As athletes, I am sure we can all agree that personal accountability is one of the most crucial characteristics that all champions have in common. What do you do behind the scenes when nobody is looking? Do you put in the extra work for yourself when no one asked you to, or do you do the bare minimum?
In this article, we will look at the top 5 proven ways to improve personal accountability. I will also discuss some things I have done throughout my career that helped me go the distance. However, to improve your personal accountability, you need to understand what it is first.
What is personal accountability?
When someone is personally accountable, they take ownership for the situations they find themselves in. In my previous post, I talked about The Power of Deliberate Decision-Making. I discussed how we are all products of the decisions we make.
Most athletes don’t understand that their coach can only give them the tools to get better, but how those tools are used is up to the athlete. You have to choose what to do with the tools that were given to you. Let us look at a hypothetical situation:
Mary and John are both swimmers. Mary puts in the work every day. She doesn’t care about how she feels on the day and always pushes through. After practice, she asks her coach if she could practice some extra starts. When she gets home, she makes sure that she sticks to a proper diet and stretches every night before she goes to bed. John also shows up to practice every day. However, he does the bare minimum to get by. His only goal is not to get yelled at by the coach.
Who do you think will perform better when the time comes? Mary or John? Mary will certainly be the most pleased by her results at the end of the season because she knows that she has done everything she possibly could to put herself in the right situation.
How to improve personal accountability
The following strategies are some ways that have personally helped me improve my accountability significantly. We do have to remember that we are all unique, and some things that worked amazingly for me might not work at all for you. However, it is always good to try out new ways to improve.
1. Be honest with yourself
Sometimes it is good to set aside our pride. As an athlete, you will never be too good to ask for help. Your coach is there for a reason. At the same time, never be afraid to admit a mistake. We are all human, andwe all make mistakes. Admit that you made a mistake and learn from it. It is how we grow.
2. Recognize that time-management is key
We only have a limited amount of hours during the day. After we slept, ate, worked, and practiced, we are left with only a couple of hours before it is time to go to bed again. What will you do with those extra hours? Will you follow Mary’s example or John’s?
3. Don't overcommit
As athletes, we tend to focus on too many things at once. We have to. It’s part of what makes us great. However, it is essential to break it up into little bits from time to time. Try to give your full attention to one thing at a time. Perfecting specific skills is more critical than being mediocre at many skills.
When you are done with practice, what do you do? Do you go home, play video games and watch a movie, or do you think about your day? Part of what makes us athletes is always trying to find new ways to improve. When you get home, take ten minutes to reflect on what you have done at practice. What have you done well? What have you done not so well? Where can you improve?
5. Stay committed
It is imperative to remember that nothing happens overnight. Sometimes we start something just to give because it takes too long or it’s too hard. Stay patient and stay committed to your goals. This is one sure way to succeed.
ACCOUNTABILITY IS THE GLUE THAT TIES COMMITMENT TO RESULTS
If you think about using one of these strategies, please let me know which one you plan to use in the comment section. If you have a different strategy you use to hold yourself accountable, I would love to hear about that too!
Dream. Dare. Succeed.
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Hi there! My name is Rudo Loock. I am a former competitive swimmer from South Africa. I went to school and trained at Florida State University in the United States of America. I have always had a great passion for both writing and sport and now I have found a way to combine the two things I love most. My goal is to help you achieve great things you never thought were possible. I hope you enjoy my posts and dream big!