It’s with my heartfelt thanks to each of you readers that we come to the final piece of the Ngo-Getter blog series. The past two months have been eye-opening and challenging (since I’m not very used to diligently publishing blog posts once a week like clockwork), but I’ve learned a lot about myself and the writing process. You could say that I’ve taken some major steps to becoming a Ngo-Getter as I worked towards my writing goal. 🙂
With our final post of the Ngo-Getter blog series, it’s only fitting that we talk about what happens after we hit those milestones or achieve our goals. I’m sure most of you are still working your way towards the finish line (and it’s just been nearly two months since the series started), but you can’t forget to reward yourself along the way.
Remember, no matter how small the steps are, you’re making progress. When you’ve hit those milestones—the small goals that you hit before achieving the bigger goal—it’s proper to give yourself the occasional “pat on the back” to maintain a level of morale that will inspire you to keep going!
In this day and age, social media can have a crippling effect on people’s self-esteem. Some think they’re just getting by, with no purpose, and still trying to figure out what life is all about. But that’s exactly why celebrating what we are, what we’ve become, is that much more important to do.
By celebrating our achievements, no matter how small, we acknowledge our progress, which serves as an effective motivator—much better than treating our efforts as “business as usual”. I’m not saying that we should be handing out participation trophies to every kid in the soccer league, but rather, that when there is a real accomplishment made, the effort should be acknowledged. It could be as simple as treating yourself to an extra scoop of ice cream for memorizing and executing that chord progression you’ve been working on the past week.
Celebrating isn’t just about throwing parties and having that extra scoop of ice cream, though. With celebration, there should also be reflection. Just because you worked on something and achieved that sub-goal or milestone, doesn’t mean you can’t improve on how you worked towards it. Being a self-critic is important if you’re looking to make more efficient use of your time or incorporating more effective strategies in your journey to meet your goal.
When we make the time to celebrate even the small victories, we focus on the work we did rather than the work we didn’t or could have. There’s no point in crying over spilled milk, as the saying goes. And it’s also true that there’s no point in thinking about the what-ifs if our goals are ahead of us. Looking backwards for too long will only slow us down.
And there you have it! The end of the blog series on Becoming a Ngo-Getter. When you dedicate yourself to Ngo-Getter-ism, you’re not just dedicating to setting and achieving goals; you’re also dedicating to live your life to the fullest, to have no regrets in the things that you’ve done and will do. It’s a kind of lifestyle that involves you finding your own definition of success—not someone else’s—and being proud when you achieve it.
The goals that we set for ourselves are all well and good, but how do we ensure that we’re actually taking steps to get us closer to achieving them? Now that we’ve established our goals and are working steadily towards them, let’s talk about how we hold ourselves accountable for our progress.
During the planning stage, we talked about pinpointing milestones and activities that, once achieved, bring us closer to our goals. These milestones and activities are what will help us understand how we’re progressing and whether we’re on track to meeting them.
The Importance of Accountability
With accountability, accomplishments feel more fulfilling. And I find that holding yourself accountable to your goals provides motivation to keep pressing forward. When you’re tracking your progress on a regular basis, it allows you to see visually how you’re doing. If you’re doing well and are on track towards success, you’re going to feel proud of yourself (as you should!); likewise, if you’re not doing so hot and are behind schedule, you’re going to feel a little bad about it (as you also should).
But being behind schedule doesn’t mean that you should let it affect you to the point that you stop progressing forward. Instead, if you’re able to identify your shortcomings, you should see it as an important step in your development. When you hold yourself accountable and are able to accept the consequences of your responsibilities (good or bad), you’re holding yourself to a certain standard.
Ways to Be Accountable
If accountability is an important ingredient to success, how do we implement it into our lives?
1. Have check-ins with yourself.
At the end of the week, I think about what I’ve achieved and what I haven’t. Then I reflect on what the consequences are, as well as think about the next steps I need to take. You can do this whenever you feel fits your schedule best, whether that’s daily or monthly. If you’re your own biggest critic, evaluating yourself is like second nature—you’ll just have a more structured way of doing so.
2. Announce your goals.
This involves posting on social media or some other public platform that others can see. However, this method is definitely not for the weak of heart. Because you’re putting yourself out there on the internet, you need to be okay with failure as well as letting everyone else know you failed. But the people who are able to do this are, I find, some of the most mentally strong individuals.
3. Grab an accountability buddy.
Also known as an “accountability partner”, this person is someone who you have an invested interest in and who you’re willing to incorporate into your life. They aren’t afraid of telling you the truth when you need it, and they’re willing to call you out when you didn’t achieve what you needed to. This is my favorite way of being accountable, particularly because it encourages social bonding and because it doesn’t allow you to make half-baked excuses. And it also proves that the road to success doesn’t have to be traveled alone.
In keeping yourself accountable, you can’t make excuses when you fail. And that’s perfectly okay, as long as you’re not getting defensive when it happens. Instead, the most important thing you do after failing is learning from it.
So how do you guys feel about being accountable for your goals? For some of you, it might not be any different than how you normally operate. But it’s definitely an important part of finding success, because how else will you know you’re on your way there?
You know how we talked about scheduling your days out so that you spend an adequate amount of time on each of your goals? If you keep it up through the year(s) and continually push yourself to new limits, you’re going to eventually see results.
That brings us to our next piece in the Ngo-Getter series: consistency. I think this is the most vulnerable part of the process, where people allow themselves to be sidetracked. The moment we lower the priority on our goals, the easier it will be to fall off the wagon.
Consistency is what builds habits and, conversely, it’s what breaks them. Like if you’re trying to build up your blog (e.g., me), it’s important to be consistent with your publishing schedule. Or if you’re trying to break your bad habit of sleeping late (e.g., also me), you need to maintain a nightly ritual to wind-down and get to bed at a decent time.
Consistency can also help build discipline. When you’re trying to stick to a routine to work towards your goals, it’s too easy to let laziness win. You need to fight that laziness day by day, but there’s no easier way than to just do the things you need to. Don’t feel like going to the gym today? Barring any illness or extenuating circumstances, you have no excuse.
The nitty-gritty part of success encompasses everything in the Ngo-Getter series we’ve talked about so far, but consistency is what builds your efforts into success. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, but SUCCESS DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. Say it with me! “Success doesn’t happen overnight.”
And that’s why consistency is so important. Being consistent allows us to accumulate our efforts over time, which, if done right, typically results in success. It’s not enough that I pick up the banjo once every blue moon; I need to make sure I spend at least two hours each week learning chords and practicing strumming. Otherwise, I fall out of practice and won’t be able to learn how to play.
A word of caution that I feel like I need to give, in case my talk on consistency gets misinterpreted—when I say, “be consistent”, I don’t mean you need to be consistently good or consistently perfect. If you’re always practicing, always trying to find ways to improve, then you’re bound to make mistakes, and some of your attempts will flop. It’s perfectly natural to be afraid to fail along the way, but you shouldn’t let that fear stop you from keeping up your efforts.
Don’t be like me with my vlogging goal. I still haven’t pushed through my fear of creating something dumb, and where does that leave me? With no experience and still at square one. It’s going to require more willpower than expected, but I need to just create and not let the prospect of making a dumb video stall my progress. The only one keeping me back is me.
So the short story of all this? Build up the good habits, break out of the bad, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long as you’re pushing steadily forward. That’s how you’ll ensure that you’re always getting better, always moving forward towards achieving your goals.
Otherwise, you’re just stagnant. And who wants that?