Accountability is the idea of holding yourself responsible for the behaviors or actions necessary to reach a desired end goal, and making sure that these behaviors and actions are fully carried out. If keeping yourself accountable was easy, the majority of us would already have reached every goal we ever set forth. Which lets be honest, we both know this is just not the case. Fitness goals in particular are typically more challenging to achieve because it takes multiple daily habits, over longer periods of time. Though it can be challenging to keep ourselves accountable, developing the skills needed to do so will help massively in setting yourself up for success.
ESTABLISH A SMART GOAL. Having a clear direction of where you want to be is the first step to establishing your daily actions to hold yourself accountable. A SMART goal is:
The actions that you take in your daily life should reflect the goals that you want to achieve. If you want to lose 20lbs you should moderate your eating habits to be in a caloric deficit and exercise. The more defined this goal is, the easier it will be to determine what actions and steps are necessary to get you there. I also find that a lot of people never tend to “reach” their goals and then fail to recognize the accomplishment because the goal was vague and unclear and therefore it was vague and unclear when the goal was t. Make sure you allow yourself to celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small, by making the goals very defined!
GET ORGANIZED. Being organized will help tremendously with getting everything done. It will prevent you from having to scramble around trying to remember if you’ve completed everything, remembered everything, or planned for everything. A notebook or a calendar are great tools to help you get started. Keep track of everything so that you know what you need to get done and by when. If you struggle to fit in four workouts a week because you are so busy, create a schedule where you can identify exactly when you will exercise, for how long, and what type of exercise/workout you will be doing. Being organized will also help you plan ahead for the things that you need to get done before. Let’s say you want to workout before work in the morning, knowing this, you might schedule time the night before to get all your workout gear in order as well as whatever is needed to get ready for work. Think about how much extra time you will have to prioritize your goals if you aren’t wasting this time running around trying to do everything at once.
WRITE DOWN YOUR PROGRESS. Tracking your progress can be a big motivational factor in reaching your goals. This will help you identify how far you have come and how much more progress needs to be made to reach your goals. One of the most common things I run into as a trainer is clients that do not see or feel progress. If we were not tracking how far they have come, they would assume they haven’t made any progress. But, because we are tracking, we are able to look back and see that 12 weeks ago they were squatting 95lbs and reported it to be a 9/10 difficulty, and today they squatted 135lbs and didn’t even break a sweat. Keeping a workout log of all the exercises that you have done can help show you how you have progressed through your training. This is also helpful because if you find yourself off-track, and this applies for all goal types, not just fitness, you are able to look back at where you may have gone wrong or at least determine what method you will not be doing again.
BE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE ELSE. Having a workout partner or a trainer can increase your accountability. Most of the time we are more accountable to others than we are to ourselves. If you have a session with a trainer three times a week at 6 am, you are going to be more likely to go to the gym because now you have someone else waiting for you to take action. If you are able to find someone with common goals, you can hold yourself accountable to each other. If your shared goal is to go to the gym 4 times that week, it is very possible that on Monday when you are most motivated, your workout partner may be snoozing their alarm with not an ounce of motivation in sight. However, if they know they committed to meeting you at the gym, they are more likely to get out of bed and show up. And the best part about this system is on the days you wake up and want to snooze that alarm, you know they’ll be there waiting for you as well. When you have a shared goal with someone else, you can also both share that feeling of accomplishment together!
These are just a few methods to try and increase your accountability. Every person operates differently and the part of accountability that you struggle with may be completely different from that of your spouse or best friend. I know personally I am really good at showing up at the time I said I am going to be there. However, on those long and exhausting days I am not so great at holding myself to the full hour long workout I have planned. So, I have benefitted from working out with my friend who will hold me accountable to finishing the whole workout! If you’re looking for more external accountability please reach out to us! We have tons of other skills we have taught clients and getting a personal trainer is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable!
- Liam McDade