We probably all know what the key to living a healthy life is, right? If I asked you, you would probably say health and wellness. You would probably say that fitness and nutrition are the key to living a vibrant and healthy life.
So why is it so hard? If we know what to do, why do we struggle so much with the actual doing? Why do we so easily set our goals aside when life gets hard or busy? Why do we put one on the back burner and only get serious when we’ve been slapped in the face by a wake-up call from our bodies like an injury or high blood pressure or a scolding from our physician?
After nine years of working with hundreds of clients at Sandpoint Strength I know that for 90% of people the key is accountability. We’re often okay with letting ourselves down time after time, but when someone else is counting on us, we drop everything and show up no matter what.
Why? Well, we most likely show up for others because we don’t want to disappoint them. We may be seeking their approval or we may just want to do it out of the goodness of our hearts. But we don’t show ourselves that same respect. We willingly disappoint ourselves time after time. 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, in our heads, we note every time we don’t show up for ourselves as a failure. We say mean things to ourselves about what we’re capable of. We write a story about our inability to follow through or be successful and over time those small incidents add up. We begin to see ourselves as incapable, inept and weak-minded.
Depending on someone else to help you stay accountable is not just OK, it’s totally normal. Most people need someone to be there to help them as they get started. They need to retrain their brain and believe that they are capable. We need that encouragement and support while we develop good habits. At Sandpoint Strength, 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 text you if we haven’t seen you in awhile, we high-five, we follow up and we celebrate with you each time you reach a milestone.
But it’s not just coaches, our community of members is there with you every step of the way. Your 8am workout buddy who sweats alongside you shoots you a friendly text asking how you’re doing when they haven’t seen you in class in awhile. 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 we encourage you, how many high-fives we give and how much we want you to be successful, the only person that’s ultimately responsible for your success is YOU. You have to make the choice to show up, create habits, and do the work.
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 reach your goals! It’s our business! If you don’t engage in the community, you are missing out on a big piece of the magic that makes this place so special. Who wouldn’t want a group of like-minded people cheering you on every step of the way?
2. Make your workouts an appointment with yourself. 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. If you have big goals, make sure that your priorities and the way you manage your time reflects that!
3. Tell a coach when you’re planning to come to class. Again, accountability, knowing that someone is going to miss you if you’re not there is VERY important. 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 (we like the fridge because then you’re accountable to everyone you live with too!) 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! We all like a gold star, even when we’re 40!
5. Share your story on social media or another public forum. It’s terrifying to put it all out there, but there’s something to be said for publicly claiming your goals and your progress. It will help you keep your word and you have no idea if that post is going to inspire someone to make the changes they’ve needed to. The ripple effect of progress is a real thing!
6. Take progress pics. To see our progress, we have to remember where we started. Also, your scale is a liar and pictures help us see the true and gradual change that happens with consistency.
7. Set quarterly goal-setting meetings with your coach or an accountability partner. If you are a member at Sandpoint Strength, we want to schedule these meetings with you every quarter, so reach out to get yours on the calendar! If you aren’t a member, reach out to a friend who needs accountability too, and make a quarterly date to review the highs and lows from the last three months and set goals for the next quarter.
8. Constantly remind yourself of your “why.” Setting a goal is great and honestly that’s the easiest part. But a goal of losing 10 pounds without understanding for yourself what improves when you reach it doesn’t really mean anything. 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. Don’t fall into the ALL or NOTHING trap. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”—we all know that saying, and it’s true! LIfe is a journey, a journey that is built on small decisions and habits. It’s also a journey with lots of twists and turns. They’ll be days you’re on fire and others where simply brushing your teeth feels like an accomplishment. Recognize those days for what they are, speed bumps not stop signs. 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. Reward yourself for reaching micro-goals. Who doesn’t love a present? 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 eating better 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, make a list and when you reach a micro-goal treat yourself!
There are many other ways to keep yourself accountable, so find what works for you. Everyone has a different currency when it comes to accountability and sometimes what worked in the past won’t work now. Don’t be afraid to switch things up to stay motivated and excited.
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! www.sandpointstrength.com
Inspiration provided by Sarah Neal at CrossFit816.com.