It is inching close to summer and around this time most of us are starting to worry about the sun coming out and having to shed those winter clothing layers. It’s natural, we all start to worry about that. Loving our bodies and accepting them is one thing, being comfortable in our own skin is another thing altogether. If you have been wanting to eat healthier, get into an exercise routine, shed some unwanted pounds and inches but haven’t quite been able to do that, you may be missing something to keep you on track: accountability.
There two types of accountability to help you reach your goals. Internal accountability and external accountability.
Internal accountability is staying accountable to yourself. If you aren’t honest with yourself, you won’t be honest with anyone else, so this is the best place to start. You may have heard the phrase “start with your why.” This is an important step. It isn’t enough to know what to do, you need to know the reason behind your goal. Why do you want to eat healthier? Why do you want to lose more weight? Start here. This needs to be the internal drive that will continue to motivate you when you don’t “feel” like moving forward. It may take time to truly find out these reasons and peel back the superficial reasons for your “why.”
Once you find your true motivation, your “why”, it will be easier to have your internal accountability to stay accountable to yourself before being accountable to others.
How do you stay accountable to yourself?
Write down your health goals, take it one step at a time, be honest with yourself, educate yourself.
External accountability is staying accountable to others. It is easier to reach your goals when you have supportive people around you that are eager to hear about your progress, checking in on your progress, and may even share the same goals as you.
When external accountability is missing from an individual’s journey, it is harder to make progress and reach their goals because it can feel isolating and lonely. When you have accountability, you can reach out for help, and the burdens and excitement are shared together with others.
How do you use external accountability to reach your goals?
Share your goals with your accountability partner(s), be honest, be open to feedback.
How do you create Accountability?
There is no such thing as one right way to create accountability. Some of us have great support systems already in place, others are just starting to build community in brand new environments. There are many ways to build accountability, here are a few to give you an idea:
Hire a Fitness /Health Coach and/or Nutritionist:
This is a great option if you feel you need one on one support or a more professional approach to accountability. If you feel like you’ve done this before and other options haven’t worked for you and would like to take it a step further, this is a great option. These individuals will know how and where to guide you and not only will they have answers, you will have invested in your goals and that monetary investment may just be what you need to keep you motivated.
Join a Virtual Group:
Find a group on Facebook or similar platform that have goals that are like yours and hold each other accountable. A virtual group is flexible, can easily connect you with others through a mobile device or computer, and you can meet through video and chat to encourage and check in with one another. This is a great way to find community that have like-interests and goals without having to be confined to one central location or be tied down to in-person meetings.
Join an In-Person Group
If you are a person who thrives in social situations and loves interacting in group situations, this option is perfect for you! There are many meet-ups at local churches, gyms, and community centers all over the place. If you can’t find one in your local area, create a group of your own!
Who says accountability must be a large group? Find a trusted friend and reach out to them. Share your heart and your goals with them. See if they have similar goals and set up an accountability structure. Set weekly and daily goals, send text reminders, and meet with each other to have progress check-ins. If you are fortunate enough to find a person to go on this journey with, it is a friendship worth its weight in gold!
The two biggest hurdles in achieving your goals are to recognize what the goals are and the reasons for those goals (what, why) and then to establish accountability. The reason why accountability is so important is by accounting for your actions, you eliminate the excuses and start making deliberate actions toward your goals. You realize that you are ultimately responsible for your success. This is why internal accountability is so important! No one else can accomplish your goals for you, but they can come along side you and support you, check-in with you, and remind you why you set out on your journey. Your external accountability partner helps you set and maintain your goals. We all do better knowing someone else is watching – it makes it more difficult to slack off.
As we enter the Spring season, the season of new life, new beginnings, and new possibilities, what goals are you setting for your health and wellness? What is your ‘why’? How will you stay accountable to accomplish your goals?