How to Hold Yourself Accountable | Ashley Varner

How to Hold Yourself Accountable

Are you someone who bends over backwards to keep your word to other people, but can’t seem to keep your word to yourself? You set time aside to exercise or have a day off and other things always get in the way and push it aside. Today we’re talking about how you can take your thoughts captive and learn to master self-accountability in the process!

Resources Mentioned:

Free Time Management Workshop: https://ashleyvarner.com/time
The Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset

Highlights From the Episode:

Are you someone who will bend over backward to keep your word to somebody else, but whenever you set aside time for yourself, you just can’t ever seem to keep your word to yourself? I want to talk to you today about how you can take your thoughts captive and learn how to master self-accountability. This is going to be a skill that is going to help you through all kinds of different avenues and areas of your life. So let’s jump in.

Hey there, and welcome to “The Renewed Mind.” I am your host, Ashley Varner. I am so glad to be here with you. And so thankful that you are here. If this is the first time that you have seen one of my videos, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself. I am a Christian life coach. I teach women about mindset, specifically how to take their thoughts captive, and how to manage their minds and emotions. And every month we have a different topic that I discuss each week. I talk about things from managing your mind around time, to dealing with negative emotions. So if you want to check out some of our past playlists, go ahead and check those out.

But all of this month, I really wanna dive deep into what it means to take your thoughts captive. And one difficulty that seems to pop up over and over with my private clients is the idea of self-accountability.

The Benefits of Accountability from Others

So we all know the benefits of accountability from other people, having an accountability partner, whether it is in like a weight-loss setting or just anything, keeping our house clean, right? Whenever we know a friend is coming over, we have that accountability. It’s easier to get our house picked up and clean versus if nobody’s coming over, right?

But I want you to start thinking about the ability that you have by managing your mind to start to have self-accountability and really master this skill. So there are some benefits to having accountability from other people. And the reason for this is because we care about what other people think of us, right? We care about their opinions of us.

I think that somewhere in that we know if we don’t accomplish what we’re supposed to do, if we don’t complete what we’re supposed to do, we know that we’ll be found out, right? We know that there is gonna be some, not a consequence necessarily, but we know that we might let somebody else down. We might disappoint someone else. And that’s why having an accountability partner is so helpful because like, say, let’s talk about like a health journey.

If you need to get up at six o’clock in the morning to take a run, and you know that someone else is waiting for you, you are going to be way more likely to show up on time because you know that there’s someone else who’s gonna be waiting for you. Versus if you’re just taking a walk or a run on your own, there’s no one there at your doorstep waiting for you if you decide to hit the snooze button.

Now I think that there’s another area that we need to talk about whenever we consider accountability with other people and that is this idea that we don’t want to break our word to someone else. So if we tell someone that we are going to do something, we wanna be the kind of person that does what they say they’re going to do. And this is something that we can kind of cross over whenever we talk about self-accountability.

But I think it’s a mindset because we think that we have made our word to somebody and now we need to stand up for that word. We need to not break that word to somebody. So we care about what other people think of us. We’re worried about being found out if we don’t meet up to what we said we were gonna do and we don’t wanna break our word to somebody.

How to Be Self Accountable

Now let’s talk about how we can take some of those same tactics into mastering self-accountability. So how do you really become someone who is able to be accountable to themselves? That comes with really starting small in different areas of your life.

So, one example of this could be in your Bible study time and this is something I teach over and over. And in the Thrive Bible Study Vault, there is a great way to start a process of Bible study if this is something that you’re interested in. Because I help women to start small with really just pockets of time so that they hold themselves accountable, and they’re able to really show up for themselves. And really it starts small by having small commitments.

And that might not seem like it does anything in the short term, but what you’re doing is you’re building trust with yourself. You’re saying, “Okay, I said, I was gonna do this. This is a three to five-minute Bible study and I’m going to stay true to my word.” And because it’s small, it’s easy, right? Because we’re not committing to like an hour-long Bible study, we’re just kind of getting our feet wet. We’re really just working our commitment muscle, right?

