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Building Self-Responsibility in your Personal Growth

Written by
Michael Wells

Building Self-Responsibility in your Personal Growth

Written by
Michael Wells

Building Self-Responsibility in your Personal Growth

Written by
Michael Wells

Self-responsibility is a crucial element of successful self-development.

It's so essential, I'd argue that it's the first skill you need to develop.

Fortunately there are some easy skills and habits you can develop to develop your sense of self-responsibility.

  • Journaling. Every week, set a personal practice task for the week. Every night, record how you did on that practice. For example, what to get fit? This week's task is do something fitness related for 30 minutes every day. Every evening, you record what you did.
  • Routine. Develop a regular routine, and protect it aggressively. For example, going to the gym at the same time every day. Journaling at the same time every day. Set an alarm reminder on your phone for the key things you want to develop routines for.
  • Consistency. Never skip a scheduled "practice," especially when you don't feel like it. Don't feel like gym today? Go anyway, even if you just end up walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes, or doing stretches on the mat in the corner. You want to kill the questions "should I?" and "do I feel like... ?" and replace them with a solid non-negotiable habit. It's worth the effort.
  • Know WHY you're doing it. Nothing kills motivation more than uncertainty about your goals. Important - make the goal about yourself, and for your own internal sense of accomplishment. I am going to eat healthy because I want a sexier body, not because it will impress other people.

Why not use an accountability buddy?

It sounds great doesn't it? Enlist a good friend to make sure I don't slip up on my personal growth.

Unfortunately this tasty idea is fundamentally flawed for three reasons;

  1. It's hard to find a good accountability partner, and easy for them to let you down. It's a big ask to have someone on the hook to motivate you - especially when they are already challenged to motivate themselves.
  2. When you place the responsibility for your growth on someone else, you create a far too easy excuse to skip out on your practice. And when that person is no longer your accountability buddy someday, will your practice continue, and your hard-won changes stick?
  3. It encourages "nice-guy" people-pleasing behaviors to grow. When you are working to impress your accountability buddy, you're building your dependency on outside validation from others. At its core, this is very unhelpful to your growth as a person.

Here are some of the challenges I see, and the reasons why I no longer recommend accountability buddies for serious self-development.

 

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Addendum

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

I used to think so, but... it seems time doesn't help as much as you'd expect with mental trauma.

Except when you die, of course, we assume.

I recently coached a man who was still missing his girlfriend from high school. They dated for only 2 months. He last saw her 34 years ago, and has not had contact with her since. 34 years... mind-blowing.

The mind reinforces what you choose to think about consciously, and it surfaces memories and imagery attached to what it wants & needs emotionally.

When you experience trauma, I see people heal much faster and more completely if they approach it the same as, say, a broken leg. Get it set right, attended too, care for it. Don't walk on it for awhile, then once it's sound, re-strengthen it and rebuild the muscles with exercise. Done right, it will be stronger than it was before it was broken.