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If you want to start your own accountability group (or goal squad, as I like to say) but aren’t sure what to do first, try taking a page from Henriette Anne Klauser, author of the books Writing On Both Sides Of The Brain and Write It Down, Make It Happen.

如果你打算开始组建自己的任务小组(或者说是目标小分队,我习惯这么说)但一开始又不知道该做些什么,那就试试看Writing On Both Sides Of The Brain和Write It Down, Make It Happen的作者Henriette Anne Klauser的一些建议吧。

Klauser first became interested in accountability while teaching medieval English at the University of Washington. She noticed that some of her most brilliant students weren’t turning in their work on time and sometimes even failed out of her class. Often the doctoral candidates she thought of as the brightest in their groups never wrote their dissertations, even though they had completed all other coursework.


After researching the best ways to overcome writing anxiety and procrastination, she began giving workshops on the topic, only to discover that the students were taking her tips and applying them to all aspects of their life, not just their work.She has a few tips on how to make your goal squad as productive as possible.


1.Name your group.


In Write It Down, Make It Happen, Klauser describes how she and a close friend decided to start meeting about their goals and named their club “The Seymour Group.” It was a completely made up name, she admits, but they liked that it sounded important and vaguely financial, like an investment group. "But of course, it is an investment meeting," said Klauser. "It’s just that the stock is in ourselves and the dividends are high."

在Write It Down, Make It Happen这本书中,Klauser描述了她和她朋友是如何开始会面制定目标并命名他们的小组为“The Seymour Group。”她承认这是个编造出来的名字,但是这个名字听起来比较重要并且似乎和经济有关,像是个投资小组。“当然了,这是一个投资小组,我们自己就是股票,分成也很高”她说。

On a practical level, it was also useful to be able to scrawl “Seymour Group” on their calendar to differentiate it from the other times they hung out as friends. And Klauser remembers putting off a needy spouse or child because she absolutely needed to “meet with the Seymour group” for a weekend morning.

在日历上能把小组名字The Seymour Group写在上面也是很有实用价值的,这样可以把这个小组和其他和朋友聚会娱乐区分开来。Klauser回忆起自己由于真的很需要和The Seymour Group成员周末早上开会而不得不推迟见自己的丈夫和孩子。

2.Make no judgements.


The only questions your accountability partner or group should ask are "What will you do?" and “By when will you do it?” says Klauser.


"I’m here so you can be accountable to me, but I’m not here to judge you and say, ‘Well, you should have done this by now',” she explained. “I’m not even here to say, ‘Are you really serious about this goal?'"


3.Don't give advice (unless asked).


Closely related to the “no judgements” guideline, this rule helps keep the group focused on goals that they’ve set for themselves without the burden of interference from other people’s expectations and experiences.


It makes sense in many ways -- after all, only you know the steps you can take in your personal life to lose 30 pounds, exercise more, or gun for that big project at work. Your goal group is there as a sounding board, because most of the time you already know what to do. You just have to do it.


4.No personal stuff.


Goals are often so personal that it’s hard to imagine trying to keep goal talk and life talk separate. But Klauser has such a hardline on this rule that if an accountability partner over the phone starts veering into personal issues unrelated to the goals, she’ll often tell them to hang up and then call her back so that they can mentally switch tracks.


"If you keep it like a business meeting, it can go for years,” said Klauser. "But if you start making it a personal meeting, one or two of you are going to start finding other reasons not to show up.”


5.Focus on the outcome (of the outcome, of the outcome).


So you want to apply for that dream job, hike Machu Picchu or save more money. Be sure to jot down why you want to accomplish this goal, and why this reason is so important to you, says Klauser. Not only does it give you more insight about yourself, but it has the potential to make your goals more specific.


Most importantly, at the end of the year, it may also help you realize that even though you didn't accomplish this specific goal, you may still have arrive at your desired outcome another way. "Keep on writing and keep on believing," Klauser advised. "If not this year, then when?


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