The accountability mirror by David Goggins


November 02, 2020

The only way to improve yourself is to hold yourself accountable for the choices you made in your life. This forces you to look at the things you have an influence on and take responsibility for. It frees you from any factors outside of your control. So how does this concept work and how can you apply it to your life?

Like a lot of other concepts I discuss on this blog, this one is free of charge as well and very easy to start. This concept by David Goggins is another take on the affirmation exercise. Where you put post-its on the mirror of things that you are grateful for.

David Goggins Can't hurt me

How to start with David Goggins’s accountability mirror challenge?

Stand in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eye for five minutes straight. What is going through your head? What do you think about the person you see in the mirror? Write those things down and make sure you discuss those with yourself later on.

Now there are a lot of personal things you can hold yourself accountable for, but I made a general list of three questions to kickstart the process. Write them down on post-it’s and put them on your mirror:

  1. Do you look like the person you want to be? Why not?
  2. Are you proud of the person you see in the mirror? Why not?
  3. Are you where you want to be in life? Why not?

Be brutally honest with yourself

It’s one of my favorite sentences because I can’t stress this enough:

“Be brutally honest with yourself!”

When you start answering these questions, be brutally honest with yourself. I’m not saying make yourself feel bad and be mean to yourself. No, I’m saying be honest, and don’t be politically correct, it won’t help you. Do you think you gained too much weight? Say it as it is!

Hey you are being lazy! Get up and get moving! Go to the gym, have a run or whatever just start! Stop fast food and alcohol now! No more excuses!


Hey it’s okay. You had a rough month. Have a beer later on you deserve it.

It’s about taking that responsibility and following it up with actions. Did you mess something up that day? Go and have a word with yourself in the mirror and don’t let yourself off easy!

Do this every day and you learn to be honest with yourself.

The person in the mirror

One of the most powerful things about this concept is, the way you look at yourself is also how other people will look at you. So if you are judging that image in the mirror, you’ll see how that looks. Now ask yourself the question:

“How would it make you feel if someone else was looking at you like that?”

It’s the harsh reality and it may sting a little. Use it as motivation to take that action. On the other hand, if you look strong and confident in the mirror and you are impressed with yourself. That’s also how other people will look at you.

Celebrate your wins

I talk about being brutally honest with yourself. That also means being brutally honest about your wins. Did you go to the gym 4 days a week for two months and you are starting to see results? Say it to yourself:

I’m proud of you! You took action and hard work pays off. Keep it up!

This is very important to keep the momentum of the actions you are taking. It helps you to keep the focus on the process instead of just the result. Like I mention here in this article: The sercret to success


Improvement starts from within and what better way is there to start looking at yourself in the mirror. Inside yourself is where your improvements are. These are things you can control, they are in your circle of influence. The more you do this, the more you get the feeling of being in control. Like I mention this in this article: The secret to overcoming fear

“A side effect of focussing on the circle of influence, is that it will grow and consume the circle of concern which in its turn will get smaller. Which means more control equals less room for concerns.”

This is just one concept of David Goggins’s book Can’t Hurt Me. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to read it. The audiobook version of this book is even better, it has interviews with David Goggins in between the chapters providing some powerful context.

It is not your average self-help book, where you get some theory and frameworks. This is a real self-help book. Why? Because he is living the life he is talking about in his book. He is practicing what he is preaching. He started from the bottom, like a regular person and he is honest about that. That’s why this book resonates with so many people. This one goes into my top 3 self-help books of all time for sure!

These are two other concepts straight out of Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins I wrote about:

Michael Awad

I'm fascinated by the power of a strong mindset. I combine this with being a web developer, which keeps me motivated. But how, you may ask? That's what I share on this website. For more information about me personally, check out the about me page: About Me

Are you enjoying this blog and do you want to receive these articles straight into your inbox? Enter your e-mail below and hit the subscribe button!

I won't send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time