Accountability: setting smart goals

Accountability is the glueAccountability, goals and productivity

To be productive you can set goals to reach your full potential. One method to reach your goals is to share your goals with others. They will hold you accountable for reaching the goals you set for yourself earlier.

What is accountability?

This post is to give some insight in accountability. But, what exactly is it?
The definition of accountability is the fact or condition of being accountable, being responsible for decisions made. Other words for it are: responsibility, willingness, obligation and answerability. It is about keeping your word, keeping commitments to get a certain result.

And that is where goals come in…

Most people would say that setting goals is very simple: you say what you are going to do in a certain amount of time. Well, that is nice. But is that all there is? Let’s take a look at the following:
You can say: “I want more energy at the end of next month”.
OK. But how are you going to do that? Several people who hear you say that will have different interpretations of your statement. What exactly do you mean?

  • Are you going to eat more healthy, and if so, what is ‘healthy’ for you?
  • Are you going to go to bed on time and have good quality sleep?
  • Are you going to get fit by going to a gym?
  • Are you going to skip alcohol?
  • Or is it one of these: get some supplements in your diet? Reduce stress? Drink more water? Or are you consulting a doctor for your lack of energy?

Clear goals

You immediately see that this goal is not very clear:  there are several methods to get more energy and what exactly are you going to do?
Only when you make a precise description of the thing(s) you are going to do, people can hold you accountable at the end of the month.
Another example:
I want to look into that new business idea I have.
OK, what exactly are you going to do?

  • Are you going to list what the market looks like now?
  • What are your competitors like? What do they do? How do they market their products/services?
  • Or are you going to look at google keywords for your new business?
  • Or are you going to learn more about your products/services?
  • Are you going to have a look at the finances of that new business?
  • Are you going to create a name for your business and look at domainnames?
  • Are you going to research your customers: what are the benefits for them, what promises can you make to those customers?

So, as you see, you can have very different approaches to that very general stated goal.


You have to make your goal specific. There are several ways to do that. One method is to make goals SMART. Goals have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Having smart goals is the first step in making your goal a reality.


When you make a commitment like that to others, then you can be held accountable for what you did or didn’t do. By sharing your goals, by having others able to see what you’re doing (or not), you’ll have a powerful motivator for sticking to your goals, to be productive.
THIS is accountability. This is getting results!

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