her!
The fact is, she may not be as good at getting things done as she appears to be from the outside. You don’t know Suzie’s inner critic, and the machinations she might have had to go through to get herself to do her marketing. The next time your inner critic starts comparing you to Suzie, thank it for sharing, take a deep breath, and remember that she’s got her own self-talk just like you do, no matter how it looks from the outside.
Not playing to your personal style
You’ve filled your calendar with coffee dates, dusted off your client contact database, and washed your most impressive suit. Problem is, you don’t like coffee, don’t feel organized enough to use your organizer, and chafe at the thought of wearing a suit. It’s as though you’ve set things up for someone else. Oh, dear.
Staying accountable to yourself has a lot to do with your personal style and how you’re wired. Some people are motivated by fun, some by achievement. Not that they have to be mutually exclusive, yet people tend to fall into one camp or another. Take a minute to realize what motivates you. If fun’s your thing, make a game out of it. If achievement’s your thing, give yourself a gold star when you finish. Playing to your preference will make getting done what you said you were going to do a whole lot easier.
Trying to force an outcome
There you are, doing your best to write an article, or pick up the phone, or attend a networking event, yet you’re just not feeling it. No amount of pep talk is making a dent in how you feel; in fact, it’s making what you’re trying to do worse.
Now may be the time to admit that you’re human, and you have days when you’re on it and days when you’re not. If it’s not happening today, it may be time to call it and move on to something else. You’ll need to return to your marketing at some point, yet trying to force it to happen right now only makes it worse. Today might be the right day to watch those kitten videos, you know?
Staying accountable gets easier when you tell the truth about what’s going on and honor it. The next time you’re feeling down about not staying accountable to yourself, review these suggestions, pick your favorite one, and you’ll be back on track in no time.