How to Actually Do What You Say You're Going to Do

How to Actually Do What You Say You're Going to Do

There are two types of people in life when it comes to making things happen: those who talk about doing things, and those who actually do them…

It’s unfortunate, but most people can’t hold themselves accountable, to themselves, or even worse, to other people. Whether it has to do with weight loss, relationships, career moves, learning new skills, starting a business, etc.

Life is about learning and growing. It’s not about talking about learning and growing…

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You know exactly what I’m talking about…

You know, your one friend has been claiming they’re going to start working out and lose 10 pounds for the last two years, but they still look the same. Actually, I think they’ve gained weight because of all the emotional eating / pizza binges they’ve undergone because of the fact they can’t follow through on what they say…

Your other friend has had a million dollar idea that he’s been sitting on since college: “Dude, trust me, it’s going to work, I’m launching next month.”

Worst of all are the flakes. I’m not sure if anywhere else in the world has more flakes per capita than New York City. I have experienced this one firsthand, and have done my absolute best to make sure I’m not one of these people. The people who RSVP yes, verbally confirm their attendance, text you the day before confirming they’re coming, then when the big day comes, they are nowhere to be found. “OMG, I’m so sorry, [Insert bullshit excuse here…]” The worst.

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When you fail to hold yourself personally accountable, meaning you tell yourself you’re going to do something, then fail to do it (like waking up early, going to the gym, etc.), the consequences are limited. That’s why many of us let ourselves off the hook way more often than we should.

I used to talk, talk, talk about my goals and I got tired of it. I saw friends who lived in this way as well, and I can tell you firsthand this is no way to live. Earlier this year after my business failed, I decided this was going to be the year I quit my job and pursued working for myself.

It was a huge decision, but I knew it was the right thing to do, and public accountability was a major reason that I actually followed through.

How? First, I told all my friends I was quitting my job. Then I created a Google Calendar event several months out, set reminders every month, and invited all my closest friends to the event.


When you hold yourself accountable to others, then don’t follow through, the consequences are much more serious because they impact other people, not just you. Lacking public accountability, or saying you’re going to do something then not doing it, negatively affects your relationships, your reputation, your credibility and most importantly, your integrity.

These negative outcomes are why public accountability is a very motivating and effective way to get things done.

Now look, I know you’re ambitious and committed to actually following through on your huge goals for the future. If you struggle with this, know you’re not alone. I have struggled with this many times before, as you’ll read in today’s post. The goal of this post is to help you use accountability to your advantage.

The fact is top performers and highly successful individuals are people with high integrity. These people have become successful because they are men and women of their word. Having the right relationships in place is a large part of being successful, and top performers understand that they cannot grow and foster meaningful relationships by frequently letting other people down.

Highly successful individuals are people of high integrity. They project their goals and ambitions to the world, then they go and achieve them. They have developed a high degree of public accountability which they use as a source of motivation to achieve what they’re working towards.

Set the bar ridiculously high, to the point where you’re almost embarrassed saying out loud how much you’re going to achieve from your life. Tell everybody they can expect that level of performance from you, then exceed all expectations. That’s it. That’s the only path to success. — Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of Quest Nutrition & host of InsideQuest

Want more awesome advice like this? Find out what 75+ top performers like Shawn Achor wish they could tell their twenty something self.SEND NOW

That’s what I want to cover in today’s post. I want to break down why public accountability is so motivating, and provide you with practical, effective ways in which you can use accountability to your advantage.

Here’s what we’re going to cover in today’s post:

A Proven, Research-Tested Way to Success

Leveraging public accountability is a proven, research-tested way to increase your likelihood of success…

In a study conducted at Dominican University, nearly 300 participants were studied to determine the effectiveness of their goal-setting strategies.

Group 1 was asked to simply think about their goals

Group 2 was asked to write down their goals

Group 3 was asked to write down their goals and formulate action commitments

Group 4 was asked to write down their goals, formulate action commitments and send this information to a supportive friend

Group 5 was asked to do the same as group 4, but in addition, they were asked to send weekly progress reports to a supportive friend

The most successful groups were 4 and 5, whose rates of success were 64% and 76%, respectively.

Similarly, a 6-month study conducted in 2013 studied subjects and analyzed their Twitter engagement as it related to weight loss. The researchers found that those who published their progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who did not publish their results on the social media platform. Furthermore, the degree of Twitter engagement (as it related to the subject’s weight loss goals) was directly proportional to the amount of weight lost by the subject. Researchers found that for every 10 Twitter posts made by a subject, there was a .05% weight loss.

So there you have it. Now you know this sh!t works and there’s the research to prove it.

Why Public Accountability is a Powerful Source of Motivation

Let’s get into the psychology behind why public accountability is so useful as a means of motivation to achieve success.

Holding yourself accountable, personally and especially publicly, is extremely motivating in itself.

