Holding Yourself Accountable to Your Results is a Productivity Error

Today I’ve been building my Scorecard, in between the day’s main tasks.

I’ve followed Asian Efficiency’s recommendations on their post: 5 Common Mistakes That Cause the 12 Week Year to Fail.

  1. Focus on the critical few. Don’t try to change it all.
  2. Create a compelling personal vision – How is each action taking you toward that?
  3. Plan and review religiously.
  4. Make the tracking system piss-easy.
  5. Focus on the input (your actions) not the output (your results)

(I’ve flipped them into positives and paraphrased a fair bit 😉 )

Number 1 has been perhaps the hardest. I DO want to do it all! Or at least more than I can likely handle.

Number 2 is very important, and maybe I need to go back to that. What can I cut out and still make it to the important bits of my personal vision?

Here’s a bit of Gary talking about the importance of knowing your destination.

The destination informs every step.

You’re Not Responsible for Your Goal

Number 5 is crucial. It’s the whole point of having a scorecard in the first place – so you can “score” your input, not just the output.

Here’s why:

You should not be held accountable to your goal (the output).

The system for achieving your goal (the input) should be held accountable to your goal.

You should only be held accountable to implementing the system. 

The system is just a hypothesis, waiting to be proved wrong or right. Working back from your goal, you decide this little list of steps and habits will produce the results.

e.g. If you want to lose weight, you might try cutting out processed carbohydrates. That’s just a hypothesis. A theory. The internet says it will work, but will it work for you? You have no responsibility to make it work. It’s not up to you to make the scales go down. Your only responsibility is to implement the system.

Maybe you get rid of temptation in your house, find a diet-buddy, get a meal plan, order groceries online. Whatever makes it easier to implement, make it a part of the system. Because your only responsibility is to the system. Not the results. The results are up to the system.

If it doesn’t work, then the system was disproved – but only if you implemented it.

There’s the goddam rub.

The results are “scored” automatically. The bathroom scales are staring back at you. Your “score” doesn’t look good, and you take it oh-so-personally. But you didn’t score the bit you were actually responsible for – your implementation.

If you have your implementation score in hand, and it’s not good, then the system is wasn’t tested. It could still work.

All that’s left is to ask yourself – what got in the way of me doing this? With the scorecard, you can look at it objectively. You didn’t have time to make a proper meal on certain days. Why is that? Are your meals too complex? Did you forget to stock high protein snacks to keep your mouth busy during the cravings?

With the right data, you’re focusing on the bit that counts, the bit that you can actually control… which is not the end result.

For more on the systems-approach to goal setting, I highly recommend James Clear’s article: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.


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