With fitness and health, accountability is a humongous factor and motivator. I recognize that this is not a new or shocking statement. What I think is valuable to examine, however, is how this looks for each of us. We are constantly bombarded with other people’s successes and many people are looking for that perfect, easy routine that magically causes them to lose 20 pounds, have muscle and able to maintain it. Reality check. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. Period. For most of us, we need to remain consistent, keep good habits, and work to maintain our health and fitness. I consider myself a runner, but really I’m a walk/jogger and mostly it’s because I don’t actually run that often. When consistently running, I run a lot and it’s easier. When I’m out of practice, running is hard (duh). This is true for all things.
Why am I telling you what you already know? Because it is valuable to step back and look at goals and habits if you want to achieve and maintain success. For me, I also need some accountability and I think it can make a big difference for most of us. What I’m referring to is that external or internal motivator that drives you and keeps you from making excuses. I’m an ardent follower of all things Gretchen Rubin, and her Four Tendencies book and advice really stuck with me. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take the quiz here. By digging into it, I realized that I am someone who needs accountability that makes sense to me and that can be internal and/or external depending on what it is. For work tasks, I am motivated by my clients and keeping my promises to them. With fitness, I have found that external accountability helps me, but the person I’m making promises to is myself. Jeremy has discussed this on The Fit Mess also, but sometimes even having my Instagram account tied to my fitness is enough. If I am posting about fitness, I better actually be doing the work!
Another awesome strategy can be committing to exercise someone else. I have friends that have standing walking dates with friends. If they’re counting on you, will you skip it? My current biggest accountability partner has been my dog. He’s almost one and annoys our other, older dogs. He also gets into trouble if he gets bored. Over the summer, midday was too hot for long afternoon walks, so I sucked it up and started setting an early alarm to take him before the kids get up. Now, when I come downstairs in the morning, he is excited and expects to go for a walk. He is counting on me. This has been the best decision I’ve made in a while. Not only am I getting more exercise, but I’m awake and ready earlier and in a better frame of mind when I’m getting my kids up and out the door. I occasionally let him down, but for the most part we’ve been consistent and the most amazing thing has happened- I’m running again! When you start doing the same route consistently, you find it getting easier and faster. I realize I can go a bit further if a jog some of it, then the next day I run a bit longer and so on. Today was a solid two miles of running (plus some walking), which is the most I’ve done outside in some time.
Remember that no change is instantaneous, and sometimes you really need to get into something and stay with it to start seeing the results. I’m now strategizing what I’m going to do when it’s dark outside at 6am and how I’m going to reorganize our route, but I’m taking it on instead of giving up.
I have a little homework for you all to try- pick one thing that you want to do. It can be adding exercise, changing eating habits, getting up earlier, or anything else that you think you need to do to improve your health and happiness. Write it down, then think about how it can happen. Do you need to get up earlier? Do you need to make a calendar appointment with yourself? Do you need to find a group or challenge to keep you motivated and accountable? Once you decide how to do it, share it with the people closest to you. Ask them to bug you about it and tell them when you’re succeeding. Miss a day or two? Try try again. Share about it socially so that you can see if social accountability helps for you (I’ve shared pictures of my alarm so that I feel like I HAVE to get up in the morning). I want some honest feedback about if this worked and what you did! Tag me in an Instagram post or DM me! Let’s do this together.