The Hidden Flaws Of Accountability

Accountability can be a great strategy for some people who like externally imposed deadlnes and constraints. But life rarely works in a way that we have someone or something that forces us to act on our personal goals and daily tasks. 

It’s not that accountability as a concept is totally flawed, but rather that for some people (*cough myself*), it misses the mark. This can happen for a few reasons.

  1. Resistance to authority or externally imposed structures.

Have you ever had that experience that as soon as you HAVE to do something, you then actively fight against it? I love painting and dance. But as soon as I tell myself I have to practice, or complete a piece of work, it becomes this looming burden that I fight tooth and nail.

People who resist structure can actually set themselves up for failure – and way more pain, shame and strain by using typical accountability methods.

  1. The thing holding you accountable holds no meaning to you and thus seems arbitrary (and unmotivating)

You’ve read that “just putting it in your schedule” holds you accountable. But then who’s there to ensure you don’t just ignore your schedule? I laugh in the face of my schedule thinking it can tell me to get to work! It has no power over me.

“Ok, so just give yourself a deadline”, encourages the time management gurus. Well, what’s to stop me from blowing past that deadline? I mean….why would I put myself in charge of ensuring I get anything done? Kudos to those people who impose a deadline and stick to it. You have magical powers.

The thing with deadlines is we usually set them so that we get something done ahead of schedule and aren’t scrambling last minute (which, let’s be honest if you’re reading this you THRIVE in the 11th hour! If it ain’t broke….). These “early deadlines” become laughing stock as we look to the actual deadline and go “yeah, I got time”

The underlying issue being “I don’t feel like doing it right now”. So I will either wait until I feel like it, or wait until I absolutely must do it.

Luckily, motivation isn’t something you will never experience. You aren’t doomed to watch your to-do list expand ad infinitum. But you may need to get real with yourself about whether the conventional strategies you are trying have really taken your actual disposition and needs in mind.

Want help figuring out how to make motivation work for YOU? Check out this really handy resource on Reframing Motivation