7 Steps to Taking Accountability for Your Actions the Hard Way

Photo by Paico Oficial from Unsplash

The finest quality of a coward is the inability to take accountability for his actions. A coward acts like a child: saying whatever comes to his mind and doing reckless actions impulsively without regard for consequences. When confronted, he denies and reacts like he’s never done anything wrong. Even worse, he passes the blame to others even when he’s the one making all the wrong choices. 

All of us know a coward in our lives, but could it be possible that we all have been cowards too at one point in our lives? To be fair, we all have an ego, and the more we’re attached to it, the harder it is to admit our shortcomings.
It takes courage to internalize the art of taking responsibility for everything we say and do regardless of the gravity of the consequences. 

In our twenties, a huge part of adulting is learning how to clean up our mess without solely relying on others. Our twenties is a different adventure in its entirety, and as most adults in their fifties or sixties would tell us, it is a time for making mistakes and exploring ourselves through the world. But the real lesson they want to impart to us is not only to take risks but also to face the consequences head-on.

Going through the raw journey of dealing with the shame and fear of these consequences is the only way we can truly understand self-growth. We need to feel the pain and discomfort brought by our bad decisions so that we can learn. Otherwise, we would just repeat the same mistakes because we haven’t learned enough. We spend most of our time thinking about the future, worrying about what tomorrow may bring.

We always wonder if we would achieve the dreams we thought about reaching. This habit of daydreaming costs more than an hour, taking most of our time lying in bed. We often forget that our decisions today are creating our future.
As we procrastinate on the tasks that need to be accomplished, we are pulling ourselves away from a successful life. Every good decision is made with full accountability. 

The choices we make determine the kind of life we want to be remembered for. We fail to realize how much power we hold to create and manifest the future we want. The attraction to success lies in our beliefs, attitude, philosophies, and choices. Taking accountability allows us to correct our mistakes and embrace our imperfect selves. 




Accountability entails acknowledgment of your lapses. It means owning up to your mistakes even when it’s embarrassing and scary. Accountability means having the courage to say it’s your fault and to accept all the necessary consequences to come at you in the same degree of pain you’ve caused them.

Accountability means showing respect for your words and deeds by owning them and fixing the consequences if necessary. When you hold yourself accountable, it means you’re living in integrity. What you do when nobody else is looking measures how truthful you are. Accountability shows whether your beliefs, values, and attitudes are aligned with your morals and principles. 






Identify your role as a partner in a relationship or as an employee in a workspace. When you’re aware about the nature and purpose of your role, you become subject to the responsibilities that you must uphold. This means you acknowledge your importance in the existence of a relationship in a certain type of environment.

It’s important to be aware of the role you play in the lives of people so that it would be easier for you to adjust according to your relationship, whether it be familial, romantic, platonic, or professional.
When you’re aware of the impact of your decisions, you become more careful and sensitive to what you say and do (and how you behave while doing so).

You begin to carefully evaluate your relationship with other roles as to avoid insulting or offending anyone. Knowing your role leads to the responsibility in
 seeking for solutions to fix the root problem at hand. In the  long run, you develop this habit of finding ways to improve how you carry and fulfill your role. Sooner or later, you’re able to execute the necessary steps to put this solution into action. 




Admitting your mistake entails acknowledging the fault you’ve committed. For most of us, it’s easier said than done. Instead of admitting your mistake, some try to justify it. It’s a way of feeding your ego by informing yourself and others of your distorted reality where you don’t make mistakes (or at least when you do, it’s a reaction to the previous mistake).

This will lead to an even bigger problem because you’re not fixing the real problem. Admitting your mistake isn’t as simple as saying “it’s my fault.” It requires a careful explanation of what you did and why you did it without sounding insensitive.
You need to commit to the healing process which starts from acknowledging that you’re a human who makes mistakes up to improving your behavior in the long run.

Don’t bother including people to share the responsibility with you as this prevents you from being aware of the reality of your situation. When you admit your wrongs, you become highly aware of the impact of your actions, meaning anything you say or do can affect other people and not just yourself. With this acknowledgment, you can walk in the right direction slowly building trust and integrity with yourself and with your relationships. 




