Accountability: Why Owning Up To Your Mistakes Helps You Improve

Being accountable is one of the easiest ways to improve your life — but accountability isn’t easy.

To put it simply, being accountable means taking responsibility for your actions and the resulting consequences — good or bad. 

It’s easy to accept credit for our successes, but being accountable for our failures is a lot harder. Although it may feel uncomfortable to be accountable for mistakes at the moment, being accountable will help you avoid mistakes in the future, so you become better and better at many things. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself being accountable for more wins than for mistakes.

To practice accountability, try following these steps:

  • Take Responsibility: Own your actions. If you realize you made a mistake, be honest about it with yourself and with others who were impacted.
  • Reflect: When a mistake happens, ask yourself how you contributed to the issue, even if the issue wasn’t primarily “your fault.”
  • Problem-Solve: Brainstorm ways that you could avoid making the same mistake in the future. Come up with two main solutions that could help you in a similar situation.
  • Celebrate your wins: Remember that you can be accountable for your wins as well as your mistakes. Give yourself a mental high five whenever you have a win. Reflect on your win and consider how to keep winning. 


  1. Think about a mistake you’ve made recently. What can you learn from that mistake?
  2. Do you think you hold yourself accountable for your mistakes? 
  3. Do you hold yourself accountable for your successes?
  4. Do you know someone who doesn’t hold themselves accountable? If so, do you think they’ve missed opportunities to grow and become a more successful person?