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Accountability: The obligation of an individual to account for their activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.
We all need accountability when working towards any goal but holding yourself accountable can be tough. There are people out there that are naturally self motivated and have enough accountability and willpower within themselves to stay on track. If you’re part of this small population that is so driven that nothing will come between you and your fitness goals, good on you! Typically, this isn’t the case for most people which is why having a support team or partner can be crucial when working towards achieving a specific goal.
I talk a lot about consistency and the roll it plays in my clients success. Without accountability, it’s hard to be consistent. It’s easy to say that you will get up five days a week at 6am to get your workout done before you go to work. Sure, you set your alarm and spring out of bed on the first 2 or 3 days but then on day 4 you hit snooze a few too many times, and by day 5 you sleep in too long and miss your workout all together. Then the weekend comes along and you take a couple days off. Come Monday the idea of waking up early makes you miserable so you tell yourself that you will exercise after work. 5pm rolls around and you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, you’re starving and by the time you get home you can’t imagine mustering up enough energy to lift yourself off the couch. Another day. Another missed workout. Does this cycle sound familiar?
Let’s add some accountability to the picture. You’ve committed to working out five days a week at 6am. First step – you tell someone. Your spouse, best friend, a staff member at the gym or, as a Three Phase Challenge member, you post it on the group forum. Second step – you invite someone to join you. There’s nothing like a workout buddy to get you moving. It’s a lot harder to hit the snooze button when you know someone else is waiting on you and relying on you to show up. If you don’t have a buddy to physically join you each morning, then check in with the person you told each day to let them know you made it and if you don’t, it will be up to you to explain why. Third step – reward yourself. One week down, no missed workouts and you are on your way to building a new routine and new habits. Celebrate by buying yourself those new runners you’ve been eyeing up or throw $5 into your success jar. Share your success with your support team and embrace the high fives and applause. On the flip side, if you don’t achieve your goal, or just plain quit, there needs to be a consequence for that as well. Just like at your job, if you have an assignment due by a certain date you are going to do it because if you don’t you could possibly lose your job. Your health and fitness goals should be approached with the same sense of urgency – if they are as important to you as you say they are.
Having a support system or workout buddy provides a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition. By not taking part in some form of accountability or simply going at it alone, it becomes so easy to fall off track, convince ourselves that it’s not that important or just quite without having to answer to anyone
Bottom line: If you want to succeed and reach your fitness goals you have to be accountable for your actions. You have to be able to take responsibility for them and take on the consequences if you don’t take action. Being part of a support team or having a workout buddy are two of the best ways to stay on track and stay accountable but here are a few more ideas to help you stick to your fitness routine!
Sign Up For A Competition
There’s nothing like setting a hard deadline to get you motivated. Signing up for a 10k race, a tough mudder or specific event forces you to train consistently so that you are able to cross that finish line.
Make A Bet
Money talks. A friendly wager between co-workers or friends is a good way to inspire results and the rules are simple – Hit your goals and you’ll win cash. Miss the mark and you’ll lose it. Short on cash? Get creative and bet on housework, babysitting, movie tickets, or anything else!
Whether you have fifty followers or thousands, sharing your workout plan on social media before it happens and during the process can actually help you stick to the plan. It can help keep you accountable for the workout and in response to your posts, friends might wish you luck, send you motivation or even be inspired to join you!
Take Progress Photos
The number on the scale can be deceiving, but a photo of how you look in your bikini or your favourite party dress will not lie. Track your results on a weekly or monthly basis with side by side photos. You could even go all out and post your starting photos along with your goal for the public to see (gasp!) Now that’s some serious accountability 🙂
If you really are serious about reaching your goals make the time to develop your support system. Be accountable to someone other than yourself and place value on your word and the actions that you are committed to taking. You are bound to have days when you slip up or fall off track and that’s okay! Rather than beating yourself up and telling yourself that you’ve failed and might as well give up, talk with your support system. Reflect and work through the things that went wrong and then commit to doing things differently moving forward. There’s no shame in asking for help. So set you goal, share it and put in the work!