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Insights / July 16, 2018

Make Yourself Accountable

make yourself accountable theme of the week

By Colleen Powers

Recently I’ve been using a chatbot app called Woebot (after a recommendation from our own Liz Tupper) that encourages mindfulness, positive thinking, and healthy habits through simple daily prompts. A few weeks ago, Woebot’s “assignment” was to put aside all electronics two hours before bedtime. The bot firmly asked for a commitment to this new habit — even on weekends.

Even though it’s just a bot, this commitment really has encouraged me to stick to the schedule — most of the time, anyway. I still make excuses to myself, like, “But I can’t wind down before bed without watching an episode of Frasier on Netflix,” but having a specific agreement makes me more likely to put even Frasier aside.

It made me think of the fact that my friend Sonya always asks about my personal writing, reminding me every time I see her to make time for it. After the 2016 election, another friend of mine started a private Facebook group for people to share ways to take action, with the idea that the group would push us to work for change instead of just being depressed. Having someone or something to check in and prompt you can be the difference between a new accomplishment and an intention that fizzles out. This week, tell a friend (or a chatbot) about a commitment you’re making, and offer to help keep others around you accountable, too.