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"Degrees & Programs"

Five ways to hold yourself accountable

By University of Phoenix
April 28, 2020 • 2 minute read

Utilize tactics that make you feel pulled toward your goal, rather than pushed.

You have things you want to accomplish in your life. But when it comes time to get your butt in that seat to focus on schoolwork, you may find yourself suddenly drawn to YouTube, the cake in the fridge or your phone.

The trick is to build accountability into your plans so you feel pulled toward your goals, instead of having to push yourself there. Here are five ways to do just that.

1. Get a goal buddy

Reach out to a classmate or two—people you know who have the same goal, so you can hold one another accountable. Schedule a phone call each week—or even every day during crunch time—to talk about what you got done, what you plan to do next and how you’ll make it happen.

If you have multiple classes with a specific cohort, you can find great partnership in those students that share the same schedule.

2. Reprimand yourself

Yes, you should reward yourself when you take steps to reach your goals. But what would propel you faster toward those goals—the promise of an ice cream sundae, the threat of missing your favorite television show or skipping your monthly girls’ night out?

When you come up with an ideal penalty for not accomplishing your work, be sure to ask a friend, your accountability buddy or a member of your support team to keep tabs on you so you aren’t tempted to skip out on a task.

3. Make it public

If you tell yourself you want to finish that school report in three days and you don’t do it, no one knows but yourself. No big deal, right? Well, if you shout out your plans on Facebook or Twitter—including on the University of Phoenix social channels, which create a space for this very purpose—or at a social gathering or meeting, suddenly you’ve upped the stakes. Now if you don’t do it, you don’t look so good.

4. Work in real time with a friend

Working alongside a buddy can give you a boost of motivation that you don’t have when working alone. Plan to meet at a coffee shop to work on your projects together. They don’t even need to be the same project: Maybe you’re studying for an exam and your friend is on a big work deadline. Just being with someone else makes you want to work more and slack less. And it makes working more fun!

5. Develop a network

Find someone who has done what you want to do and ask for his or her guidance. This may be your manager at work, a student who’s a year ahead of you or even a life, business or writing coach. These mentors can help you set goals and make plans to reach them, and you’ll be more likely to take action. After all, you won’t want to disappoint the people who are spending their time and effort to help you.