The Power of Holding Yourself Accountable

7 January 2024
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Ten years ago, I started a website on personal development and growth in Swedish. It was terrifying to share my writing with the world.

Two years ago, I decided it was time to share my work with the rest of the world.

This time in English. Once again, the anxiety and discomfort were present.

Currently, I am recording the first five podcast episodes that I will publish on Spotify within one month.

While the process of brainstorming, researching, and outlining content for each episode is thrilling, it also brings about feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Despite external evidence of my competence and achievements, I attribute my achievements to luck, timing, or other external factors rather than to my own abilities.

In the pool of life’s challenges, I find myself once again at the deep end, feeling terrified and alone.

It’s in those quiet moments that I know I have to find the strength to stay in the waters of uncertainty until I learn what I need to.

The Motivation Behind Self-Improvement

People often ask me, “What’s the point of self-improvement and personal growth?”

The short answer is that it’s a way for me to hold myself accountable for reading, writing, and improving my thinking skills.

However, that explains how I do it, not why.

The reason I keep jumping into the deep end of the pool is because it’s a great way for me to add value to others.

That is my WHY.

Writing in Swedish initially forced me to improve my writing skills, and when I started writing in English, it further pushed me to learn how to write in English.

Creating a podcast now compels me to improve my English-speaking skills.

If I don’t engage in better thinking, self-improvement, and personal growth, I have nothing to offer the world and to the people I hold close to my heart.

The Transition to Self-Improvement

Being a better person to be around is a byproduct of continuously striving for self-improvement.

Enhancing our communication skills, developing a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Viewing every encounter as an opportunity for personal growth and development is both a mindset and a habit.

Transitioning from being a passive, emotionally reactive creature to a mindful human being requires that compassionate interactions become your default mode.

Many of us are passive at best, and downright aggressive on our worst days.

We often allow life to “happen to us” and label ourself the victim.

We react to situations based on emotions rather than accountability.

When we refuse to step out of our comfort zone, we limit our personal development and miss out on new perspectives.

But how do we start and keep going to live a fulfilling life?

It starts with holding ourselves accountable.

The Meaning of Self-Accountability

The word accountability refers to the quality or state of being accountable.
It includes the commitment to take responsibility for your mindset, actions, choices, and commitments.

It’s that kind of brutal honesty that recognizes how much your decisions affect your life and others’.

You need awareness of the consequences of your actions to make more informed choices that align with your values and goals.

Without this awareness, you turn yourself into a puppet.

Considering the perspectives and well-being of others leads to more considerate decision-making.

The choices you make today shape your future and the lives of those around you.

Areas Of Struggle

Some common areas where we struggle to hold ourself accountable are:

  • Personal goals
  • Time management
  • Financial responsibility
  • Health and fitness
  • Habits

Challenges often arise from procrastination, poor communication, and a reluctance to set and maintain boundaries.

The reluctance to set and maintain boundaries often originates from a fear of confrontation, a need for approval, or a worry of appearing too assertive.

Sometimes it results from a lack of self-confidence or a tendency to prioritize others’ needs over one’s own.

The Power of Accountability in Personal Growth

Accountability is a key factor in personal growth and success.

A way to see it is the opposite of numbing or distracting yourself.

It is you holding yourself accountable, establishing trust and reliability within yourself.

The vague desires and lack of clarity become clear, and you see your goals more vividly than ever and work towards achieving them.

Taking ownership of your actions cultivates a positive cycle of discipline that facilitates continuous personal development.

Why Accountability Matters

When you embody the person you aspire to be, you inspire others to do the same.

No one does what you tell them, they imitate and adopt your behaviours and habits.

Holding yourself accountable builds a foundation of trust and reliability with yourself and others.

On the flip-side, if you set goals and achieve them without accountability, as most people do, they will crumble sooner rather than later.

Taking ownership of your actions put you in the driver’s seat.

You have the power to shape your own life and create the life you desire.

Benefits of Holding Yourself Accountable

Achieving Goals

The accountable person use systems to track, measure and evaluate in order to hold themselves accountable.

This keeps you on track the days you don’t feel like it and ensures that you continue to take the steps towards making progress.

Accountability mechanisms typically involve the use of feedback loops, such as reflective journaling, goal progress tracking, and constructive self-assessment.

I use the Notion note-taking app as my second brain, where I keep a journal, track my habits and plan my monthly, quarterly and yearly goals.

Regularly reviewing my progress allows me to adapt my strategies based on what is working and what needs improvement.