We as humans obviously don’t like letting ourselves down, but we especially don’t like letting others down.

When there are no external sources to hold us accountable, such as a friend, partner or teammate, it becomes incredibly easy to push things out to the next day, week, month, etc. as the consequences are limited. When we have someone to hold us accountable, the consequences increase and we are more motivated to accomplish what we need to get done.

Provides positive reinforcement and additional motivation.

The reason that we set goals is to attain a pleasurable outcome, something that benefits us in a way that is meaningful and important to us. Sharing our progress with others and receiving their praise for achieving a goal is even more rewarding and positively impacts our motivation.

This basic psychological principle called the ‘law of effect’ (which we will dive deeper into in the next chapter) states that if we perform an action that results in a pleasurable outcome, we are more likely to perform that action again.

Provides external validation and adds value to your work.

While it may sound vain, we are social creatures that have evolutionary needs to seek the validation and acceptance of others. Similar to the above points, when others recognize and appreciate our achievements, it is extremely gratifying and motivating. Doing so helps us see the meaning and value in our efforts and work.

4 Ways to Use Public Accountability & Actually Do What You Say

Now that you’re clear on how and why public accountability seriously works, and why being a flakey person is the absolute worst, I want to provide you with X ways that you can use accountability to your advantage.

1. Publish your goals

As you read above, it’s been shown that publishing your weight loss goals on social media leads to better results. Whatever goal you’re working towards, document it, then share it with others. The easiest way to do this is social media.

As you probably already know, I do this exact same thing by publishing monthly reviews on this website. These monthly reviews hold me accountable for the work I’m doing. Every month I share my goals for the next month on my website. These personal reviews have helped me dramatically increase my motivation, productivity and focus. If you want to learn how to conduct personal reviews, I wrote a post telling you exactly how to do that here.

2. Find an accountability partner

Whatever you’re working on, and whatever you want to achieve, I’m willing to bet there’s roughly 1,000,000 other people doing the exact same. Find one of these people, tell them your goal and request that you team up and serve as accountability partners. If your goal is weight loss and exercise, work out with this person or go buy groceries together (cute, I know). This is a very powerful way to achieve your goal and keep your momentum on point.

3. Join a Facebook group

This one has completely changed the game for me.

Instead of getting notified that a distant friend of mine who I met once has shared another status about how Hillary is a liar or how Donald is a racist or how cute their cat is, most of the notifications I receive on Facebook are from entrepreneurial and personal development groups that I’m a part of.

This is MASSIVE for motivation because every single day I’m surrounded by individuals who are supporting me and my journey, while holding me accountable. I highly recommend that you join a Facebook group of likeminded individuals for whatever it is that you’re working towards, right now.

How do I find Facebook groups to join?

Well first, join the Different Hunger Facebook community. Do it, foreal. We’ve got some awesome, helpful people in here who are just like you, but cooler. Not that you’re not cool, but you will definitely become cooler if you join the group here.

If you’re looking for other groups on Facebook, just do a basic search. Most blogs that you follow have a Facebook group, which is how I found several of the groups I’m a part of. If you can’t find it, just send an email to the blog author or to the product’s social media team.

4. Mastermind groups

I’ve been in a mastermind since college and it has changed my life. A mastermind is essentially a small group, usually between two and five, of motivated people working towards a similar goal to help one another improve.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich (which has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide), discusses the topic of masterminds extensively in his book, claiming that they are essential to achieving success and accumulating massive wealth:

Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the “Master Mind” principle.

Successful individuals in history who have been part of mastermind groups include Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison and many more.

My mastermind group includes my buddy and founder of Baselang, Connor Grooms, (who recently wrote about rapid learning on the blog) and George Gray. Both of these guys have helped me in countless ways and were the main reason I quit my job and moved to Medellin. I wanted to work alongside them because I knew doing so would allow me to become more successful.

If you are serious about your success, a mastermind will take things to a whole ‘notha level.

Key Takeaways

By now you’re clear on why public accountability is a proven, powerful motivator and how you can take advantage of this to get shit done.

I’d like to just recap what we covered in this post just to make sure it sinks in.

Problem: Most people lack high degrees of public accountability, meaning they usually don’t do the things they say they’re going to do. These people are the worst and are not people of high integrity. Don’t be one of these people.

Solution: Leverage public accounability and use it as a source of motivation to achieve your goals.

Why public accountability works:

  • Holding yourself accountable, personally and especially publicly, is extremely motivating in itself
  • It provides positive reinforcement and additional motivation
  • It provides external validation and adds value to your work
  • Public accountability sets you apart from others because you become a person of high integrity and are able to create meaningful relationships, personally and professionally

How to take advantage of the power of public accountability:

  • Publish your goals
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Join a Facebook group
  • Start a mastermind group

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