Being accountable is more than just getting things done. It’s about achieving what’s most important for you, even if outside forces undermine your dreams and goals. See if you’ve heard (or uttered) these before:

  • “Our business partner didn’t complete his part of the assignment.”
  • “The vendor didn’t ship the part on time.”
  • “The service guy only completed half of the service.”
  • “One of our employees keeps coming in late.”
  • “This economy just won’t turn around so we can sell more product.”

I bet you can add a few more personal examples to this list of conspiracies, but here’s the brutal truth: Excuses never produce results!

So why do some people seem to achieve their dreams and goals, in spite of significant obstacles, while others don’t? The answer has little to do with intellect, skills or environment. It has everything to do with accountability – being 100% responsible for your actions and results. It simply means you personally assuming that if you’re not getting what you want or you’re not achieving your dreams and goals, it’s because of you – you not doing something or you not doing the right thing. The key to achieving your goals and dreams is to become more accountable. Here are four steps that can help you do so:

1. Accept reality.

Don’t spend time and energy complaining about something over which you have absolutely no control. Some things you just cannot change. Wishing it weren’t so is a time waster. It actually impedes your creativity in finding ways to work around or with the current reality. Always accept reality for what it is, not what you would like it to be. That’’ll enable you to move forward rather than getting stalled in the past.

2. Take ownership.

Can someone else really solve your problems or achieve your dreams and goals for you? Of course not. When things go wrong or don’t work out as planned, don’t blame others. Take responsibility for the current condition. Doing so allows you to focus on the condition, not the circumstances, and enables you to get to the right solution for the right reason.

3. Find solutions.

You can create all kinds of reasons that something can’t be done. So what; nothing is perfect. It’s pretty easy to criticize or find fault with anything. In reality, it’s just about as easy and definitely more productive to create solutions. You may not create the best solutions right away; but by consciously staying in a “problem solving” mode rather than a “why me?” mode, you will come up with many alternatives. In short order, you will come up with the right solution.

4. Take action.

Rationalizing a problem, waiting for things to change or hoping things will get better won’t solve any problem. If you want different results or if you want a change, someone, somewhere, somehow has to do something differently. That will only happen by taking action.

100% accountability is tough. It takes energy and courage to do things that make us uncomfortable, even if we know they have to be done. The brutal truth is that not accepting reality, not taking ownership, not finding solutions and not taking action make you a victim of your circumstances, subject to the outcomes of other people’s actions. Don’t leave the fulfillment of your dreams and goals to others. Become accountable by following the four steps.