Personal Accountability—A Requirement for Life Advancement

Accountability is normally viewed as being responsible—giving an explanation of your actions—to somebody for something.  However, today’s lesson is not about someone holding you accountable. It’s about you holding yourself accountable.

When you take 100 percent responsibility for holding yourself accountable, your performance will improve, your relationships will flourish, your market value will soar, people’s respect for you will skyrocket, you will be a great example for others to follow, and your self-esteem will grow.

How is it that in all these areas of your life you can see such dramatic improvement?  Because when you hold yourself accountable to doing the things you know you should do, you will distinguish yourself from the crowd.

I am convinced if you want to advance your life personally or professionally, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and goals.  Think about it. Why should it be someone else’s job to make sure you are doing the things that you know you should to be doing?

The mindset I adopted more than 25 years ago is this: it is up to me and no one else to make sure I am doing what I know I should be doing. When someone has to hold me accountable, because I failed to do what I should have done, I have a serious conversation with myself. My belief is that no one should have to hold me accountable for my actions, responsibilities and goals. While I appreciate others helping me get better, I am the one that must hold myself to a high standard.

Three Types of Accountability

There are three areas in which you must hold yourself accountable:

1.    Your actions and choices—This would include such things as:

  • The way in which you communicate with others
  • How you spend your time
  • Your behavior and manners
  • The consideration and respect you show others
  • Your eating habits and exercising routine
  • Your attitude and thoughts
  • The way you respond to challenges

2.    Your responsibilities—This would include these types of things:

  • Returning calls, emails, and texts in a timely manner
  • Being on time for business and personal appointments
  • Keeping your home, car, and workplace clean
  • Spending less than you earn
  • Doing the things you agreed to do when you agreed to do them
  • Executing your job description to the best of your ability
  • Writing things down on a “To Do” list so you don’t forget

3.    Your goals—This would include your:

  • Fitness and health targets
  • Financial goals
  • Family objectives
  • Career ambitions
  • Personal goals
  • Marital enhancement
  • Any other goals you have set for yourself

Make no mistake about it. You cannot achieve any worthwhile personal or professional goal, if you don’t hold yourself accountable. The reason is simple. It’s your life!  If you have to be held accountable at work, don’t expect to be promoted or to experience any type of significant career advancement. If you have to be held accountable at home by your parents, roommate or spouse, it will grow old fast and your relationships will deteriorate.

Holding yourself accountable is nothing more than following through with YOUR commitments and responsibilities.  It’s doing what YOU know YOU should do, when YOU should it.

Whether you are 15 years old or 60 years old, let today be the day that you make the commitment to yourself that you will NEVER again require anyone else to hold you accountable.  Let me also encourage you to start keeping a prioritized “To Do” list and focus on holding yourself accountable to working through your tasks in a prioritized sequence.

This is your life!  Take control. Be responsible for it.

Like many of my posts, there will be exceptions. If you are struggling with personal accountability and need the help of others, then I encourage you to seek it.

What’s helped you become a more accountable person?  Please share your tips, thoughts and ideas below this post.

If you will hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and goals, you can achieve anything that is important to you.

About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)

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  • masego

    accountabiliy is something that is important in life, if you are not accountable for your own actions, who will

  • HI Masego,

    You are exactly right.  Most people are used to having someone else hold them accountable.  Those who are successful are the people who can hold themselves accountable.


  • Myrelle

    Wow, Todd! This hits the spot for me!

    I know I'm a responsible person and have been accountable on many things in my life, but when it comes to health and eating habits, I've let that slip away. I always felt that I don't have to be accountable to anybody in that arena. But after reading your post, it shows that I AM accountable to myself in that area. I need to start taking control of that area of my life.

    This post has been encouraging. Thank you!

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