“Accountability” is when you take responsibility for your actions and it is one of the things that can help you reach your health goals. When you “own” them. Accountability is the number one item clients tell me they need when we first chat. And it’s key to improving your health and wellness. It isn’t just for fitness. It can help other areas of your wellness journey, too.
Have you ever bought a book or program with the absolute best intentions of following it to a “T?” Have you ever not followed it completely? Life gets in the way. We get too tired or busy and let a day or two slide. Then, sometimes, we completely fall off the bandwagon. It gets too hard to fit your new habits into your daily routine.
This happens to the best of us – Yes, even to me! You can have all the right information, but the implementation is the hard part. Getting kids where they need to be and sometimes the schedule changes so I have to be the flexible one changing up my routine. Sometimes it is my activity that takes the brunt of it. I have to make time for the activity to happen somewhere in my schedule.
Accountability is more of the “doing” than the “knowing.” It’s when you already know what you should be doing; but, doing it doesn’t always happen. And accountability, when you know someone is measuring or checking your actions, makes you more likely to do them.
What are some options for accountability?
- Start an activity journal – Just writing down the amount of exercise you do each day can increase your accountability. You can use a calendar or a blank notebook. For each day record:
- Which exercise is done;
- Distance or repetitions;
- Intensity (easy/moderate/vigorous);
- Notes or comments (what improvements you can make for next time); and,
- How you feel afterwards – Use this last item to motivate yourself to capture that feeling again.
Bonus points for logging what and how much you eat every day. That will help keep you accountable on the nutrition side too. I like the MyFitnessPal app for this, but there are plenty of others.
- Use a fitness tracker – Would you believe that a study of fitness habits in postmenopausal women showed that a fitness tracker increased the amount of exercise they did? Two groups of women were advised to walk 10,000 steps each day and get 150 minutes of moderate/vigorous physical activity each week. One group was given a pedometer. The other was given a pedometer plus a fitness tracker. Guess how much more activity the fitness tracker group increased each week? Thirty eight minutes! Yes, just having a fitness tracker increased activity, while the pedometer-only group had no change.
The conclusion? Having the tracker increased their accountability, measurement of the activities, and motivation to do them.
I like using a Fitbit, but there are now a ton of options out there, so find one that fits your needs and budget.
- Get an “accountability buddy” – Find a workout buddy. Someone who you can go for walks or to the gym with. If not, ask someone you trust to follow up with you every few days on your tracked activities. Make sure they know your “why” and can remind you of it when you need it. Have them spend a few minutes reviewing your journal/tracker and give you some “tough love” from time to time.
- Hire a health coach (like me). I love supporting people who are on a path to better health. I help moms figure out how to make wellness work for them by setting up habits and fitting them in the crazy busy life of a mom.
WHERE TO START
- You don’t need to exercise like crazy to improve your health and lose weight. You just need to do it regularly. Here are my recommended steps:
- Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Start from where you are and do a bit more every day.
- Always remember your “why.”
- If you need accountability, decide whether you’d prefer an activity journal or a fitness tracker. And use it daily. Track your exercise and what you eat and drink too.
If you need an accountability buddy, ask a trusted friend or family member; or contact me (your health coach) and we can have a free strategy session to see how I can support your health goals.
How would an accountability partner help you?