Budgeting, saving and giving, all three are things we are not hardwired to do. We need discipline and we need accountability to accomplish all three. For some, self-discipline comes easier than it does to others. But, at some point we all need accountability to help us along the way.
This past weekend I was reminded why accountability was important as I went through our budget. We had a rough month of March as our spending was a little over the top. We had been doing great for the first two months of this year. My wife and I needed to hold each other accountable for each other’s spending. It reminded me when I was in college playing soccer.
In the spring semester we would have to be up at 6am for a morning run with the team. I’m not a morning person, but I did have a roommate who was on the team so we could wake each other up and keep each other accountable to go run. There were no coaches, just the captains/players in the morning runs. It’s a hard thing to do, waking up to go run, it doesn’t come natural and even when we do it consistently it isn’t something anyone enjoys. Well, one morning as you can imagine, neither me nor my roommate had woken up to meet the team for our run. Suddenly, I heard a slight rumble down our dorm room hall. I was still in that dream state, but it was on me like a flash, our bedroom door had flung open and quickly my desk chair was being thrown onto my bed as our entire team had run to our room to wake us up. As they used a chair to wake me, my roommate watched in a dream like daze. I was caught in the act!
As they exited our room and finally left I tried to fall back asleep, then found out I couldn’t, because when you realize you messed up you quickly start thinking of excuses of why this happened to you. When I got to practice that day everyone had a go at me for missing that morning run. I naturally tried to blame it on my alarm clock then my roommate, neither of which worked. I was disappointed in myself and I had let the team down, that was enough to keep me from sleeping in again. And never on all the runs we went on did we wake anyone else up. It was only that day I had missed.
We need accountability. This doesn’t apply just to life but in finances. How do you reach your financial goals to retire by 60, to save for a down payment on a house, or to pay for your kids’ college? Without someone to come alongside you it’s easy to sleep in everyday and not be held accountable for failing to reach your financial goals. When we have accountability we have no one else to blame but ourselves.
So, find that person who will push you, take you to the next level, or simply be there as support to tell you when you screw up. I was disappointed in myself that day, but knew my teammates would quickly forgive me. That’s what is great about accountability; it is a loving way to tell someone they can and should do better.