Even those of us with the strongest of wills can be easily sidetracked. A rainy day, a comfy couch and a Netflix account—just one of those things, let alone all three, can be enough to derail the best intended workout agenda. So, how do you hold yourself accountable and get the results that you desire?
Yes, it takes hard work, but a quick search on the internet will provide you with endless tips about how to hold yourself accountable to your fitness goals. Most of them work especially well when you set clear and realistic goals that are true for you. Some accountability tips include:
- telling someone your goal and asking them to help keep you on track
- keeping a journal of your progress
- getting a workout buddy/partner
- hiring a trainer
- working on a bet or financial reward
- registering for a race or event
- creating and signing a contract
- using a gadget—find out about Three Tools to Keep Your Fitness Training Fun and On Track
Notice, many of these tips rely upon active help from an external source—a partner, buddy, trainer or, to a lesser degree, the pressure of an event or contract. In the fitness world, I would argue that the end justifies the means: If hiring a trainer forces you to get out of bed on a Saturday morning to workout, and you know that is the incentive you need and it’s working, great! Same with meeting your best friend at the track or gym—no one likes to be left hanging when you’re a no-show!
However, if it feels as though you are being held hostage instead of held accountable, your goal may be misaligned with your desires. If you find yourself resenting, resisting or rejecting the steps you must take to reach your goal, I would encourage you to pause. Take a step back. Re-examine your motives and determine the real reason you are pursuing your goal in the first place. No amount of accountability tools will help you reach your goal if it is not specific, clear, realistic, measurable and achievable.
True story: A young woman came to me and said she wanted to start training for a 10k with an ultimate goal to run a marathon. During our conversation, it came out that: a) she hates running; and b) she really just wanted to lose weight for her wedding in six months and thought that training for a marathon would help her lose the extra pounds. It’s been two years since our conversation: no marathon, still married.
Unless you have clearly defined why you are pursuing your fitness goal, you are setting yourself up for failure. Once you gain clarity about what it is you really want, choosing a tool to hold you accountable is easier and you will have more success.
Ultimately, it’s all about choice. What do you want? What are you willing to commit to? The first steps to holding yourself accountable are to clarify, understand and accept what it is you are after. Then latch on to whatever it takes to get you there—partner, trainer, contract, whatever works. But know that you hold the keys and power to create your own destiny.
More on goal setting in future posts. Till then—to thine own self be true.