You have crazy goals. Big lofty ambitions. But somehow you always come up short. No, it's not self-sabotage or imposter syndrome. You do put in the work diligently for a while. You start projects with amazing potential, quit them halfway through, fail to follow up on promising ideas – always wondering why success eludes you.
You wish you had stuck to your goals long enough to reap the rewards. If only you had a periodic reminder not to quit at the halfway mark. Better yet someone to hold you accountable to your goals.
Don't Rely on Other People for Your Success
Going solo on a new journey is fucking scary. Let's say your goal is to get in shape. You make a pact with your best friend to work out together every week. The pact is more of an insurance policy. If you stop showing up your friend can drag your ass to the gym. This blissful charade goes on for a few months. After all, there's comfort in achieving goals collectively with someone you trust.
One day out of the blue your friend drops out of your pact. Your friend got into a relationship and decided to move to Germany. You are fucking pissed but wish well to your friend on the phone. You are grateful that your friend helped you in the initial phase of the journey. But you must continue to travel the rest of the journey alone as it's meant to be.
The only person you can truly rely on for the entirety of a journey is YOU. Relying on other people to get started is understandable but eventually, you must get rid of this crutch. Place that blind faith in yourself instead!
But I Need an Accountability Partner
When I decided to embark on the podcasting journey in 2019, I set up a video call with my tech career coach David Berens to improve my decision making process:
"What's stopping you from quitting podcasting six months from now? How are you going to hold yourself accountable to your goals?", asked David.
"Umm. I was planning on making you my accountability partner", I replied.
"I am honored to hear that. But what if I am not available? What happens to your goals?" says David with a smile on his face.
The Email Accountability Framework
David designed for me an email accountability framework that doesn't require relying on other people to achieve my goals. I've been using this framework for a year now and it's helped me launch the Design MBA podcast and the blog you are reading right now. Plus it's free!
Here's how I use this email accountability framework using Gmail:
Step-1: Email yourself tasks to complete for next week
Every Sunday, I send myself an email listing the tasks to complete for next week. These are tasks that take me closer to fulfilling my vision. I don't assign myself more than two tasks per week complete to maintain focus.
I also write down potential roadblocks, fears, and ways to overcome them in the email. Addressing roadblocks, fears in advance helps me avoid getting derailed midway through the week.
Step-2: Snooze the email till next Sunday
After emailing myself the tasks to be completed for next week, I snooze that email in Gmail till next Sunday.
Step-3: Email yourself the task progress next Sunday
Next Sunday I reply to that email with my progress on the tasks. If I haven't made any progress on the tasks, I accept responsibility and still reply to the email with reasons for the delay.
How do You Measure Your Progress?
The emails don't lie. So, if you wonder why you aren't making any progress on your vision, read the archive of your email accountability emails and you'll find the answers.
Every week review the actions taken, tasks completed via the email accountability framework. Did the tasks help you accomplish your goals or take you one step closer to your goal? Otherwise course correct. Repeat this shit next week. Again the week after and so on. You must build a weekly habit of accountability if you wish to achieve your goals and have an impactful career.
What frameworks are you using to pursue your goals? Email me and tell me. I read every email :)