Accountability. Many are aware of one form. The traditional form where you elect yourself to be accountable to one, or a few, individuals where you share your struggles, fears, goals and dreams in hopes that having these people around you will help you overcome adversity, reach goals, and become a better person. Let's call this private accountability. It's really great and strongly advised.
I know of another form of accountability, and just like the former, I believe it has significantly changed the course of my life.
I made a choice over three years ago to launch a website, and for various reasons, name it Folklore Design. With the launch I announced that I would post a second of animation everyday for the entire month of March, 2011. It was really the sole reason I was launching the site, to help myself achieve something I had seen someone else do with great success, I had no plans for the site after that. Before this point I had only dipped my toe into the world of motion graphics, but I knew it was something I wanted to get really good at really fast, but I needed something to kickstart the process. I set up a form of public accountability. I told the (small) world that I was going to be shipping something everyday, in this case it was a second of animation, and you could find the result on the site. The very notion that people were expecting this, whether they actually were or not, forced me to crank out work every day, no matter the circumstance. At the end of 30 days I had created something that I was really proud of, and it led to many other opportunities as I was learning, ultimately landing me where I am today. I am convinced that if I did not do this one project, if I did not subject myself to the public accountability, I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did, and I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Nothing accelerates growth like iterating in public. Forcing yourself to put yourself out there on a regular schedule will focus your efforts and gain you a platform and attention that will launch you on to other things.
I know that this may not work for everyone or everything (I certainly haven’t thought through how you could use public accountability for more serious efforts, like addiction), but setting a goal, making that goal very public, and putting your reputation on the line, will force you do things you couldn’t imagine were possible. For a 1-2 punch, pair private and public accountability to ensure that you’ll stay on course on whatever journey you chose to endeavor.
Start something, and tell the world you're doing it.