Get accountable: five ways to fulfil your goals this year

Posted by | January 25, 2018 | How to be awesome at your job, Looking for work

new year goals get accountable

Draft that novel? Puh-leese. Get a 5k raise? Hell yeah. Finish that master’s degree? Amen! It’s a new year and we’ve got big, BIG goals. So how do we turn these goals into reality? Liz takes a closer look at five ways to ensure we get sh*t done…

Last night I woke at 3am, with a serious case of DOOM. My heart was racing. I was coated in sweat. And my mind, much like Donald Trump’s Twitter account, was chaotic and full of disaster.

Top of my list? I’m unemployed, freshly arrived in the United Kingdom with less professional contacts than a Games of Thrones character after a season finale.

What if I don’t find a job soon? I worried. What if I can’t get one without my networks? How will this impact my finances and my relationship and our currently-imaginary-but-hopefully-one-day-real Irish Wolfhound?

At 4.31am, my tired brain flipped my anxieties around:  What if, instead of pickling in my own worry-juices, I flipped my anxieties into actionable goals? This means: finding work I love that pays me enough to live the way I want to. Creating a budget that I can stick to. Creating fruitful connections in my new city.

Sounds good. But, as we know, making goals is the easy bit. The hard bit is ACHIEVING goals. How do we achieve them? Accountability. Here are five ways to get accountable this year.

#1. Accountability Buddies

Back when I had a job, two colleagues and I would meet every week to talk about our hopes and plans.

At the end of each session, we would share one or two goals we wanted to achieve in the next week. At the next session we reported back and held each other gently, but firmly, accountable. It was incredibly useful. Five stars, would do again.


#2. App that

Productivity apps are a bit like accountability robot-buddies. They keep you on track when you’ve fallen off the to-do wagon. They can email you reminders. Here are a few that make all the difference to me:

  • Todoist helps manage one-off and repeating tasks.
  • Toggl is a desktop application that helps you track the time you spend on different projects.
  • Trello and Asana are sure-fire faves for breaking goals into achievable bites.


#3. WOOP, there it is!

I hope someone gave Tony Robbins a hug when he learnt that some studies have shown that “those who have stronger, more positive fantasies about reaching their goals are actually less likely to achieve them.” Oh dear…

So, what do we do if positive fantasies are ruining our dreams? It’s time to plus-size our fantasies with WOOP, the dream-child of psychologist Gabriele Oettingen. WOOP has four steps: Wish,  Outcome, Obstacle and Plan. Get your accountability on with the WOOP app!


#4 Sign up to a challenge! 

Do you thrive or skive under deadlines? If you’re a thriver, signing up to a challenge may be just what the doctor ordered to help you achieve your goals this year.

  • Want to feel fit and strong? Sign up for a fitness programme like Unorthodox Fitness.
  • Want to make more art? Publicly commit to posting a drawing everyday for Inktober
  • Want to write more fiction? Sign up for NaNoWriMo or an online paper with a tertiary provider.
  • Want better work networks? Promise a friend you’ll shout them dinner at La Boca Loca if you DON’T attend four industry events this month.

There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to make you do the hard yards.


#5. Celebrate your achievements

Whether it’s a finished draft, your first rejection letter (just 11 more to join J.K!) or completing a half-marathon, celebrating your hard-won gains is a must. Why not…

  • Buy scones and coffee for your team at work
  • Write grateful messages to your accountability buddies for their support
  • Buy an entire free-range pig (or Tofurky roast) and ask your whānau round for the best barbeque ever.

Whatever your cup of Fairtrade tea is, celebrating what you’ve done allows you to be accountable to those around you, feel good, and take a breather before moving on the next task. In this busy, busy world, celebration is an almost revolutionary act.


There we have it: five ways to get accountable and follow through our goals this year. Let’s hope they keep my serious case of doom in check. How do YOU keep accountable? Share your methods below, we’d love to hear them. 

Header photo by @rawpixel, via Unsplash.



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