Accountability and Boundaries
How holding yourself accountable creates motivation
Accountability is a way to remind yourself of the values you hold, and keep yourself to them, aligning your actions to your values. There are several ways to do this. For instance, yesterday I posted about how I use the MAD EPIC acronym to boost my motivation to open a broker account. I finally decided to go through with this action. Commiting to only this step. I’m practicing what I preach. It is about expressing what is important to you, what you identify with, and keeping true to that identity. It is closely related to the concept of cognitive dissonance in which the perception of unevenness between your actions and values causes one of those to change.
A second way to keep myself accountable is logging my actions. This helps me to be aware of my actions. I’m not judging them or reviewing them consciously, at least not yet. Reviewing is what I sometimes do at the end of the day. Or sometimes halfway during the day. Logging your actions is like connecting to your external world and your internal world. It is being in touch with reality, and not your thoughts. Reviewing is connecting those worlds.
Tools I use for logging are pen and paper to write down my actions. This year I started using a spreadsheet. The benefit of using a spreadsheet over using pen and paper is that you can more easily find your past actions and search through them. Also, when reviewing you can give scores on a scale from 1 to 10 for your actions. This can help to extract those actions that are most beneficial to you. When you feel overwhelmed this will really come in handy.
Holding yourself accountable is a way to take ownership of your life. To feel more in control. Logging your actions allows you to see where you spend your time. What is wasteful. What costs you a lot of time. Reviewing your log allows you to be fully aware of the consequences of your actions. It motivates to remove or reduce what is harmful. For instance, is it really worth watching hours of videographic material? Is it worth playing mobile games for 6 hours a week? If no, wouldn’t it be better to have a life without what is harmful to you? Replace it with what is more healthy and beneficial to you.
Remove what is harmful, add what is more beneficial
That is where boundaries come into play. Setting boundaries and keeping protecting them is true freedom. Urge others to respect your boundaries. Be disciplined in your energy expenditure, acting according to the constraints you have set. Remember, it is easier to control yourself than others. Do not push your standards and constraints onto others. Diligently stay true to your values, and allow others to stay true to what they feel is important. You can be interested in their values, it does not mean you have to have the same values. If you respect the values of others, they will be more likely to respect yours, and perhaps they may even conspire with you to achieve your goals.
What are healthy boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are related to healthy motivation. You have your innate motivation that comes from your core characteristics. It is the motivation that comprises your tendencies. For instance, introverts might have more motivation to withdraw than extraverts. There is a motivation for external stimulation: To be connected to the world. To be part of the world, and be in harmony with it. People intuitively are aware that their needs, and the fulfillment of those needs, are always dependent on the environment.
Inspired by what the philosopher Nishida said:
You are what you are not
What makes you unique as a person are the characteristics that sets you apart from your environment. Your identity is dependent on the identity of your environment. You cannot be, you cannot exist independently from the environment. You cannot be in a void.
Know who you are, what you core characteristics are, what your tendencies are. Then protect your values that align with your identity. In order to live fully, according to what is important to you, it is absolutely necessary to sense your internal and your external world. Become aware of those worlds, how you partake in them. Logging is sensing. Logging your actions helps you to become aware of what is harmful and beneficial. It holds you accountable. Reviewing is thinking about positive change. Then you choose to act, wishing yourself a future with more joy and less suffering.