And as we are learning how to be self-accountable, one thing that keeps coming up over and over is the idea of over-committing. So this could be something that you commit to yourself of Bible study. It could be health. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t start by putting “run 10 miles” on your calendar. That’s over-committing. If you wanna run a marathon, you might start by taking a one-mile jog and then working up from there. So it’s just like a regular muscle in your body. As you are working to build up this accountability muscle, you have to start small.

And then once you know, and you’re able to build trust with yourself to accomplish those small things, then you can add more big things. And this is really a biblical principle because the Bible says whoever’s faithful in little will be faithful in much. And if you are faithful in the small things, then what you’re doing is you are building trust with yourself and then you’re gonna be able to be more committed, more capable, to be held accountable to bigger things.

Now I teach a lot about mindset, and I think that self-accountability is definitely all mindset, right? It’s all our thoughts. So sometimes we think that the reason we don’t commit to something is because of the circumstances that are impacting our lives. And really your circumstances have very little to do with the way that you are feeling and the way that you’re acting.

So if you have a plan to do something and a circumstance comes in, you always have the choice to think about that circumstance differently so that you get a different result. And I think that one area where we can really start to think differently about staying committed and being held accountable to ourselves is to realize that just because other people won’t, I guess, quote-unquote find out, or there’s no immediate disappointment that we’re causing other people, it doesn’t mean that there are no consequences to not committing.

So say let’s take that example of going for a run in the morning. If you are alone, it’s just you. Sure, no, one’s gonna find out if you don’t take that run, but I guarantee you whenever you are running that race and you can hardly run a mile, people are gonna know that you weren’t training, right? And so if you just think about that fact that it’s not just about the immediate consequence of somebody finding out, but there really is… Just because no one sees it, doesn’t mean there’s not gonna be a consequence after the fact.

I like to think about the many years that I would eat kind of in secret and not want to eat in front of people. I mean, I would eat normal meals, but if I was gonna snack or something like that, I felt way more comfortable doing it privately because I thought if no one saw me then there was no consequence. But really as my weight ballooned up and up, it made a huge difference and so people saw that. So even though I was… They saw that I wasn’t being accountable to myself.

Now the same is true whenever you’re losing weight. So if you are working out and no one sees that, there’s still going to be the benefit of that on the other end, even if you’re the only one holding yourself accountable. It all comes down to changing your thinking. And that’s why this episode is during the Taking Your Thoughts Captive, kind of a deep dive on taking your thoughts captive. Because what you have to do is look at the motivation for what you’re doing and then figure out what thought is driving that motivation.

Because if you can change your thinking, you will change the way that you feel, your emotions, and your emotions automatically result in different actions or inaction. So if you are feeling tired and your thought behind that is I’ve already worked hard all day. I don’t wanna go to the gym. You feel tired. It’s gonna cause you to sit down on the couch, right? If you had a long day at work and you think, it’s the same day, right?

In the same circumstance, and you feel tired, you can change your thinking to say, you know what? I had a long day at work. I know that going to the gym is going to help me relieve some of this stress and energize me. That’s going to lead to motivation. And then you’re actually working out. Now, I know a lot of these examples are with exercise because I think that’s where a lot of us fall short whenever it comes to self-accountability, but really any area of your life can benefit from you mastering the skill of holding yourself accountable. Because while I think it’s great to have an accountability partner, at the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself, right?

And so whenever God has placed dreams in your heart or really tasks in your hand things that he wants you to do you are held accountable for those things. And you can’t go to God and say, “Well, I didn’t have a friend to kind of push me forward. So I didn’t do it.” No, we have to learn how to be self-disciplined and really work at that self-control, that’s a fruit of the spirit to say, “I am going to do the things that I say I’m going to do.”

Being someone who does what they say they will do

Now, I just wanna end this video by talking a little bit about how self-accountability changes who you are. It actually changes your identity. So whenever you become someone who can master this skill of being held accountable to yourself, of this self-accountability, what happens is you begin to become someone who does what they say they will do, not just to other people, but to yourself.

So if you know that you are going to say you’re going to fast for two meals out of the day, maybe you’re gonna try intermittent fasting because you’ve built up this skill of self-accountability. You know that you have made this word to yourself, and you are gonna hold yourself accountable. You’re not gonna break your own word to yourself. And this comes in really clearly whenever we are looking at things like self-care and rest because if I make a plan to take a rest, to sleep in, if I make that plan ahead of time and I’m resting, but something comes up, am I really keeping my word to myself?

