10 Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable

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. If we know that nutrition plus fitness is the magic formula for living a vibrantly healthy 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?

In my experience working with individuals at CrossFit Dwell in Kennesaw, GA, the key is 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 willingly 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 subconsciously tell ourselves every time we didn’t show up that we failed, and over time, we begin to see ourselves as incapable and weak. We lose trust in ourselves.

 Relying on others to hold us accountable is OK—in the short term. When we’re just getting started, we need help. We need encouragement and support while we develop good habits. At CrossFit Dwell we have a framework of accountability to help those who are getting 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 of fellow members 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 what we do to help you stay 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. We cannot do the work for you.

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. If you don’t engage with the people in your gym, you are missing out on a big piece of the magic. They are like-minded people who cheer you on every step of the way. Who wouldn’t want a group like that?

2. Set reminders on your phone. Schedule your workouts like appointments you can’t miss. Set an alarm for when you need to start prepping your healthy meal so that you don’t look at the clock, realize you have no time and reach for something unhealthy out of convenience.

3. Tell a coach when you’re planning to come to class. This simple act creates an expectation and you will more likely follow through on your intention.

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. This is great visual evidence your your success! It’s satisfying to see your efforts adding up, and it 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 pictures. The change may come slowly and you may not even notice your progress, but a “before” picture can help you remember where you started and to see how far you have come. What a great way to encourage yourself to just keep on doing the work!

7. Set quarterly goal-setting meetings. If you are a member at CrossFit Dwell, we make it a priority schedule these meetings with you every quarter. If you are already a client of ours, reach out 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. A small reminder in your phone or a note on the bathroom mirror can keep your “why” in front of you easily.

9. 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. Progress is better than perfection.

10. Reward yourself for reaching micro-goals. Everyone likes a prize, right? 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. A reward can be flowers, time with friends, or a favorite activity. They don’t have to cost money—get creative with things you enjoy and treat yourself.

There are many other ways to keep yourself accountable, so find what works for you. Something that worked once might not work forever—switch 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: https://crossfitdwell.com/free-consultation!

Inspiration provided by Sarah Neal at CrossFit816.com.