The dictionary defines accountability as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. Holding ourselves accountable is something that many of us probably feel that we do, but that we may actually fall short on. It means admitting your own faults, missteps, and lapses in judgment, but it also means owning those things. After all, we cannot learn from our mistakes if we don’t admit to them. But how do we hold ourselves accountable? And how can it change our lives? 

Improves our relationships 

Often in relationships, be those friendships, professional relationships, or romantic relationships, we find ourselves acting in ways that we are ashamed of. This may be out of jealousy, laziness, or just an action done without thinking. Perhaps you forgot to email your boss with the team’s availability, or you forgot to get your friend a birthday present so re-gifted them something. These are often actions that we try to talk our way out of, whether that’s to save ourselves from embarrassment or to avoid an awkward conversation. 

But if you begin to hold yourself accountable and aim to own your mistakes, you will get the chance to steer the conversation rather than shy away from it.  Admitting your fault is the first step to learning from your mistake, and it also helps others to trust you; in fact, psychologists have discussed how admitting fault can demonstrate to others that we are empathetic and objective. If you show yourself to be honest and open, your relationships will be much stronger as you won’t suffer from the impact of your own ego. Then, it is more likely that the people in your life will begin to be honest and open with you in return. 

When you begin to hold yourself accountable, you will begin to see genuine connections rather than people skating around awkward conversations, and you and your friends will be happy to call one another out when needed. Not only will this improve your friendships, but it will help you to realize which parts of yourself you may need to work on! 

Increases our confidence

Once you begin to hold yourself accountable for your mistakes, you give yourself room to improve. This not only allows you to work on yourself, but it shows you exactly how far you’ve come. Suddenly you’ll be made aware of the progress you have made, be it at work, in your hobbies, or even in your relationships. 

This awareness will give you something to be proud of yourself for. And as you grow as a person, these opportunities will continue to arise and before you know it, you’re proud of who you are as a whole. This feeling of pride will translate to confidence, and self-confidence or self-esteem can really benefit every avenue of your life

It is often said that confidence is sexy, but it also appeals to employers, friends and will even help you to like yourself that little bit more. 

Reduces conflict 

One of the biggest ways that accountability can improve your life is by reducing the conflicts you encounter. If you find yourself in an argument or a heated debate, or possibly even a more passive aggressive conflict, it is likely that your actions or words have contributed to the creation of the conflict. By owning up to your mistakes and holding yourself accountable, you provide a chance for others involved to do the same, and you can successfully de-escalate the situation. 

The more that you hold yourself accountable, the less conflict will present itself in your life, as a large number of interpersonal conflicts are caused by people refusing to hold themselves or their loved ones accountable. If you have an issue within a dynamic or you cause an issue, whether directly or indirectly, holding yourself accountable instantly demonstrates to those involved that you are invested in solving the conflict rather than continuing it, which can also show people (friends, partners, employers) that you’re a level-headed, emotionally mature person. 

Improves motivation 

Generally speaking, people work better when they are being watched. A famous sociological study, The Hawthorne Effect, confirmed this. So it is no wonder why individuals who hold themselves accountable also seem to have much more motivation! Once you begin to hold yourself accountable, you suddenly realize that your integrity is on the line. If you cannot even keep your word to yourself (when setting goals, etc.) then why promise anyone anything? 

Reduces self-pity 

Do you often find yourself feeling sorry for yourself? Feel like the world’s against you and everyone’s set out to get you? Holding yourself accountable can help to prevent this. As soon as you realize that, sometimes, you set yourself up for bad things, those bad things don’t feel as personal. If you only wore a light jacket to work and woke up too late to check the weather, it’s not the weather’s fault that you got soaked on the way home from work. 

Reducing self-pity then helps to keep your mood up, which further helps your motivation, productivity, relationships, and general life. You’ll feel sorry for yourself less, and be able to enjoy yourself more. 

Where to start… 

If this all sounds wonderful and life-changing to you, but you’re unsure where to begin, it’s relatively simple. Follow these simple steps to start holding yourself accountable: 

  1. Ask for feedback 

Asking those around you whether they think there are things you need to work on is a great step in holding yourself accountable. You can then watch out for those traits and nip them in the bud. 

  1. Think introspectively 

Rather than blaming others, look in and see where you’ve contributed to a situation. 

  1. Evaluate situations 

Go over conflicts and conversations in your head and realistically pick out where you could have said things better, or not said something hurtful. 

With that said, hope you’ve seen how holding yourself accountable can change your life for the better and massively impact others around you, and ultimately, the world.

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