The link between accountability and self-discipline is the commitment to honour the promises you make to your future self.

This commitment helps you overcome the temptation of short-term gratifications or distractions that could derail your progress.

By holding yourself accountable, you reinforce the importance of staying true to your goals, even in the face of challenges or temptations.

As self-discipline becomes ingrained in your behaviour, you become better at establishing and maintaining positive habits and routines.

These habits reduces friction and acts as structured pathways to your goals.

Whether it’s a daily productivity routine, a commitment to regular exercise or a habit of continuous learning, self-discipline is cultivated through accountability.

Improved Relationships

Holding oneself accountable for being that person is the linchpin for building trust and reliability in relationships.

When accountability wavers, the foundation of trust is compromised.

The actions taken when no one is watching become crucial, transcending the superficial realm of social media posts or verbal reassurances.

True accountability is reflected in consistent behaviours that align with your values, even in the absence of external scrutiny.

Relationships are not about finding the right person.

It’s about being the person you want to be in a relationship with.

Personal Development: Responding with Ability

Have you ever thought about why you pursue personal improvement or why you don’t?

For me, accountability means being able to respond to life’s challenges with a massive dose of self-reflection.

Responding constructively allows you to learn from mistakes and make better choices, becoming a better version of yourself.

Failing to grow leads to chaotic relationships.


Because life changes, your body changes, everything changes.

Falling short will be inevitable if you refuse to adapt and change.

Everything that brings you joy will otherwise depend on superficial, fleeting things, and you will feel unhappy.

Strategies for Holding Yourself Accountable

Set Clear Life Goals

Let’s take a moment to understand the basic differences between SMART goals and LIFE-GOALS.

The fundamental distinction lies in their nature and purpose.


Smart-goals will only take you so far, life-goals will take you all the way.

Your life goals take a broader vision on the purpose of your life.

They provide a sense of direction, guiding major life decisions.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals designed for short-term achievement.

Life-goals provide a more comprehensive framework for personal development, encompassing purpose, motivation, adaptability, and holistic growth.

Life-Goals are:

  • Long-Term Perspective: You have broader, more overarching objectives that encompass various aspects of your life.
  • Inclusive: Life goals are more holistic, including personal, professional, relational, and spiritual aspirations. They capture the overall values and vision of your life.
  • Flexible: Unlike the rigid structure of SMART goals, your life goals allow for a more flexible and strengthening approach. They adapt and change over time as your priorities, resources, and circumstances shift.
  • Emotional and inspirational: Your life goals tap into the emotional and inspirational aspects of your desires and dreams. They serve as a guiding force for long-term motivation.

Life goals based on values and purpose contribute to sustainable self-improvement and growth.

Rather than focusing solely on short-term projects and achievements, you are more likely to adopt a lifestyle full of habits and behaviours that contribute to long-term well-being and success.

Accountability Makes You Unstoppable

The bonds you form with those around you shape the way you experience life.

The key to your growth lies in the relationships you cultivate with everything and everyone, not in the achievement of any particular goal.

If you lose 70 pounds, accept accountability for the lifestyle that led you there, otherwise you will fall into the same category as the majority, 99.8 percent, who regain the weight they lost.

In times of chaos and apparent meaninglessness, embracing this life-style empowers you to assume control and generate meaningful transformations.

In front of every unstoppable person, there stands a wall of accountability.

This wall acts as a solid barrier, preventing any self-defeating behaviors from breaching.

It provides you with the strength and determination to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Final Thoughts

Holding yourself accountable is one of the most powerful tools for personal growth and success.

When you take responsibility for your mindset, actions, choices, and commitments, you respond in ways that establish trust and reliability.

When you hold yourself accountable for personal growth, you establish a structure that promotes self-reflection, ongoing learning, and a proactive mindset in your efforts.

Accountability is a double-edged sword.

One side is mindset, the other, habits. Together, the two help you cut through nonsense.

Once you master this double-edged sword, you will have more to offer to those you love and the world.

This journey will not only deepen your understanding of yourself, but also provide valuable insights into the needs, desires, and motivations of others.

This increased self-awareness and empathy are remarkable tools for building stronger relationships, resolve conflicts more effectively, and play the game of life more harmoniously with others.

At the end of the day, the thing that moves the needle the most is accountability, as it unleashes the power within you to transform your life.

The day you do everything with intentional responsibility for your self-improvement is the day you become unstoppable.

Recommended Books on Accountability

  1. “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential” by John C. Maxwell
  2. “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  3. “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals” by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
  4. “Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture” by Greg Bustin

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