Everyone makes mistakes, but those who don’t apologize for them are worse. It won’t be easy and it’s going to take a whole chunk of your pride, but that’s part of the painstaking journey. To ask for forgiveness from the person you’ve done wrong, you need to think about his feelings and his pride when you did something wrong.

Make a call of action on what you’re trying to work on so that kind of incident won’t happen again. There needs to be teamwork between acceptance and willingness to change your behavior (not just for the sake of saying it).
Both ingredients will keep you focused on your journey to grow as an individual through introspection.

Through this journey, you can create affirmative actions to decrease the likelihood of repeating the mistakes. By asking for an apology, you’re taking responsibility for your mishaps by closing the wound the other person suffered. You’re giving back his pride, his peace of mind, and his self-esteem. In the best way you can, you make him feel that he wasn’t at fault with anything. 




When we’re on the wrong side, we usually want everything to be okay as soon as possible. We want to be relieved of the guilt and shame for committing a mistake, so we tend to bargain and make promises to ease the situation. The problem is, we’re not entirely sure if we can fulfill them, but we do it because it makes us feel better. We don’t exactly mean what we say; all we want is to prevent making the tension any worse.

If we continue making false promises, we would foster a false sense of security. This is the wrong way to regain the trust of the person you’ve mistreated. This is not the way to rebuild the relationship that has been broken. Avoid making false promises; you might be putting yourself in a position that will get you in trouble. Instead of leading the person on, prove you’re sorry through your genuine actions. 




Taking accountability includes accepting your nature as a human, and that mistakes are inevitable. It’s important to forgive yourself after everything that’s said and done. You are not the same person as you were when you were making mistakes. Your emotions are tricky and very difficult to manage and control. Cut yourself some slack with losing your cool sometimes. Y

You can’t move on to the next step if you do not slowly detach yourself from your mistakes.
A part of taking accountability is helping yourself to move forward, and this includes letting go of grudges with yourself. Forgiving yourself is just as important as asking for an apology. Remember that your worth is not tied to your mistakes.

You have the capacity and capability to move on and be a better person. Don’t let your mistakes take away your chance to live the best version of yourself. Every single day is an opportunity to acknowledge our wrongs, to ask for forgiveness, and to heal our wounds. 




This is one of the most crucial steps that people often tend to overlook. If this step is not taken seriously, this is where the toxic cycle of manipulation begins. Your apology is pointless if you do not change your behavior. Your self-discovery needs to be actualized through an application of actions. Changing your behavior is a practical action to taking accountability. 

By doing so, you are selflessly looking after others to avoid hurting the same person for the same reason.
We need to change our behavior not only because we can, but because we’re responsible for making decisions that will help us become better people in the long run.

You would be closer to your goals and your true potential because you’re leaving toxic, bad habits behind and embracing healthy and good ones. We can adapt to our roles more efficiently in our many relationships because we try to become more open to others. 




When you’ve changed your behavior, it’s important to continuously assess your self-development progress. if you’ve done your job to heal and to process your feelings the right way. Stay away from unlikely situations that make you go back to making the same mistakes.

Evaluating your actions involves constantly checking your attitude especially in different situations that test your patience. This proves you aim for being a better person. Taking accountability means doing something intentionally, not just impulsively, to not hurt other people again. It means forming new habits and performing them daily. 




Accountability is the only way you can overcome your inner critic. The doubts in your head will have no power over you when you take ownership of your actions. You’re the one in control of how you behave and how you respond to things that are out of your control.

Taking accountability means being responsible for what you can do and accepting what’s beyond you.
Taking accountability for your actions is important because it is the basis of your emotional maturity. If you don’t take accountability for your actions, it’s like saying you don’t have a clear and reliable basis for reason and morals.
You can’t differentiate between right and wrong. 

