Creative ways of designing accountability to speed up your success

It’s a common coaching technique to help people to reach their goals by setting up accountability.

A good coach will help you create accountability processes that you can use in everyday life to give you the benefit of accountability in your life.

If you have a coach, they may give you accountability through the coaching relationship.

However, you may get it, it’s hugely beneficial to have someone to answer to, to report back to that you have done what you said you were going to do.

For so many people, the difference in having accountability over a commitment they are making or looking to make, can be the difference between it getting done or not. So, in a nutshell the difference between success or failure.

If you have goals which you would like to achieve but you just don’t seem to, if you feel unmotivated to step into action on making key changes in your life, if you feel guilty because you have been talking bout doing something for too long and have for some reason which you are quite sure about, procrastinated over it and still not started, setting up some accountability could be a one stop answer to solve the problem.

Accountability can be set up creatively, there are many non-standard ways of setting it up and using it to motivate you, speed up your achievements and to literally skyrocket you into meeting goals super quick.

Setting up self-accountability

You don’t always need someone else to hold you accountable (although its often a good idea). You can set up some great accountability structures to hold yourself accountable for goals and actions that you want to do!

How can you do this?

Firstly, are you more motivated by rewards or punishment? Or maybe both?

Here are some ideas around that theme


Create a reward that matches the bigness of the task or tasks that need doing. For example, treating yourself to a luxury holiday would maybe be something you would allow yourself for completing a really big project. A trip to your favourite café or a chocolate bar could be a reward for a smaller task.

So firstly, think of real rewards, real things that you would love to have an excuse to take the time to do, or to buy, or to enjoy. Now use this list as a rewards list for competing task that you need extra motivation for. Set a timeline.

If I do this by the end of this week, then I get to enjoy number 7 treat on my list.


The same applies for punishment. Although I suspect if the task feels onerous and needs extra motivation, I don’t think punishment as a motivator works as well. However, some small things may work, like leaving something in a mess that would irritate you, which you are only allowed to put right when you have done your task. This may motivate you to get something done!

Adding a timeline/deadline

You could give yourself a deadline and say, ‘If I don’t do it by next Tuesday, then I lose the chance to do it’


This can look like creating a list of priorities that make you completed necessary things, items that may feel less motivated to do, before completing the things you find easier. For example, ‘to bake this birthday cake, I must first do the laundry’. Or In order to attend this meeting, I must ensure I complete the actions from the last meeting first. Putting off tasks that you would enjoy more, or which come easily, to crack through something, you need to get going. This can help you have a motivation to do the tasks don’t feel like doing.

How will this motivate you and speed you up?

Using one or more of these strategies, changing up what you currently do, can really act as a motivator. It stops procrastination and gets you going.

Many of my clients find the ‘power hour’ idea helpful, it’s not really what’s thought of traditionally as ‘accountability’ but in a way it is. To use the power hour idea, simply set a timer for 60 minutes and give yourself completely to focus of a task in that time with NO distractions. The rule is that you must spend that 60 minute on that task. This can be super powerful to get momentum going and get you started or completed on something.

If you don’t really do well on your own and you really need outside pressure to be applied, then the second option to use someone else to hold you accountable.

Enrolling others to hold you accountable

Accountability buddies are so good! You can set up a reciprocal arrangement with someone where you help each other in this area. You can agree ‘check in’ times with each other, deciding up front when these will happen and what you will ask each other during them. You can give permission to each other to confront excuses and challenge when necessary.

You could simply ask a spouse, a friend, or a colleague to please ask you about your progress on something you are doing in a set period, so for example one week or 2 days.

Obviously, it goes without saying to ask the right people to do this, people that will remember and follow through to help you. Best is to ask people who you admire and whom you value, as you will want to show these people that you are following through on what you said. (This is the same principle of always hiring a personal trainer that is a member of the opposite sex that you find attractive, as you know you will try harder as you are more likely to want to impress.)

Of course, ultimately you can ask God to hold you accountable! Yikes that’s a scary prayer but if you are brave, you can do this. He will find a way of working with you.

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