By D. Lanier Shook January 10, 2019
For the past two days I’ve been sharing survival tips to keep your New Year’s Resolutions alive. Yesterday I shared how to use gamification to improve the odds (click here to read the article) and on Tuesday I discussed how to set yourself up for success when choosing the goals. (click here to read that article) Today I want to discuss using other people to accomplish your goals with or without their involvement. In other words, lets discuss accountability.
Accountability is Essential
A very good friend of mine had some very important personal goals he needed to achieve. So he involved all the folks he worked with by telling us about it. He discussed what he was doing and actually engaged us in his accountability efforts. And it worked.
The lesson is simple: tell somebody what you’re up to. By telling someone what you’re up to you automatically set yourself up for success since it provides a level of pressure. Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Social Media Works Too
So, if you’re an introvert like me (or just want to cheat yourself) you can use social media to be accountable. Yesterday — and the day before — I told you I would post the next article tomorrow. Well, yesterday was a mess, I mean so slammed full it was unreal. But since I’d said I was going to put up the article I put it up.
Social media is not a replacement for human contact, but it is a tool that can be used to change our lives. That’s why tomorrow I’m going to put up another article about keeping your New Year’s Resolutions alive. See, I did it again. Now lets cover one last important point.
I trust people — to be themselves. Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment or worse. When I am disappointed in others, usually I don’t blame people for being themselves, I blame me for not having realistic expectations.
Be careful when you tell people about your resolutions. Some people will be jealous and try to sabotage you. For example, I wouldn’t tell a baker I was trying to quit wheat. The opposite is also true and maybe even more dangerous. Some of your friends are so friendly they won’t call you on the carpet. They don’t feel they’re in a position to tell you that you don’t need that cupcake.
Either extreme is dangerous and like the rest of life New Year’s Resolutions require wisdom. When James writes in James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another …” he said faults, not specific sins. And he sure didn’t say “Find your local busybody and load their gossip gun for them so they can hang your dirty laundry from the rooftop of the town hall.”
For example, if you have issues with too much television its not a bad thing to tell a wise friend. “I have issues with sloth.” You do not have to tell a nosy in-law “I’m 31 and can tear my eyes away from reruns of Teletubbies on Netflix. I have to watch a season at a time without taking a break to eat, drink, work , or visit the bathroom. Its so bad that when I switch on the tv the cat leaves the room and the dog scratches at the front door, whimpering.”
So use others — or even social media — for accountability, but use discretion. Tomorrow I’ll share another great way to keep your resolutions alive. (See what I did there?)