I have been hard at work creating My Life Plan.
You should totally do one too! Here are the steps you may have missed thus far:
My Life Plan Step 1: Wants
My Life Plan Step 2: Needs
My Life Plan Step 3: Preparation
My Life Plan (continuation of Step 3): Life Purpose
My Life Plan Step 4: Goals
My Life Plan Step 5: Plans
My Life Plan Step 6: Accountability
mmm… Holding yourself accountable…
… something our country is seriously NOT good at, in any way whatsoever. Just look at the Frelled up Frackers Fracking the shit out of my neighbors’ backyards. Look at how there are all these earthquakes and crap caused by Fracking, and pro-Frackers saying things like,
“Let’s not panic — it’s perfectly safe — or, you know, maybe it is — who could know since we’re going ahead with all this Fracking before all the results are in — but hey! It’s not MY water or yard or livestock or children being impacted so FUCK IT, LET’S ALL FRACK!”
Look at how there are people who can’t drink the water coming out of their faucets because suddenly — ever since Fracking started up in their backyards — their Fracking water IS.ON.FIRE.
Fracking is totally NOT the point of this post.
But Holding Yourself Accountable *IS* the point. So it’s kind of relevant. The Fracking industry fucked up and they are not holding themselves accountable. I’d call that a major FAIL. And shame-shame-shame on anyone who claims otherwise. You disagree? Go talk to the parents of children who are suffering the ill effects of Fracking and get back to me on how THAT conversation goes…
But whatever. I’m not talking about Fracking.
I’m talking about Holding Yourself Accountable. Our government and Republicans and greedy motherfuckers and the Fracking industry aren’t the only ones who need practice when it comes to Accountability. I need practice, too. But at least I can admit when I suck at something. Which is what we’re here to talk about today. Not how to NOT suck at things, but how to anticipate the likelihood that you are definitely going to FAIL, and how to apologize for that FAIL, and how to keep going in the aftermath of a major FAIL. I’m going to NOT follow the examples set before me, and I’m going to instead try really hard to follow my Personal Commandments — particularly the ones that pertain to this topic.
- Make it better, or make it worse.
- Identify flaws & act accordingly.
- Don’t Stop Starting.
- Just do it — NOW.
- Do the Work.
What does “accountable” even mean?
subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable; liable.
That means when I FAIL, as I inevitably will, I am expected to come clean about it, assess what went wrong, apologize if appropriate, assume the correct chagrined tone, recognize I fucked up, and try really hard to NOT do it again by identifying a better mode operation. That means when I FAIL, as I inevitably will, I won’t be a pussy about it. I won’t dodge responsibility. I won’t pretend it didn’t happen or that there weren’t repercussions for my actions. I won’t push blame onto someone else. I won’t hide behind policies or extenuating circumstances or incomplete data or stupid shit that ultimately overlooks the fact of my fuck up.
In short, I will not use Frackers as my example, except as an idea of exactly how NOT to behave. I’m better than that. We all are. Or at least, we COULD be, if we weren’t so busy trying to get dollars into our pockets.
How do you do that “Holding yourself accountable” thing?
“Having a crew is more important than you realize.
Most of us don’t have the willpower or intrinsic motivation to take on our difficult journeys alone. It’s vital to have a support team — people who will keep you accountable to your dreams and goals, and keep you strong when the storms blow in.
Sometimes you’re not surrounded by people who will support you, or maybe they don’t understand what you’re trying to achieve. It can be hard to find a true support team. Thankfully, there are entire communities online (and off) you can seek out to help you stay true.”
Four steps in Holding yourself accountable:
1. Enlist a partner (or crew).
I don’t have a writing partner (or crew) per se, but I am committed to attending a writing critique group each month. I’m happy to say I’ve already presented part of my story for January, and knowing that I need to get the next bit prepared is really helping me “Stay on Target”. If I don’t have a piece ready to share in February, I’m going to feel awfully crappy showing up empty handed. And I can’t just skip out, either, or else my name will be removed from the list of participants in order to make room for writers more serious and dedicated than I. That is some serious motivation to get my ass in gear.
I have other goals / plans to which this concept equally applies, but for the purposes of this post I’m sticking with writing as that is the action I seem to have trouble taking most of all. Even though I’m a writer. Yeah, go figure.
2. Go public.
I can see how this might work for most people. Most people care about their public image enough to be bothered if they fall down in front of others. But see, up until last year I was still haunted by that one time I farted in front of my entire fifth grade class. When I decided to stop worrying about that, it kind of went hand-in-hand with my decision to NOT worry about what other people think of me. While I still plan to record my progress, or lack thereof, in my What’s Up Wenzday series, public shaming will NOT be what keeps me straight. The mere act of physically tracking my progress will be much more instrumental than wondering how dumb I look in front of everyone. People — I FARTED IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. There is no longer anything about which I can possibly be embarrassed. Failing to get my word count in cannot possible be as mortifying as that frozen moment in time. Also? Everyone poops. That knowledge alone erases any doubts as to whether or not I have a place in this world.
But, you know, maybe you feel differently. You probably still have a shred of propriety wrapped about your ego like a protective cloak. So by all means — go public if you think this will help push you toward conquering your goals.
3. Identify an inspirational muse, idol, or mentor for each category.
This one — yes. There are several writers to which I bow in respect. These are people whom I admire as go-getters and achievers and examples of ultimate success. Some are unattainable celebrities who have more talent than I can ever hope to gain; others are small-time folks I gab with on Twitter. There are a couple very talented writers who aren’t aware I secretly view them as mentors, and I have it mind to contact them in the coming months so I can pick their brains, at which time I will throw myself at their feet and beg for morsels of writing advice.
There is even one particular, unidentified author whom I hold above all others and to whom I will dedicate my first published piece. She is a truly terrible writer, and this knowledge makes me confident that ANYBODY can gain the attention of a publisher if she can. I say this without a single shred of envy. Her writing is simply atrocious. I love knowing that crappy novelists can find a way to get published. Seriously.
4. Celebrate both small and large accomplishments along the way.
This is a great reason to break your Dreams down into specific Goals, and from there into actionable Plans with Target Dates. I know one super-large prize I plan to award myself is a particular mug I have wanted for a very long time. Upon reaching 50K words in my novel I am totally buying this thing. I haven’t really considered what other kinds of prizes I might get along the way, but I’m sure it won’t be difficult to come up with a short list. Things like “black boots” and “full body massage” are right at the top. See? Easy.
In what ways are YOU Holding Yourself Accountable?
Have I missed any methods in helping others to “Stay on Target”? Please share your ideas — we can all benefit from learning how to be answerable for our FAILS.