Accountability Experiment: My Goals

Hello I Am Accountable Name Tag Responsibility ScapegoatI’m trying something different this month. I’m going to report on my personal experience with accountability coaching.

If you’re unfamiliar with accountability coaching, it’s a process of commitment and reporting. You promise can be anything that you wouldn’t normally do (or not do). From a lifestyle standpoint, you may commit to not eating more than 1,200 calories each day or to showing up at the gym three times a week. You make this commitment to a coach, therapist or friend. Their role is to chastise you when you don’t keep your word.

I have never been fond of accountability coaching — for myself or for my clients. First of all, it really sucks when you’ve promised to do something and don’t follow through. This happened to me when I first began working with a coach. He was pushing me to do some marketing (which I didn’t feel ready to do), and I reluctantly committed to spending an hour a day connecting with potential clients. I had no intention of doing this, but didn’t feel confident enough to say, “No. I don’t want to do that.” At our next coaching appointment, I got a nasty lecture about the importance of keeping my word.

This kind of coaching did nothing to empower me or move me forward. In fact, it made me want to lie about what I’d actually accomplished instead of looking at the root causes of not meeting my goals. I recognized that I did not want to put my clients in this situation, as most of them already beat themselves up enough when they hit roadblocks.

Accountability coaching is a “no excuses” type of coaching. You commit to finishing your website. It doesn’t matter if your computer gets stolen or you break your hand — your are out of integrity if you don’t keep your word. While some people find this type of commitment motivating, I find it de-motivating and results in me not wanting to make any commitments at all.

Today, however, I decided to give it a try. I am attending a three-day conference in 30 days and have a 21-item “to do” list that I’d like to complete before that event. I also have a 6-item daily health list that I’d like to work into my routine. Since I’d taken the last two weeks off to care for my daughter (who was recovering from surgery that didn’t go as well as expected), I was frustrated and behind schedule. I was ready to try a new approach. So I made a commitment to my coach that I would create an itemized “To Do” list. I would start at #1 and move down the list over the next 30 days. If something wasn’t on the list, I wouldn’t do it. I would also send him a daily report of my progress.

I’m happy to share this journey with you. I’ll give you my “To Do” list and share how each day of accountability goes. In 30 days, we’ll see where I am. I may have a whole new appreciation for the role of accountability coaching and decide to integrate it into my practice. Or I may decide that it’s not something I want to continue doing. We’ll see.

To Be Done Before October 10, 2014

  1. Send Proposal for Blogging workshop
  2. Finish “Make Time to Blog Workbook”
  3. Choose price for workbook
  4. Print test copy of workbook
  5. Investigate printing options and have small amount print
  6. Choose compelling name for free coaching session
  7. Add opt-in box to website header
  8. Add additional security/backup to website
  9. Add additional analytics code to website
  10. Add payment module to website
  11. Create new website with squeeze page
  12. Film short video for squeeze page
  13. Add 5 part freebie course to aWeber
  14. Add book sale to aWeber
  15. Add free coaching session to aWeber
  16. Finish elevator speech
  17. Develop free coaching session coupon for attendees at conference
  18. Keep blog posts are up to date


  • Stretch and strengthen
  • Elliptical
  • Daily walks (weather permitting)
  • Update finances
  • Vitamins

For now, I’d love to hear your experience with accountability and whether it helped or hindered your progress.







I have always hated this kind of thing. I believe that I am rational and self-motivated. Mostly, I don’t want to feel like a child with a parent judging me for not measuring up to expectations.

However, I have a bunch of work to complete before leaving for a conference on October 10th. Much of it is work that I don’t enjoy doing, or that is  90 percent done and just needs finishing. I thought I would share my progress.

To Be Done Before October 10, 2014

Send SBA Proposal for Blogging workshop

Finish “Make Time to Blog Workbook”

  • Choose price
  • Print test copy
  • Investigate printing options and have small amount printed


  • Choose compelling name for free session
  • Add opt-in box to website header
  • Add security/backup to website
  • Add google analytics code to website
  • Add payment module to website


  • Create new website with squeeze page
  • Film short video for squeeze page
  • Add 5 part freebie course to aWeber
  • Add book sale to aWeber
  • Add free coaching session to aWeber


  • Finish elevator speech
  • Develop free coaching session coupon for attendees at Wealthmaker conference
  • Make sure blog posts are up to date






Sub-scapular exercises

Stretch and strengthen


Daily walks (weather permitting)

Update finances


Buying a Laptop

Old dirty keyboardIt is true that consumers vote with their pocketbooks. Over the last few weeks, this has been very evident in my family. We are far from early adopters. We’re “use it until it falls apart” kind of people. As a result, until recently, my daughter and I had been using Dell laptops that had seen better days. Both of us were dreading buying a laptop.

