Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for your actions. As pharmacists, we often council our patients to be accountable for taking their medications regularly or in supporting them to make better health decisions. But how are we practicing accountability in our daily lives?

Here are 4 ways to hold yourself accountable to create goals and objectives without feeling stressed, while keeping it fun and motivating. Create a vision board, identify what you want to accomplish and by when to reach your goals, measure your progress, and create your support team.

1. Create Your Vision Board

I am a big believer of creating a vision board. A vision board forces you to create your roadmap and to own your game at the end of the year. Set aside time to think about what you want to really accomplish for the new year. Maybe it is to finally travel to that place you have always wanted to go, obtain additional skills/education, save money, build business relationships, or create healthy/exercise habits. Remember, thinking about your end game does not make it become real. You need to write it down on paper. For me a vision board is one way that helps me to visualize my goals so that they become  real. So, grab some glue, magazines, your favorite beverage, and 2 hours when you are relaxed to put together a board that has pictures, words, and images that will help to tell your story of what you would like to accomplish for the year. Be specific and place it in a spot where can look at it and review it often.

2. Chunk it Down

You feel great because you created your vision board but feel overwhelmed because you may be unsure where to begin. Write down your high-level goals. I call them buckets. These buckets may include relationships, financial, health, business, or career. Under each bucket, write down what you want to accomplish. This is your “what.” Now that you have identified your “what,” then write down when you want to accomplish it. This is your “when.” Come up with 3 things each month to do by the end of each month. As you are checking items off your list, for the next new month, add 3 new “what by when” under each bucket that will help you with your overall goals,

3. Measure It

If you do not measure it, you cannot achieve it. Milestones are critical. It helps you to create a check and balance system to hold yourself accountable to your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to cut out junk food or drink less sodas, and your current actions are to eat dinner and lunch eat out every day or drink soda at every meal, your new actions could be to take 15 minutes to prepare your lunch the night before. Bring bottled water with you and drink that instead. Turn it into a game and track how often you make your lunch for the week and amount of water you drank that week. Try to out-do yourself each week to keep motivated. If you love tables and charts, create one or find an app that will enable you to review and track your progress.

4. Build Your Power Support Structures

Support structures are instrumental in holding you accountable to your goals. For example, enroll your pharmacy colleagues and friends to support you in keeping your resolutions. This is the fun part because you can share your goals and vision board for the year with them, create a check-in system to share your progress, and acknowledge your progress and have them acknowledge your efforts. This is the opportunity to become vulnerable, build trust, collaborate to build a team of supporters who are there for you.