I’ve started the mother of all accountability challenges.
On Sunday, I don’t know why I just felt so sad and low. I’d had a week off and I don’t do well with time off. I’m a doer. I’m not a person who relaxes easy and so taking a week off threw me out of my routine and had me feeling frustrated. I’d been eating crap with the family all week which didn’t help and felt like I had a carb and sugar hangover.
I decided I needed to take drastic action. My work life is so busy at the moment with client work (which I’m very grateful for) but I also have some personal business goals I am so desperate to achieve. I can’t seem to magic time up though so I knew I needed to make time.
The only way to make time? Make things non-negotiable and get help and support to keep you accountable.
So I posted this on my own personal Facebook page:
I am not sure where this came from but it happened and over 40 people replied within a couple of hours. FORTY!
It was really hard picking the right person. Some people I knew well and knew that they wouldn’t be right for this and would struggle with my accountability and checking up on them.
In the end I settled on two people who I have met in person a few times and who hang out in the same online groups as me. One is a highly amusing guy who needed a kick for some personal goals and the other is a girl who is a fitness professional who is looking to balance her business with her own health and future goals. One of my own personal core values is ‘fun’ and I knew that in order for this to work it had to be fun. These two are more than fun so we were onto a roll straight away.
The guy in my accountability three-way (ooo-er!), let’s call him D, well he’d already been thinking about this and was looking to start something pretty pronto. He introduced me to the SCRUM method that is used in IT and software development and said he was looking to implement something similar for our accountability group.
The SCRUM idea is that you constantly evaluate your efforts and actions (process goals) against an overall achievement (outcome goal). You evaluate your process goals every two weeks and have open conversations about how they’re going, what you’re doing well, what you’re not doing so well, what can be better and how you can ensure success.
D created us a spreadsheet to track our process goals each week. I must admit for all my geekiness, spreadsheets and I never made friends. I am not good on them at all so this filled me with dread a bit. However, once I saw that D has made it all spangly fandangly and had created a formula that gave us an overall success percentage rate every week, I was hooked. I’ve created short links to each of our spreadsheets that are fully visible to one another. It means I can easuly access it while at my computer or on my phone and update my daily actions. It works great because D has already been on the group WhatsApp chat challenging us about things we haven’t done yet.
The idea behind the spreadhseet and the percentages is we have outlined our weekly process goals (the actions we want to commit to for the specific number of days) and we must hit 85% success rate or more each week for that to be classed as a ‘pass’.
Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are
I know that whenever anyone does a challenge or some kind of programme that is free, they don’t value it and are quick to give up. I thought about hiring a coach to help me with this accountability but I knew that I wanted intense and daily interaction. I have a coach who is awesome but I wanted to push others and they push me too. So in order to create some kind of monetary exchange, I decided that we would all have to put money down. I looked into escrow accounts or apps that might work and couldn’t see anything suitable so suggested that we all transfer the £500 to someone we trust in our personal lives who would also cheer us on in our endeavours.
I transferred £500 out of my savings to my sister Rachel and explained that I would only get that back if I achieved my goals that I am working towards for the 90 day period. If I succeed with 85% or more on the spreadsheet each week, I will get the money back. If I don’t, that money goes to the others as long as they succeed. So if any one of us fails that’s a potential £250 or £500 coming our way, along with our original stake of £500 back.
Pretty hardcore? Hopefully, it will work to ensure we succeed!
The 90 days started yesterday and will finish on my 39th birthday. I would like to think that I will be going into the last year of my 30s feeling super accomplished and ready to continue on with all the process goals (daily actions) that will become an ingrained habit.
I’ll be updating my progress every day on my Instagram and Facebook stories.
Wish us luck!
Gemma Ray is a BBC Radio presenter, best selling author, communications coach and always the most filthy person in a WhatsApp group chat. Gemma tells it like it is and opens up about the stuff most people would never even dare admit to themselves, let alone put out in public.
Join Gemma on a refreshingly honest, powerful and inspirational journey of self love, self belief and self trust through her books, blog and free Facebook accountability group where she helps members take action on their goals.
Listen live every Sunday from 2-6pm GMT on BBC Radio Lancashire or catch up via the BBC Sounds app.