I’ve always thought accountability was a good thing. A great motivator. A tool for meeting goals. A way to keep us honest. I hear over and over again from my runners how grateful they are to have scheduled group runs three days a week because they know someone (yes, that would be me!) will call them out and make sure they got in their mileage — or at least make sure everything’s okay. And, I’d rather load up my bike and head to spin class than get an earful for skipping from my cycling coach any day of the week! 😉
Recently, though, I’ve been wondering whether accountability is really the “right” motivator.
In the spirit of accountability, I resolved at the beginning of the year that I would cook at least one mess-up-the-kitchen dinner every week. I thought and hoped that by making this rather public announcement, I would be motivated to stick with it. No one wants to admit defeat, right?
Unfortunately, it’s confession time: I have failed miserably. Still feeling inspired in week two, I made an enormous batch of chili. I had a blast researching recipes, writing my own, and rolling up my sleeves to chop vegetables. It was pretty darn good, and we happily ate it for days on end. Then, life got in the way. I haven’t cooked anything other than frozen waffles since then and, let’s face it, that probably doesn’t count!!
Don’t get me wrong; we’ve eaten well. Brad and I are on a first-name basis with the hostess at our favorite breakfast cafe, and I’m pretty sure the woman who accepts take-out orders at our neighborhood Thai restaurant recognizes my voice. For weeks, though, I’ve thought to myself, “I must get back in the kitchen so that I can report on my progress.” Almost to the point of dreading the fact that I had to make time for it.
Then, it hit me…
I was looking at this all wrong. I didn’t need to cook just so that I could tell you I did it. I wanted to cook because I love doing it just for me — even if no one else knows I did it. Suddenly, all was right in the world. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty again, and my mind is races with recipe ideas! I’m gladly taking suggestions, too. 🙂
So, the next time you find yourself saying that you have to do something for someone else, I urge you to assess whether that sense of accountability is really the reason you’re doing it.
You might surprise yourself by realizing that you’re lacing up your running shoes, cooking dinner, writing a memo, or even straightening up the house not because you have to, but because you want to. Because you get to. Because it’s part of your life, and you don’t want to wake up one day and realize that you missed it.