How to turn accountability from a negative nag into an paragon of positivity

Yes, a hard question to start: Do you hold yourself accountable?

Do you follow through and do the things that you say you are going to do? (Squirming yet?)

Or, do you think about, say, going to the gym, but find that over and over again, that you don’t go?

Do things seem to get in the way—like a bad night’s sleep, an argument with your partner, an obligation—and you talk yourself out of going?

Similarly, how often do you formulate a plan for a round of golf such as, “Today, I will play with a sense of trust.”

But after a few bad holes, instead of following your plan, you find yourself once again looking for a solution for whatever bad shot is dominating your round.

Whether the plan was to go to the gym or trust your swing—and you’ve once again abandoned it—the feeling is usually one of disappointment and sadness.

In life and golf, it’s not uncommon to have noble thoughts and grand plans to take action, but find that over and over again you remain stuck in old patterns, spinning your wheels.

Accountability can empower you to get unstuck.

Accountability? Yuk! What fun is that? For me, it conjures up an interrogation. Such as a drill sergeant, yelling, “Did you or did you not shine your boots, soldier?” Or the boss asking why a report was late?

Accountability has a serious PR problem; it comes off like running a guantlet of blame, shame and condemnation.

If accountability is such a nagging nabob of negativity, why would a golfer want to hold him/herself accountable? Isn’t the golf course a place to escape from stress, and being worried about something as distasteful as being held accountable?

Indeed, accountability is hard. It is a no-BS zone. The answers to questions about your accountability are either yes or no. Not maybe, I don’t know, stuff happened or my dog ate my homework.

By virtue of its clear and unrelenting nature, accountability is powerful.

And you can harness that power and use it as a positive force.

If you flip the perception of accountability, it’s a process that can move you toward the things you want to do, and to be the person and golfer you really want to be.

Holding ourselves to account spurs us to take action to do the things we say we’re going to do.

It’s actually a gateway to freedom.

I know that seems really weird. How can I be free by holding myself accountable? Doesn’t holding myself accountable mean that I am hemmed in, locked into doing something, committed to an action? In other words, the opposite of free?

I’m talking about the freedom that comes from taking the action that moves you toward what you really want in your life.

Freedom from shrinking back because you’re afraid of failure, freedom from allowing your story to overwhelm you, freedom from allowing your thoughts to run away with you, freedom from your old patterns, freedom from talking yourself out of what you want for yourself.

By holding yourself accountable you can move yourself toward what you really want—for yourself, your family, your community, your golf, and even your career.

In next week’s ezine, I’ll elaborate on how starting small with accountability can lead to big changes.

If kickstarting your 2018 season is important to you, I encourage you to contact me at or 519.835.5939 about a complimentary coaching session. Let’s talk and see what happens.

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!