Let me ask you a question: Did you ever make a commitment to change something in your life but didn’t follow through on it? New Year’s resolutions are a perfect example. I don’t know how many times I told myself, this year I will be more organized, more productive, stop smoking (yes, I used to smoke when I was younger), or whatever it was I wanted to change at that time. It never really happened though. I bet you have similar memories when it comes to your New Year’s resolutions.
So, how do you hold yourself accountable? How can you “force” yourself to stick to your commitments? It doesn’t really matter what it is that you want to change. The principles are similar. In order to be able to achieve your goals and change your habits you need to have a few things. The two most essential ones being:
– A strong enough reason WHY you want to change and formulate your goals. Hint: Because my mother, boyfriend, wife, son, etc. wants me to, is usually not a very compelling and strong WHY.
– Something or someone who holds you accountable.
While we already talked about the importance of goals (read the article here), we didn’t really talk about the accountability part yet. There are different ways how you can hold yourself accountable when it comes to your goals. To make it easier, let’s just say your goal is to get back in shape.
Get a workout buddy
A workout buddy is a good way to support you in reaching your goals. A workout buddy is somebody you meet at the gym to do your weekly workouts with. When you choose a workout buddy though, make sure it is somebody who is not on the same level like you are. What do I mean by that? While it is nice to workout with your best friend, chances are very high that one day you or your friend will say “You know what? I don’t really feel like working out today. How about we go have a coffee instead?” Next thing you know the two of you are sitting at a popular coffee chain slurping Frappuccino. Not cool! Find somebody who already works out on a regular basis and has a healthy lifestyle. They will be less likely to cancel on you or try to talk you into having coffee or what not.
Get an accountability partner or group
While a workout buddy is nice an accountability partner takes the commitment to the next level. Find a friend who also has goals he or she is eager to achieve. It doesn’t have to be a similar goal. While you might want to get back in shape, your friend is maybe studying for an important test or wants to push his business to the next level.
Schedule weekly meetings, either in person or via Skype, and let each other know which tasks you will complete during the upcoming week, so your accountability partner knows exactly what’s on your agenda and can follow up with you, to make sure you stick to your task list.
Create a check list
This is another great way to hold yourself accountable. Create a task list (check list) for each day of the week. You could write down that you want to work out Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; that you will do a cardio workout at least two days a week; that you will cook dinner at least five times a week instead of eating out every day; and so on.
Check mark the tasks as soon as they are completed. That way you have your accomplishments right in front of you, which will keep you motivated, and you can also see what else needs to be done that day.
While a checklist is an awesome accountability tool it isn’t really effective unless there is a punishment for not completing your daily tasks. Find a punishment that deeply hurts you, something that you want to avoid at all cost.
I am part of a 90 Day Accountability Challenge right now and one of my punishments is writing a $100 check to my boyfriend’s ex-wife every day I fail to complete my tasks. You can be rest assured that this will NEVER happen!!
It doesn’t have to be a monetary punishment though. It can be anything that causes you enough discomfort or pain to give you the push you need to go to the gym at 9pm after a 12 hour day at work.
You not only need punishments, you should also reward yourself for doing great work. Every four weeks treat yourself to something nice. Maybe a spa day, new workout clothes, or a nice brunch with the girls. Life is fun and you deserve to pamper yourself when you work hard for your goals!
It is not always easy to stick to your plans and achieve your goals but with the right systems in place to hold you accountable, it becomes much easier!! You can and you will reach your goals!!!
Written by: Jen
The Online Personal Trainer for Women