Therefore, it’s likely that you will repeat this bad behavior until one becomes too many times, and little do you know, you’ve created a behavioral pattern that gets harder to change every time. You will end up in the most appalling circumstances and you will fall to the deep end. You will be consumed by all your guilt, and by then, there’s no one you love around to listen to you anymore because you’ve all hurt them. 







As a way of coping with unlikely situations, people make excuses to keep the spotlight away from them. We make excuses to defend our actions and to find a convenient way to hamper or neglect personal accountability. If you continue to make excuses, your ego will grow bigger and eventually take its toll on your relationships.

When you make excuses, you don’t acknowledge your fault directly which makes you feel a little better about yourself (because you don’t have to embrace the guilt alone). 
Perhaps you’re scared of the changes as part of the consequence of your actions, and making excuses is your means to stall.

Stop looking for ways to remove your guilt without remorse and a change of heart. When you try to wriggle out of your admitting guilt, it shows you refuse to acknowledge you’ve made a mistake. It also proves you’re not willing to improve your attitude for the better. 




People usually play the victim card when they’re not ready to face the consequences of their actions. They find a way to get out of that situation by blaming someone else. Playing the victim is one of the worst ways to manipulate other people’s thoughts and actions. When you play the victim, you avoid taking responsibility for what you’ve said and done by blaming it on others who caused the unfortunate circumstances.

It’s like saying you had no say or control of the situation as if you’re not capable of making your decisions. Don’t throw someone off the bus as a lieu way to escape a situation you created. Take accountability for your actions by admitting that you have the liberty to walk away from people who lead you to bad decisions. Stop blaming others for your inability to know what’s best for your well-being. 




Never think you’re incapable of making mistakes because you consider yourself as someone with a moral high ground. As human beings, we make mistakes every day in varying degrees, and that’s something we can’t change. What we can do, however, is to take responsibility for the consequences of our mistakes.

One effective way to do that is to let go of selfish interests and start caring for the feelings of those we’ve hurt. Pride is quick to take away the humility in your heart to ask for forgiveness.
Someone with a huge ego wouldn’t acknowledge his faults because he thinks he isn’t capable of making that mistake.

If he couldn’t at least admit that he has done something to hurt someone else’s feelings, then it’s harder to get him to apologize. Never let pride get in the way of your journey to peace. Don’t let it govern your transition to making peace with others and yourself. You can never be successful in taking accountability for your actions until you swallow your pride. 




There’s nothing more shameful than someone who doesn’t own up to his mistakes. A person who doesn’t own up to his mistakes has an ugly, selfish nature in his soul. Everyone struggles with taking accountability, but as long as you’re trying, you’re on the right path. You can be anything you want to be, but it’s impossible to become the best version of yourself without accountability. It takes humility to accept you can never be in full control of what happens in your life and other people’s lives.

However, in regards to what you can do, you can take responsibility for the choices that will work and won’t work. You need to be accountable for your different roles in different people’s lives — as a daughter/son, sister/brother, mother/father, partner,  student, employee, etc. because these different roles comprise different layers in your character. They are all part in making you, you. Commit to your self-development by taking control in every choice you make, so it would be easier to track your progress and growth. 



“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

George Washington Carver

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

18 thoughts on “7 Steps to Taking Accountability for Your Actions the Hard Way

  1. This is all seems like good advice, especially about not making false promises, which will only make things worse and erode trust. If you can't be honest about what you'll do to change, then don't make claims that you will, as an apology might not work again


  2. Great and tough advices. Well written and important lesson for life. Not only in your twenties, but also thirties forties… life long lesson. Thanks for sharing


  3. Yes to this post. This is such great advice. I see so many people playing the victim or not apologising when they are in the wrong. Mistakes are a part of life and as soon as you learn to accept and move past them in the right way, life becomes so much more happier and enjoyable.


  4. Not taking responsibility for your actions and not holding yourself accountable are two of my biggest pet peeves so I really enjoyed this post. I agree with everything you say, especially the part about forgiving ourselves as well 🙂


  5. I love this post so much!! Taking accountability is so important and I definitely think it's easier once you learn to love and accept yourself – I love all of your tips x


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