Help Others Restore Integrity
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Navigating the New Year: Beating the Resolution Blues

Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Finding Authentic Accountability

Black Friday…Blue Monday?

Yes, Blue Monday, the date for the “most depressing day of the year.” Blue Monday is slated to arrive this year on Jan. 16.

A date coined by Cliff Arnall, former researcher from Cardiff University, Blue Monday may help explain the angst many individuals feel as they begin a new year. The formula for determining this date is:

The factors include weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our New Year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M), and the feeling of a need to take action. Feel familiar?

In addition, by this point in the month, most individuals are tired of the same old cliché “New Year, New You” advertisements and advice articles and have already thrown the towel in on their resolutions.

So with these recurring themes each year, what will make this year different?

January – A Hard Month

Resolutions are difficult to keep, with just 8% of individuals successful in keeping them. Losing weight, saving money, and getting in shape are the top leaders of resolutions.

But sacrificing some of our creature comforts like eating, retail therapy, and vegging out in one of the coldest and grayest months certainly does not help. These are some of the things we rely on to get us through winter.

But alas, we are dedicated and want to change. Unfortunately, many advice articles fall short of incorporating a very essential element: Accountability.

Accountability is essential for success with our goals, both big and small. Accountability is the guiding principle that defines how we make commitments to one another, how we measure and report our progress, how we interact when things go wrong, how much ownership we take to get things done, according to the writers of the bestselling book The Oz Principle and The Oz Principle Blog.

A great example of accountability at work is Weight Watchers. With weekly weigh-ins and the fellowship and encouragement of the “group,” this program thrives on the concept of accountability.

A recent study published in the Lancet found that overweight and obese adults who followed the Weight Watchers program lost more than twice as much weight as those who received weight-loss advice from just a doctor or nurse.

Other well-known support groups such as Celebrate Recovery and AA  incorporate accountability into their programs.

As a society, accountability has been a lacking component for some time. However, the concept of accountability has gained tremendous momentum in recent years, from both a personal and professional standpoint.

We have seen the increased use of the term ‘accountability’ by our elected officials in light of the financial collapse of the housing market and banking industry. U.S. Senator Carl Levin said, “Restoring responsibility and accountability is essential to the economic and fiscal health of our nation.”

As individuals continue to learn from our past and throw out the tactics that have failed us, accountability offers a fresh start for lasting change.

Accountability: Making it Work for You

Accountability breeds response-ability – Stephen Covey

Accountability is not like a fad diet. Rather, it becomes a way of life that, when practiced regularly, can yield significant results.

In addition to writing down your goals, planning and committing to them, prayer and meditation, you will need an accountability partner to come along for the journey.

When it comes to the concept of accountability, choosing a partner is just as important as the principle itself. In choosing, know that:

1. Accountability partners are fellow strugglers.

They are able to sympathize with the struggle and are not baffled by weaknesses or see  themselves as “above” the problem.

2. Accountability partners are fellow travelers.

They do not just sit and watch you fall. Rather, they come alongside with you on the journey. This is someone who will get in the proverbial car with you, help you watch out for potholes, read the road signs and get you to your destination.

3. Accountability partners are fellow soldiers.

They are willing to confront us with convicting words and call on us when we are not honoring our commitments. Choose someone strong enough to do this for you.

Here’s to your success and to a great 2012!

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