Post By: Stephanie Falotico, LMSW | Tuesday, May 19, 2020

sport psychology performance STRESS accountability

Take 30 seconds, maybe even a minute, to really think about a task or accomplishment that you have been working toward or putting off. This could be a task as menial as doing the laundry, to improving your free throw percentage, increasing your batting average, or something as life changing as deciding to push for that big promotion.

Now, take another beat to ponder the following:

What is in the way between you and completing that task?

What is holding you back from accomplishing your goal?

Why haven't you gone for it?

Of all the things you thought were in your way, were you, one of those things? What if I said you are the reason you are not succeeding, that you are the only thing standing in your own way?
It's overwhelmingly common, and simply easier sometimes to point the finger, make excuses, or just let the clothes continue to pile up on the floor hoping you get to the laundry someday.

However, that is a victim behavior and a victim mentality. We are allowing these things to happen to us. When we are not actively and consciously choosing to act, to make a change, we are allowing others to move ahead of us, take our spot in the lineup, take our seat at the table. Having a victim mentality will never allow you to perform at your highest level. Functioning from a victim frame of mind, may get you what you need, but it will never get you what you really want, or to where you really want to go.

Go back to that task or that accomplishment that you've had in mind while reading. Now ask yourself these following questions and be honest in your responses.

Am I ready to step up to the line of reality?

Am I done blaming others and making excuses?

Am I sick of sitting with my anxiety, the frustration of not being where I want to be, wallowing in this sense of ambivalence?

If not, set a timer for 30 seconds, two minutes, five minutes max. Give yourself permission to sit in your self-pity a little longer, and then continue reading. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Alright, step up to that metaphorical line of reality. That threshold between victim behaviors and accountable behaviors. The shift from allowing things to happen to you, to making things happen because of you. Take a deep breath and step, leap, hop, skip, or jump over that line.

Acknowledge Reality

Repeat after me. I acknowledge that I have been standing in my own way. I am not where I want to be or doing what I should be doing.

The first step to practicing accountable behaviors is to simply acknowledge your situation. Acceptance is the first step to change after all. An important part of this step is acknowledging that you are taking full responsibility for where you are and the situation you are ready to tackle. You are the one who has the power to keep climbing the ladder.

Embrace it.

Repeat after me. I need to make a change. I am ready to embrace the reality that I will not be successful until I actively choose to do something about my situation.

The next rung on the Accountability Ladder is all about embracing what I like to call the "Suck", also known as, the discomfort of making a change. You know, that "wait you mean to tell me if I want to lose 20 pounds, I'm going to have to stop eating like crap, do some cardio, and...oh gosh... BURPEES?" kind of discomfort. Maybe you are going to have to prepare yourself to have some difficult conversations, you are going to have to limit or remove necessary distractions, make a concentrated effort to schedule the time necessary, or, speaking of time, maybe you need to embrace the fact that now, simply isn't your time.

Find solutions

Repeat after me. I may not know what I need to do, but I am ready to think about it. I am ready to plan the steps necessary to accomplish my goal or complete my task.

Now that you have acknowledged a change is needed, and you have embraced the fact that it may not be easy, let's get to work. Plan out your next steps. Break this big scary goal or task into smaller, less daunting tasks. Bring that goal or task back to the forefront of your mind. I am now going to ask you to think of three small steps that you can take towards achievement. Break your steps down. One step you can take today, one step you can commit to taking within the next two weeks, and a step you can be accountable for within the next month.

Make it Happen.

Repeat after me. I got this.

You've acknowledged it, you've embraced it, you've planned for it, and now all that is left to do is make it happen. You do have this. Remind yourself why this accomplishment is so important to you. Remind yourself why this is worth the discomfort. You have to count on yourself to make this happen, but that does not mean you do not have supports along the way. Identify some accountability partners. Find a mentor. Do your research. Put in the time. Make it happen.

A final reminder to close out. If you happen to slip down a few rungs, that's okay. Start the climb again. If you happen to slip below that line back into victim behaviors, set your timer, feel your feelings, and then get your ass back over that line. And of course, when you need help, reach out to a mental performance coach at Mindurance.