How to Make Great Progress Using Accountability

If you won't do it for yourself, do it for me!

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #490

That’s where Stickk.com comes in. It’s a website developed by behavioral finance geeks. With Stickk, you set a goal, and you establish a financial commitment. For example, if you don’t stick to your goal, you pledge to donate $500 to a cause you consider truly horrible, like a cause that goes directly against your values. For example, a commitment contract might be “I will work out three times a week for the next six weeks or donate $500 to the People’s Liberation Front For The Elimination of Oreo Ice Cream Cake.” As you can imagine, I’m highly motivated to not donate that $500.

But Stickk adds one more diabolical element. You designate a human being to referee your commitment. Not only do you get motivation from the terrible rewards and punishments, but now you have Another Human Being Who Sees Your Failure. You better believe it’s motivating! Rewards and punishments work, and they work even better when you get a people involved.

Use People to Monitor Your Progress

You can also engage people in helping you take regular actions. In the episode on keeping resolutions, I share a technique by executive coach Andrew Thorn, presented by Marshall Goldsmith, in how to use daily check-ins with an accountabilibuddy. You share your major goals with each other. Then you choose measurements that let you know you’re making progress towards that goal. If your goal is to write a book, you might set a daily goal of writing at least 500 words. Then you do a rapid check-in with your buddy every day and run through your list of measurements, scoring yourself on whether you met each one. 

When it comes to fighting the monsters of procrastination, people are your secret weapon.

I do this daily with my accountabilibuddy Timmy, who I’ve written about before. You simply serve as a witness for each others’ goals. No fixing things, judging, or rewards are needed. Just knowing that someone is aware of your successes and your failures pushes you to Make Progress on What’s Important.

When it comes to fighting the monsters of procrastination, people are your secret weapon. You can get a people to help you power through projects on a Do-It Day. You can use Stickk.com and use a people to be part of your rewards and punishments (it will make the olive oil and feathers a lot more fun). And you can use a people to swap daily accountability on what’s most important for you.

This is a lot to cover in one episode, so you can find links to detailed episodes about these different techniques at GetItDoneGuy.com/accountable. And now that I’ve said GetItDoneGuy.com/accountable, and I know that people are counting on that link working, I’m going to go put that page together, pronto.

I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. Want great keynote speeches on productivity, Living an Extraordinary Life, or entrepreneurship? Hire me! Find me at http://SteverRobbins.com or join my personal mailing list by texting GETITDONE to 33444. You’ll also get a free copy of my secret book chapter on how to build relationships that help you succeed. 

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Image of people being held accountable © Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.