First of all, we were very disappointed with the poor quality of both Dell laptops. Both of them (less than 3 years old) had suffered long and agonizing deaths that began with power supply issues and ended with missing keys. My husband had replaced a number of pieces. We accepted that our laptops would soon be moving on to a toxic waste disposal facility, where they’d spend their final days living on the electronics equivalent of a farm in upstate New York.

We were officially in the market for new laptops. The reviews on Windows 8 were terrible. My friends who had Windows 8 hated it. Most of the reviews contained the words “confusing” and “frustrating.” That didn’t make me excited to learn a new operating system.

I wanted a non-Dell laptop with Windows 7. I had one choice – HP. My daughter decided that, since she was also not keen on Windows 8, she’d switch over to the Apple camp and bought a Macbook Air.

Granted, we are just one family in New York. I’m guessing that the folks at Dell and Microsoft don’t much care what we think. But we are proof that “the market” is made up of individuals who make informed buying choices and aren’t willing to buy stuff that doesn’t meet our needs. I think that’s a lesson that all companies — big or small — can learn from.

Today, blog about a challenging purchase or decision.


Should we take risks?

HIGH RISKWe take risks every day, whether it’s trying not to slip in the shower or avoiding a car accident on the way to work. Although some people enjoy the adrenaline rush of high risk behavior, I definitely prefer living on the cautious side of life.

So it was very out of character for me when, last summer,  I went skydiving at a local facility. I’d had some life-changing events happen in the previous months and skydiving seemed like a great metaphor for what I’d done — jumped into something new! I was (and still am) incredibly proud of myself for trying something that was totally outside my comfort zone.

Recently I was shocked to learn that a skydiver had died at the same facility I’d gone to, and that the employee jumping with him was critically injured. You can read the details here.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve followed the social media discussions with interest. Most were critical of skydiving in general and of individuals who take that kind of risk. As a society, we believe that we’re “better safe than sorry.” And I wonder if that’s true. Because we hold ourselves back from a whole lot of great experiences, just because we are afraid.

There is no doubt that this skydiving event was a tragedy. However, there is also great value in courage and in trying new experiences.

Today, blog about a time when you were afraid and took action anyway. How did it work out for you?



Celiac Disease Book Review: Jennifer’s Way

Even though becoming gluten-free seems to be a new fad, it is a serious matter in my household. In addition to myself, my husband and two kids all have celiac disease, which is an auto-immune disease that means you can’t eat foods containing gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye). We have been gluten-free since 2001. You can read my family’s story here.

My son spent several weeks this summer doing a political internship, which lead to our decision to binge-watch all six seasons of Spin City (a situation comedy from 1996 in which Michael J. Fox plays the deputy mayor of New York City). We saw cast member Jennifer Esposito interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. During the interview, we learned she had celiac disease, had written a book and had opened a bakery in New York City. (I also learned that Jon Stewart’s son has celiac disease.)

I was very curious about her story. Celiac disease is a great masquerader and presents with a lot of weird symptoms. Jennifer had most of them. It severely interfered with her career as an actor and had a long-term impact on her health.

She tells one story of having surgery and being very clear she had celiac disease. When she woke up, the nurse gave her a tray that included wheat crackers.  When she once again asserted she had celiac disease and could not eat wheat, the nurse “… squinted at me. ‘I’ve been a nurse for fifty years and I’ve never heard of that.’ … I could tell what she was really saying was, ‘You’re crazy.”

I’ve had the same experience multiple times, even at the GI specialist’s office where they’re treating me for celiac.

The latest estimation is that 1 in 100 people have celiac disease, so it may affect your life as well. Not only is this a good story, but it contains a lot of practical information for people with celiac disease, or anyone who wants to understand it better. This book would also be a thoughtful gift for anyone who is struggling to live gluten-free.