So it’s not just keeping your word on doing things and like having all these tasks and being productive. But it’s also about the self-care aspect where I’m gonna hold myself accountable to actually get the rest that I need. That means if it’s 10 o’clock or 10:30 at night and I wanna watch another episode of something, I will say no because I’m someone who does what they say they’re gonna do. And if rest is important to me and I say I’m gonna go to bed at 10:30, then it doesn’t matter what the cliffhanger was on the episode I just finished. I’m not going to start the next episode, right?

So you can look at this from a lot of different areas in your life. Another area that really becomes beneficial whenever you’re holding yourself accountable and you really learn how to keep yourself accountable without needing someone else to do that for you, is that you realize the benefits of being honest with yourself.

So I kind of alluded to this whenever I talked about training for a marathon, but if you know that you’re not physically fit enough to run 10 miles, don’t commit yourself to that. You can be honest with yourself and say, “This is where I’m at. This is where I’m gonna start.”

So, so often, sometimes in our twenties and thirties, we look at our Bible study time and we think this is where I should be. And so we start to try and commit to this huge where we are meditating for 20 minutes and then we’re reading the Bible for 20 minutes. And then we’re praying for this amount of time. And we have all of these things stacked up when we need to be honest with ourselves and say, “Is this the season that I’m in?” But also, is my spiritual life trained? Am I holding myself accountable enough that I know I can commit to this?

Because I guarantee you that God is going to be pleased if you commit to five minutes a day and are consistent with that and then slowly build on that, than saying, “I’m going to read my Bible for an hour every day,” and then maybe do it for one day. And then it kind of falls to the wayside, right? So I want you to be someone who can be really consistent. And honestly, whenever we are learning how to be self-accountable, it really boils down to maturity in our faith.

Let me explain what I mean a little bit by this. So being someone who does what they say they’re going to do is a mark of maturity. And I say that it’s maturity in your faith because whenever you say this is the character, this is the kind of character that I wanna have, this is the kind of person that I wanna be, and then you go out and live that out, that’s what having mature faith is. That’s what it means to be mature in your faith and really recognize that it’s about the actions as much as it is about the motivation.

I like to give this example, and it’s not mine.. I believe I first heard it from Priscilla Shirer, but she talks about the difference between faith and action and how, if you have say a gas stove, and you are clicking it on, you need both the electricity and the gas to cook on the stove, right? And if you don’t have one or the other, if the propane is out, all the electricity can click that stove, but you’re not gonna get a flame. And if you have the propane, but there’s no electricity, you’re going to have to come up with something else for energy, like a match or something, to start that stove.

You need both, and so whenever you’re thinking about maturing in your faith, don’t think about it’s just the mental side of faith, but being self-accountable is learning how to put your faith in action and how to not just say something, that you say that you believe something or say that you’re gonna do something, but actually show it on the other end and do it.

So I see this happen over and over in my own life, in the lives of my friends, where something is important to them, and they don’t just think about it, they actually do it. I have one friend who really felt like she was supposed to be involved in her child’s public education. And she didn’t just say it. She didn’t just think it, she actually ran for the school board and won and serves on the school board.

I want you to see the areas where maybe you’re just doing lip service and you’re not holding yourself accountable to commit to the actions. This could be in your health. It could be in your business. It could be in your spiritual life, in your family. Maybe it is even like a laundry routine or something like that. Self-accountability is a huge skill that is going to help you across the board.

I wanted to just really quickly mention a couple of resources that I have on this topic. The first is a free time management workshop called How To Create More Time. And I really teach you how to manage your mind around time so that you’re able to commit to the things that you wanna commit to.

Free Time Management Workshop: https://ashleyvarner.com/time

The second resource that I have for you is a six-week program called The Mindset Reset. That is really an in-depth teaching on how your circumstances have very little to do with your emotions or your actions or the results in your life. So if you’re interested in learning how you can kind of rise above circumstances in your life, that is definitely going to be a great program for you.

The Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset

I will see you guys next time. Thanks for watching.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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