Accountability (noun): the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
Look, most of our lives are very busy. Careers, kids, spouses, family, friends just to name a few… bottom line, every day we are pulled in a million different directions. Some obligations physically DO keep us from keeping up with our most genuine fitness goals, while often they just provide convenient excuses as to why we fall short.
Unlike responsibility (the “before”) and self-empowerment (the “during”), personal accountability is the “after”. It’s a willingness to answer for the outcomes of your choices, actions, and behaviors. When you’re personally accountable, you stop assigning blame and making excuses. Accountability WORKS and it comes in many different forms. I break it down by 4 simple things that have helped me stay on track.
Be in the Right Mindset
Hectic Day? You only need 30 minutes to go for a quick run.
SAHM? Download a workout from the internet and sweat from your living room while your kids sleep.
Tired? Even more of reason to workout! The endorphins from a sweat session will have you feeling refreshed and more awake.
Bottom line, accountability is 100% up to YOU. If you’re allowing “other factors” effect your goal, you need to strengthen your mindset and find a motivation tool that does work. Although your fitness goals are physical, your mind is the muscle fueling your personal results.
You have to know your WHY… why is accomplishing your fitness goal important to you? What is motivating you to do it?
Tip: Sometimes knowing more about the topic can help strengthen your WHY.
For me, becoming a mother put things into perspective. I had become a more mindful person and was truly understanding the importance of self-love. I felt passionately about what I knew, felt and wanted. I had always “worked out” but it wasn’t until after I had my son that my mindset really changed and my WHY became clearer.
As weird as it might sound, one thing that really worked was seeing my closet filled with clothes… I was determined to be able to wear them again!
A fresh playlist or new song was sometimes all I needed to get motivated to go to the gym that day.
Seeing results was also highly motivating for me. Results can become addictive and I used this form of gratification to help keep me persistent.
Make the Habit a Priority
Success in anything comes from making it a priority. I did this by setting goals and eliminating the excuses. Getting my workout in was part of my day like anything else was, sweating became mandatory, it was part of my daily routine like my morning coffee or brushing my teeth. Here are a few tricks that help me:
I never miss a Monday. Starting the first day of the week off with a workout has so many benefits.
The longer I wait to get my workout in, the chances of it actually happening get slimmer. This isn’t always true, but I have definitely fell victim to it enough times to learn my lesson.
Weekends are no longer “off days”. In fact, weekends are my favorite days to workout since my husband is home from work to help with my son while I sneak away for an hour (yes, you only need an hour!) Weekends give me the opportunity to get some much needed “me” time so I look forward to these days.
Traveling is no excuse to forgo my workouts either (obviously depending on the circumstances and destination) Some of my favorite experiences while traveling are when I am able to explore the area on a run or take a local class that I couldn’t find back home. If possible on travel days, I will go to great lengths to workout before a flight. Even if it means waking up super early and having it done before my son is up. Knowing how stressful and long traveling can be, I can’t tell you how many times my mood has been saved by that morning workout.
Fitness goals should be Specific and Measurable
“I want to lose weight”… a pretty common fitness goal. But how exactly will I get from point A to point B? Through my experiences, I have found that setting more specific goals (or smaller, micro-goals) are easier to keep track of and keep me motivated.
For instance, after I had my son I had 10 pounds to loose to get me back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I set a goal that I wanted to lose 10 pounds over the following six weeks by eliminating soda and eating a high-protein and veggie diet. In addition, I also made a goal to workout 5 days a week. If that isn’t specific enough, try setting many micro-goals.
Micro-goals are long-term goals broken down into everyday mini-goals. They are extremely small, task-specific goals and deal with everyday duties that need to be done in order to achieve bigger goals. For example:
Long-term goal: Lose 20 pounds in 60 days.
Short-term goal: Run 4 times a week, 4 miles each time.
Micro-goal: Get to the gym and run at least a mile today. Then once you are finished with that first mile, your next milestone is to run another mile. Then another. Then another.
Bathroom scales. I have a love/hate relationship with them. But ultimately I have learned that they can be a very useful tool in holding myself accountable. Besides the way my clothes are fitting, numbers don’t lie. Choose to weigh yourself at the same time each day or once a week. I have found that this is the best way keep track of my progress and make immediate corrections to my diet.
Rewards work! They help motivate me AND remind me when I’m not meeting my goals. They don’t have to be anything extravagant either.
A small gift… maybe a pedicure or a massage once a month.
Trips were my favorite reward. A week in Hawaii would motivate me for months (seriously) But, trips don’t need to break the bank either! Scheduling a night away with a girlfriend somewhere driving distance counts too. If my packing involved the sun and a bathing suit, I was highly motivated.
Healthy meal plans are necessary to obtain your fitness goal, however there are ways to feel like you’re “rewarding yourself” when you’re not. I love to snack and have a sweet tooth but I’ve found some great alternatives HERE. Remember that holding yourself accountable is a mindset adjustment, treating yourself with a burger and fries or a day off from your workout doesn’t aline with your weight-loss plan. Instead, make the reward something that makes you feel good about yourself and what you’re accomplishing.
Love: Holding yourself accountable and sticking to your goals is the true definition of self-love. As I saw myself working towards my goals of changing bad habits and behaviors I finally felt less anxious and more at peace.
These tricks have helped me stay on track for over 3 years, I hope you find one thing that helps you too. Thank so much for reading!