Accountability The Key to Positive Change
August 02, 2017
By Greg Skibinski, LCPC, CMAT, CSAT, Agape Counseling Ltd
Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life? Maybe your pants feel a little tighter, you have zero motivation to get things done, or how about that career change you keep talking about? Maybe the change is something as simple as waking up a little earlier to get that morning walk in.
This is from an email I received one morning from a client:
“Good morning Greg.
So, I know I will be asked this the next time I see you, but
that's a week away so I'm letting you know now.
- I went for a mile walk today
- I messaged my boss today and explained...
- I started my Gratitude Journal and…
- I’ve been trying to write down my negative thoughts and reframing them as well.
Yes, it feels better to have done what I said I was wanting to do, and I can quit thinking about it now. Thanks for the push. I knew I would not do it on my own and would continue to feel the way I have if I didn't get it done.”
And here was my reply:
“Having some accountability and following through does make you feel better! Great job on getting all that done and doing it for yourself. I’m sure it does feel better than feeling so stuck in the yuck!
The client replied,
“I agree on that 100 percent. That's why I still see you. I don't have anyone to hold me accountable to get things done/pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I know I need that.
So, I thank you for that!"
From time to time, we find ourselves getting stuck in certain ruts in our life and we are not accomplishing the things we want to accomplish. We may want to do things differently, but find ourselves bogged down in those old familiar patterns and doing those things that we have sworn not to do. Meanwhile, time keeps ticking by. We may feel alone, full of shame, and stuck in a guilt trip that just won’t quit. After a few failed attempts to break out of these patterns, we quit and give up. We lapse out of our promise to practice better health behaviors, we allow office space or rooms within our house to become re-cluttered, and the everyday activities of life keep us so busy that we simply can’t focus on a larger goal.
Change is nearly impossible without accountability. Here is the fact: unless you are accountable, you will never really be able to make positive changes in your life. If you are not accountable, you will always come up with an excuse, and when you have an excuse, your positive changes will be spotty, inconsistent, or temporary. The changes that you desire won’t happen.
Being accountable simply means being responsible for decisions made, actions taken, and assignments completed. A difficult realization for most people is that they need help with accountability. Telling someone you trust — be it a friend, family member, or your therapist — will benefit you in many ways:
- Giving you a chance to talk about and think through what it is you want to be held accountable for
- Telling your friend or family member will give you an opportunity to tell them what they can do to help
- There must be people in your life who know everything and who will challenge you when you need it
Living a life of congruency is all about following through and doing the things that you said you were going to do. When we do those things and accomplish them, the feeling is amazing! I too need accountability, and one of the things that helps me is my Fitbit. Being a therapist, I tend to sit quite a bit, but my Fitbit holds me accountable to the number of steps that I need to take each day and makes me aware of my progress.
Of course, it takes more than a Fitbit to make more difficult, complex life changes, but the concept is the same. Accountability: it works if you let it.
Gregory J. Skibinski LCPC, CADC, CSAT, CMAT, is the Executive Director of Agape Counseling, Ltd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact them at 309-663-2229. They are a group of Christian counselors, social workers, psychologists and support staff committed to a therapeutic process which ministers to the whole person. Their Bloomington office is located at 211 N. Veterans Parkway, (next to Krispy Kreme). They also have offices in Peoria and Morton. Visit them online at www.agapecounselors.net.
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