Norton: Accountability by any other name is still accountability

“There I was, alone in the kitchen, 30 days into the new year and my personal goal of shedding 25 pounds by the summer. Working from home has been a gift and a struggle. Like most, the ease of slipping into comfortable routines and working on my own schedule is a gift, especially managing work and a family. My hours, my time. However, the other thing that became too easy was finding a little snack between meals, or even an extra treat at night. Hence the 25 pounds I now need to lose. When I read your article this week about the power of accountability, and the idea of having accountability partners for different aspects of your life, I thought what a great idea. And then it hit me like a box of hidden Girl Scout cookies falling on my head. Before I go in search of any accountability partner, I need to start by looking in the mirror. I need to hold myself accountable before I ask anyone else to hold me accountable, because Mr. Norton, accountability by any other name is still accountability. Thank you, and I will email you again as I shed these pandemic pounds,” — Rebecca R.

Each week as I read and respond to the emails from our community, I find myself feeling that all of you wind up motivating and inspiring me with your stories of personal achievement. And thank you Rebecca for the inspiration for this column.

A few of the other emails I received contained this question, “What should I do if I do not have any accountability partners?” This was not the first time I heard this type of question about accountability and the potential lack of an accountability partner, let alone partners.

Another reader shared that, “Accountability is a very personal thing, and I am accountable and responsible for myself and my actions. Thank you!” Yes, exclamation point included and heard.

Although the context of that email was a bit negative, I found myself agreeing with the message. Accountability is very personal. And just like Rebecca figured out, it starts with each one of us. We are the ones who will walk through the kitchen alone with temptation everywhere, walk past the treadmill in the bedroom and hang our clothes on it instead of getting in a walk or run, or possibly turn on the television instead of sitting down to write the book we have been putting off. As a salesperson sitting at our desk, do we find ourselves looking at our lead list instead of making the calls that we know we need to make?

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When we choose to do anything else instead of what we need to do or get after what we desire most in life, we are the only ones who will see our reflection in the mirror when we brush our teeth, comb our hair or shave. And we will know in those moments of personal accountability, what it is that we can and will do better the next time.

Here is a tip that I received many years ago, and I am sure you have all heard it as well: Inspect what we expect. Many times, we take this as a great leadership or management prompt. Or we use it in our own family as we raise our children inspecting their homework, practicing of a sport, music or other activity they are passionate about. Yet sometimes we just forget about ourselves. When was the last time that we set an expectation and then inspected what we expected from ourselves? That is what we are talking about here, isn’t it, accountability?

How about you? Are you setting expectations for yourself and then inspecting what you expect? Is it a part of your personal accountability plan? I would love to hear your story at and when we realize that accountability by any other name is still accountability, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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