Accountability is a powerful tool to make a habit stick.
I’ve talked about this before in my no-alcohol experiment in June, which you can most definitely read about by clicking here.
Again, if I didn’t have an accountability partner it would have been much more difficult to create that habit!
In some cases, fear of loss is needed in accountability, because it makes you motivated to complete it. It actually becomes liberating to make the commitment this way. You’ve released the decision to the bet. You don’t wanna lose the bet, because it’s not worth it!
Personally, I do a weekly Wednesday night call with my accountability partner for business stuff. It’s a 30 min phone call, where we go through past weeks top 3 To do’s and then list out what we want to accomplish the following week.
How’s it been working so far? Super Great.
We’ve been doing it for almost 8 months now and I’ve definitely seen my production go up.
Occasionally we only finish 2/3 of the To Do’s. But guess what? That is better than having nothing planned and nothing done. I don’t want to let him down either, nor does he. When this happens we break down the reasons for why we didn’t accomplish the task . We then break that big T0 Do into smaller to-do’s. It’s also great to talk it out with someone.
Now I would say having a negative reinforcement would sky rocket you from doing the task. I.E. Say donating 30 dollars to some Neo-Nazi party if you don’t finish the task.
In our case, we haven’t done this yet as we’ve been quite good with completing the tasks. Again, neither of us wanna let each other down. But it’s something we have discussed if one of us begins to slide. Neither of us have this feeling of dread yet. I still look forward to it at the moment.
Now the first time tried this negative reinforcement method was a chance encounter with Maneesh Sethi at a consumer psychology conference last summer called Behaviour Con. I mentioned to him I was struggling to finish this copy writing course I had recently purchased from Appsumo.
He listened to me intently and then took out this very legal looking document and made me sign it. The bet was if I didn’t finish the course within one week time ( the approximate time it would take to complete it) then I would have to paypal 50 bucks to another friend at this conference (this friend was happy with this bet LOL). He also took a photo of me holding this pledge sheet and said if I don’t complete he would shame me on his twitter and facebook.
Now Maneesh just doesn’t have hundreds of followers, he has thousands! Nerve racking to say the least.
This was the agreement that I’ve saved:
AND guess what happened? BOOM! I freaking finished that course. I didn’t want public embarrassment nor did I want to pay this 50 dollar fine.
Another way to to think about this: say it’s snowy -10 Celsius, relatively chilly Monday morning. You probably don’t wanna leave your very comfortably, cozy bed. But you also don’t want to lose your job that’s why you go to work. I mean if you always dread your job that’s another issue. But my bigger point is: we need to implement stakes more if we don’t complete tasks that we want to.
Perhaps holding a sign saying “I’m a loser” and photographing and pasting on facebook might work for you and you’re partner. Using peer/public pressure against you to make you get things done. That’s more of an incentive – not to look bad, than money in many cases.
Have fun experimenting with this!