On Accountability

Be Accountable.

It’s term number six, and it’s a doozy… A word that usually doesn’t come paired with smiles and hugs and raindrops on roses. We all need this word in our life, but we also typically dislike it. So do kids – whether they realize it or not (often this word can be misinterpreted as nagging, reminding, annoying, etc.).

So many of us are aware enough that we need more accountability in our lives that there are accountability coaches out there for hire. Not that I’ve ever been known to watch a Real Housewives show or anything (I’ve been trying to quit… will you hold me accountable?!), but word on the street is that Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of John, is a real live accountability coach, for example.

Social media, for all its faults, can be a fantastic way to employ accountability – and it’s probably a lot cheaper than hiring Teddi Mellencamp. I’ve experimented with it to some degree on my own, but admittedly, most accountability attempts I’ve made have failed (I really did intend to go vegan, but it lasted maybe a month or two).

I do, however, happen to know some folks who’ve experienced success with accountability via social media. I’d thrown the question out there on Facebook; that was the medium through which these successes came: 

  • Steve took pre-orders for some of his music-related projects; by doing so, that put the pressure on to finish.
  • When Adam was working on his doctoral dissertation, he wrote daily updates on what he had accomplished, and what was up next. It may have annoyed some people, but it kept him on track.
  • Kris quit smoking a few years back, on his birthday. He posted a weekly update for the first three months regarding how it was going. It wasn’t easy.
  • Darcy is involved with various weight loss groups – they post questions and updates, to hold each other accountable.

Social media ain’t so bad now, huh?! Scale

Private instructors of anything – exercise, diet, music – are used to holding people accountable. It’s part of our job. It’s not a pretty part of it, but if you’re a good teacher, you’re constantly following-up through accountability. It is how you get results.

It is why I designed my own assignment sheets for tracking weekly student assignments. I want to make sure assignments are as clear as possible, that there is room for questions, and both students and parents can read and sign-off on expectations. Students don’t know the importance of accountability unless it is reinforced at home AND in lessons (or at home AND in school, and so forth). It is learned over time – the more one practices, the better one will get – with both music and accountability.

I’m actually going to try a bit of online accountability again, for myself. Now that I’m on the other side of that big surgery I’d mentioned last post, it’s time for me to shed some pounds myself. I’ve been in a rut, for a couple years now, of feeling sorry for myself and not doing what I should to really take care of myself. Granted, I’ve been somewhat physically limited much of that time – but that’s only a small part of the equation. Diet is much bigger.

I’ve made a big goal for myself, to lose a significant amount of weight between the time this blog post goes out and my birthday, at the end of November. Not only do I want to do this… I need to, in order to avoid ending up in surgery again (weight can be a factor in hernias, which I’ve now had two surgeries for in recent history). I am so determined to not end up back in the hospital again.

I’ll count on some internet friends to help keep me accountable… OK? 😉

2 Comments

  1. Darcy
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    Accountability is an interesting concept. It can definitely be helpful to find support groups or friends online. But I think the most powerful accountability is to yourself. Honestly, the best motivation for me to make healthy lifestyle changes is because I just *feel* better. They fuel my work, make my body feel better, help me sleep better, increase my concentration at work, etc. I only mention this here because there were times in my past when I was focusing too much on being accountable to others, but because I wasn’t focusing on being accountable to myself, I failed. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

    • Allison Schweitzer
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      Absolutely! Perhaps I will do a follow-up post of that part of the accountability branch… good call. We shouldn’t NEED to rely on others – although it certainly does force us to step up our game, when we know people are watching! Thanks for the fantastic comment 🙂

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