Volume 6 Number 9 | September 2016
The Undermining of Intent
Most of us have great intent: To lose weight, to stay in shape, to be generous, to grow our business, to control out temper, etc. And most of us have poor follow-through. Let's face it, we temporarily meet our goal, or fail to meet it at all, or keep changing it, or rationalize it away.
Sure, some people change their ways. But they are the minority.
Why is this? It's seldom about others, unless we're weak: I wasn't going to have dessert, but everyone else ordered one. I wasn't going to lose my temper, but my brother critiqued my choice of wine again. Those are easily controlled if we are resolute.
And it's not about "resistance to change," which borders on urban myth. Most of us can readily identify with a salutary future.
The problem is the journey to change.
The Locus of Accountability
We flock to experts who provide us with external offers of accountability. (Nothing wrong with them, these people are trying to offer some assistance.) We eagerly join mastermind groups and claim "accountability partners." But we don't enlist the most efficacious partner of all.
It's the person over there in the mirror.
Accountability is the condition of being able to make independent decisions, to have authority to act, of having a duty to deal with an issue. That state, for you, should not be delegated! When you rely on others, with the best of intentions, you are limiting your exposure to maintaining your accountability. When you rely on yourself, it's always there with you. No executive would cede his or her accountability and expect to achieve the results important to them.
So why would we?
Stop making "to do" lists of what you want or what you prefer instead of what you really need. Start making "results lists" that force you to evaluate whether you're approaching key goals. Enforce your own discipline, by creating awards for reaching goals, and delaying minor matters until you've finished your priorities.
Every time we engage still another external accountability system or group, we deny ourselves the strength to enforce our own discipline. Discipline is cumulative: The more you employ it, the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the more you employ it.
No one else has your best interests in mind to the extent that you should. Don't undermine your own intent. Instead, be intent on achieving your own self-interests.
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© Alan Weiss 2016