Our first house wasn’t in the nicest neighborhood. We had frequent gang activity, with the main gang hangout just a few doors up the street. Most residents rented their homes, and most homes (including ours) suffered from delayed maintenance. We loved our neighborhood, though, and did what we could to help it thrive.
One day I came home from work to find the patch of grass between the street and sidewalk pulled up from in front of each house up and down the entire street. Perplexed, I called City Hall to inquire into what was going on. They told me they were replanting grass for our entire street. I thanked them for the beautification effort, but I told them they should inform residents before embarking on any work. They told me they informed all the owners, and since I was a renter, I should talk with my landlord. I responded that I was an owner and was not informed, and I further said that the people who live in the houses should be notified of upcoming work, even if they don’t own their homes.
The work eventually ended. But you know those little sidewalks that go from the street to the path leading to your front door? (I learned they’re called carriage walkways.) No one had replaced those. Everyone on the street had had theirs removed for the grass project, and not a single one was replaced. So I called City Hall. I was told that carriage walkways are personal property and that it’s the owners’ responsibility to replace them. I asked why it was my responsibility to replace something that was removed without my consent, something that was, in essence, stolen from me. I was met with silence, quickly followed by vehemence. I was told the city had the right to remove the carriage walkways, but I persisted. How did the city have the right to remove my property without my consent? Either it wasn’t my property and the city could do with it as it pleased, or it was my property and the city needed to answer for its removal. I also pointed out that no one would consider carriage walkways as their property, especially if the city absconded with them. This conversation lasted for at least 2 weeks. Eventually they asked what I wanted to happen. I told them I wanted all the carriage walkways replaced on the entire street. And they did.
Sometimes government entities need people to hold them responsible for their actions. They need accountability. Regular people trying to create a habit of reading and journaling need accountability, too.
When you begin a new habit, tell people who care about you. They will be excited for you, and they will check in on you. Loved ones are great accountability partners.
Another avenue of accountability is participating in groups. Join a book club. Get together with friends for an hour of dedicated reading time. Join a writing group. Get together with friends for an hour of dedicated writing time.
What other ideas do you have? How have you held yourself accountable in the past? How did that work for you? Please share in the comments!
Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and creator. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and teenage children and enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and pushing her creative boundaries. Jumpstart your self care journaling habit with one of her free downloadable journal pages.