If I asked you if eating healthy foods was important, you would say ‘of course,’ right? And if I asked whether exercise is key for health and wellness, you would most likely respond with a yes. So if we know that nutrition plus fitness is the magic formula for living our best life, why don’t we do it? Why do we prioritize one over the other? Why do we put one on the back burner and only get serious about it when we’ve been slapped in the face by a wake-up call, such as getting winded by one flight of stairs or a high blood-pressure reading?
Over my 15+ years of working with hundreds of clients at Xtra Mile I have noticed the common theme when it comes to athletes falling off, ACCOUNTABILITY. We’re often willing to let ourselves down time after time, but when someone else is counting on us, we show up for them.
We show up for others because we don’t want to disappoint them, but yet we are willingly to disappoint ourselves over and over. We justify why we can’t follow through on our nutrition plan, we make excuses for why we have to skip the gym today and we follow it up with a promise to try again tomorrow—or better yet, to start fresh on Monday. Meanwhile, we’re subconsciously cataloging every time we didn’t show up for ourselves as just another failure, and over time, we begin to see ourselves as incapable, inept and weak-minded.
Relying on others to hold us accountable is OK—in the short term. When we’re just getting started, we need that assistance. We need that encouragement and support while we develop good habits. At Xtra Mile, we have a framework of accountability to help those wanting to get started. We send reminders, we check in, we acknowledge you every time you walk through the door, we high-five, we follow up and we celebrate with you each time you reach a milestone.
Our community at Xtra Mile also helps in this accountability effort. That friend who is normally in class with you notices when you haven’t been there and sends you a friendly text asking how you’re doing. We let you know you aren’t forgotten and we want you here.
Now here’s where the truth hurts a little bit: No matter how much work we do to keep you accountable, it ultimately comes down to you. It’s up to you to consciously choose every day to make progress toward your goals. We will always cheer you on and help you, but if you haven’t bought in to the process, it won’t work in the long term.
So how do we stop letting ourselves down and create a safety net for reaching our goals?
Here are 10 tips for holding yourself accountable to your goals:
1. Engage in the community. We want to help you! The magic is in surrounding yourself with a group off like minded people (which we have here at Xtra Mile), so engage and take advantage of all the great opportunities we have going on.
2. Schedule out your week in advance and set reminders on your phone. Schedule your workouts like appointments you can’t miss and set an alarm for when you need to start prepping your healthy meal so that you don’t let distractions slip in and cause you to forget.
3. Tell a coach when you’re planning to come to class. By putting your intentions out there, you have created an expectation that you will want to follow through on.
4. Print off a calendar, hang it in a visible spot and cross off the days you hit the gym or stayed true to your nutrition plan so that you can visually see all the marks of your success. It’s satisfying to see your efforts adding up and will reinforce your intentions to keep going!
5. Share your story on social media or another public forum. There’s something to be said for putting it all out there! Even if no one on social media follows up with you on your progress, making a claim publicly will make you more likely to keep your word.
6. Take progress pics. To see our progress, we have to remember where we started. We get used to how we currently look because change is subtle and gradual. By looking back to our starting point and comparing it to where we are now, we can take stock of the progress we have made since day one. We are HUGE fans of progress pics!
7. Set quarterly goal-setting meetings with your accountability partner. If you are a member at Xtra Mile, we want to schedule these meetings with you every quarter, so click here to get yours on the calendar! If you aren’t a member here, find a friend who needs accountability, too, and make quarterly dates to review your progress and set goals for the future.
8. Constantly remind yourself of your “why.” A goal is great, but if we don’t know why we want to reach it, it doesn’t mean much. Ask yourself why you want to focus on your fitness and nutrition. How will it impact your life? How will it make you feel? It doesn’t hurt to do some visualization either. Mentally imagine yourself as the person you see yourself as if your goals are met. Once you have a solid “why,” remind yourself of it daily so that you internalize it and keep it close to your heart.
9. Extremes NEVER work so don’t make it all or nothing. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”—we all know that saying, and it’s true! We are on a journey, not a quick trip to the supermarket. There will be ups and downs. There will be plateaus. There will be naysayers and stress and self-doubt. Don’t let those things knock you off your path. Acknowledge them, thank them for teaching you something about yourself and then continue to make forward progress.
10. Set micro-goals along the path to your BIG goals and reward yourself for hitting those milestones along the way. An example is if someone wants to lose 30 pounds, they can give themselves a little gift for every five-pound loss. Someone who wants to focus on nutrition can reward themselves for each solid week of staying on track or keeping their eating out to below an acceptable minimum for the week. These rewards don’t have to cost money, either—get creative with things you enjoy and treat yourself!
These are just a few ways to keep yourself accountable but find what works for you. You are your own person so what worked for myself or others may not work for you, and something that worked previously might not work forever. Be open to switching things up often to stay excited and motivated about your success.
If you need help getting started on your health and wellness path, feel free to contact us! We would love to set up a No-Sweat Intro with you where we talk about you, your current lifestyle and your goals, and help you make a plan of action. Book one here!
Inspiration provided by Sarah Neal at CrossFit816.com.