Personal Accountability And Self Discipline

personal accountability and self disciplinePersonal accountability and self discipline go hand in hand and you cannot have one without the other. In order for self discipline to be effective, you have to be accountable and preferably accountable to yourself first.

Personal Accountability And Self Discipline

In a sense, personal accountability and self discipline are opposite sides of the same coin. On the one side, you have accountability and your expectations of yourself and on the other, you have to have the self discipline to fulfill or meet that standard. And let’s face it… self-discipline can be damned hard.

I read this once somewhere on social media, “Accountability to ones self will always be more challenging than to any God or person…” I agree and when I read that, I thought to myself, “If self discipline were easy then everyone would have it.”

Accountability to one’s self is very challenging. Worse is that when we fail to meet the standards that we try to hold ourselves to, the self-judgment if not outright damnation of ourselves can be pretty damaging.

But of course, personal accountability is hard and often we try to work around that issue by assigning others in our lives to hold us accountable. For a short-term solution, I think this is a great idea, but when it comes to personal accountability and self-discipline, is that model actually realistic and sustainable?

Probably not… and for a couple of reasons…

First, when you put someone else in charge of our life and that is what you are doing when you have someone else holding you accountable, any other role they may have in your life whether they are a partner, friend, family member, etc, then morphs into the role of “manager.”

And don’t we all to some level or degree sort of resent ever being managed by anyone else? Because of that, the idea of being accountable to others instead of ourselves fails.

Secondly, when we make other people responsible for us to be accountable to, we give up a significant amount of personal power. In a sense you might as well be giving up and admitting that you can not manage your own life yourself and basically 100% putting your happiness, health, welfare, and everything else into the hands of another.

I don’t know about you but me personally, I do not like that idea at all.

You being accountable to yourself is a great step forward in personal growth and development. That is assuming the standards that you are holding yourself to are reasonable and realistic because if they are not, then you are ultimately just setting yourself up for failure, defeat, and a dose of self-loathing, and there is nothing positive about any of that.

Do your best and when you slip or do not do as well as you had hoped then at least recognize that you have made progress if that is the case. If you fall short on a goal then look at the big picture… it was just one day… it won’t wreck an entire week and it is still a heck of a lot better than where you previously were probably. “Progress, not perfection…” If self-discipline were easy then everybody would be doing it, right?

So if you are struggling with self discipline, or maybe just want to have more self discipline, then don’t focus on that as much but instead focus on your sense of personal accountability and how you hold  yourself to the standards you set in life.

Personal accountability and self discipline go hand in hand but in the correct order, personal accountability always comes first.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 03 July 2008

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