Hold Yourself Accountable: Be the Author of Your Life

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The One Thing" by Gary Keller. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you hold yourself accountable for the way things turn out? Or are you just a victim of circumstance?

Like everyone else, you want to succeed. You want great results. Holding yourself accountable is a critical aspect of success. It means that you are the owner—the author—of your life.

Read more to learn the power of holding yourself accountable.

Hold Yourself Accountable

A key to exceptional outcomes or results is holding yourself accountable for the way things turn out.

You can choose to be accountable and be the “author of your life,” or choose to be unaccountable and be a victim. An accountable person acknowledges or seeks to understand the reality, tackles the task or problem, takes ownership of it, and finds a solution. In contrast, someone with a victim attitude avoids or fights reality, blames, makes excuses, waits, and hopes things will improve. An accountability approach shapes the outcome, while a victim approach doesn’t. Either attitude becomes a habit.

The best way to hold yourself accountable is to find an accountability partner—a mentor, peer, or coach who will:

  • Provide honest, objective feedback on your performance
  • Expect you to improve
  • Brainstorm with you and offer expertise

Research shows that accountability leads to better results—in one study, people who wrote down their goals were almost 40% more likely to achieve them. In addition, those who not only wrote down their goals but also sent progress reports to friends were 77% more likely to achieve them.

An accountability partner will help you hold yourself accountable, staying on track and improving your productivity.

You can either hold yourself accountable or be a victim of circumstance. The choice is yours.

Hold Yourself Accountable: Be the Author of Your Life

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Gary Keller's "The One Thing" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The One Thing summary:

  • Why focusing daily on one thing, rather than many, is the key to success
  • How success is like dominos
  • The six common myths about success

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She has always appreciated nonfiction, especially about history, politics, and ideas. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. As a former intelligence analyst and a teacher of critical thinking skills, Elizabeth enjoys analyzing arguments on all sides of an issue. Her nonfiction preferences include theology, science, and philosophy. She studies the intersection of these three in pursuit of the highest truths. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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