A personal accountability contract is basically a written agreement between two or more people to hold themselves mutually responsible for completing a set of tasks, usually over a fixed period of time.

The idea behind such an agreement is that individuals are more likely to fulfil the obligations if they know one another will scrutinise their work and hold them accountable.

The contract is set up so that each person will verify that the other is carrying out their part of the task. It creates mutual monitoring and verification, which may help to increase productivity.

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Creating a personal accountability contract template

Step 1:Think of the action you want to take and break it down into tasks.

For example, if you want to improve your diet you might make a list of the foods you should eat more of, and those you should eat less.

Step 2:Decide how long you are going to work on the task.

If you aim for three months, write your contract for that period. Specify the start and end dates.

Step 3:Decide if you want to sign your name to the contract or not.

If you don’t sign, the person with whom you’re sharing the contract can still hold you accountable; they may just not do so publicly. If someone else signs it, he is agreeing that he will hold himself accountable as well as you.

Step 4:Decide if you want to share it with.

Your friends, family, or co-workers. Whoever you share it with should be someone who will hold you accountable and can give you support.

Step 5:Include a time to check in with each other on progress at least once a month by phone or email.

This can be the person’s opportunity to give feedback and suggest that the contract is adjusted so that both people feel comfortable.

Step 6:Specify the penalties for each person if they fail to meet their obligations.

If one person always fails to do his part, he might be required to buy dinner for his partner, for example.

Step 7:Agree on who will be responsible for paying any penalties if someone fails to meet his obligations.

The person with whom you’re sharing the contract may have an account that has a certain amount set aside each month, in which case the penalty is paid into that account. But if the person has no set-aside account, the money might come out of his personal bank account.

Step 8:Reassess the contract before it ends.

If it’s working well, don’t change it. But if you feel that it isn’t working for you, try renegotiating the terms or ending it sooner than planned.

Step 9:Remember to exercise self-discipline every day.

If you’re tempted to “crash” or give up on your diet, for example, you’re less likely to stick with it.

The concept of personal accountability is not a new one; various types of contracts have been around for centuries. But the focus has shifted from the traditional marriage contract in which a man and woman promised to be faithful to each other in order to get married.t

In today’s fast-paced, breakneck-paced and highly competitive society, we have more and more people trying to achieve success in their lives by doing things that are directly opposite to the idea of personal accountability; they are choosing instead to act as if they are not personally accountable for anything.

I have observed personally on a number of occasions how people have reacted negatively when someone else has been brave enough to hold them accountable.

Examples of personal accountability contracts

Here are some examples of the above steps to help you understand this concept. All examples are based on one person keeping accounts with another person.

1. To improve my diet

I made a list of foods that I should eat more of and foods that I should eat less of. For example, if I opt for a bagel instead of a slice of bread for breakfast one day, I could be held accountable for paying more money to eat the bagel. If I opt for the same sandwich the next day, i.e., if it is exactly the same sandwich I’ve already had before, then this “choice” will not count toward my personal accountability contract with someone else.

2. To make more sales

I made a list of the activities I should do to make more sales. For example, I could be held accountable for placing an ad in the newspaper. If I don’t put the ad in the newspaper this month, then the person with whom I am sharing my contract will hold me accountable by paying me some money out of his pocket that he would have otherwise spent on something else. This is an example of negative accountability.

3. To improve my health and lose fifteen pounds

I made a list of foods that I should eat more of and foods that I should eat less of. For example, if I opt for a bagel instead of a slice of bread for breakfast one day, I could be held accountable for paying more money to eat the bagel. If I opt for the same sandwich the next day, i.e. if it is exactly the same sandwich I’ve already had before, then this “choice” will not count toward my personal accountability contract.

4. To get new customers

I made a list of the activities I should do to make more sales. For example, I could be held accountable for placing an ad in the newspaper this month. If I don’t put the ad in the newspaper this month, then the person with whom I am sharing my contract will hold me accountable by paying me some money out of his pocket that he would have otherwise spent on something else. This is an example of positive accountability.

5. To learn a new language

I made a list of the activities I should do to learn a new language. For example, if I opt for studying Spanish instead of Portuguese one day, I could be held accountable for paying more money to study Spanish. If I opt for the same course the next day, then this “choice” will not count toward my personal accountability contract with someone else.

6. To improve my math skills

I made a list of the activities I should do to make more sales. For example, if I opt for going out one night instead of studying algebra one night this month, then it is possible that the person with whom I am sharing my contract will hold me accountable by paying me some money out of his pocket that he would have otherwise spent on something else.

Conclusion

Personal accountability is the path to growth and personal development so creating an accountability contract is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your personal development toolbox.

If you are interested in learning more about Personal Accountability, we have created a guide that will help you learn more about personal accountability and steps to developing it.

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