Deciding to change your lifestyle for improved health or to reach weight goals requires commitment. Because the crazy journey often includes successful motivational boosts with trying setbacks and plateaus, people frequently give up on the marathon necessary to reach desired goals. For those that remain focused on the prize and are willing to do the hard work, additional benefits are typically realized especially through personal development in other areas of life.
Being an accountable person means being responsible or answerable to someone for something. Self-accountability forces us to be honest with ourselves and to take responsibility for our actions and can be one of the keys to successful personal development and goal achievement. Failing to be accountable for the food we choose to eat or the lack of effort we put into our workouts can be a major pitfall and obstacle to successfully reaching goals that also limits personal development. However, with conscious decisions and intentional effort you can live an accountable life that helps you reach your personal goals while also improving other areas of your life. Here are some tips and tools that might help you begin living a more accountable life.
Take honest responsibility for your decisions and actions. We all make excuses especially when we are trying to eat better and increase exercise. We blame things like being too busy, putting the family first, not being motivated, the weather, having to travel for work, or a limited budget as the cause for our difficulties in reaching our goals. In reality, there is a decision (either conscious or unconscious) in each of our excuses. We rationalize the uncontrollable situations of our life and responsibilities as reasons that prevent us from doing what we say want to meet our goals. When we take honest responsibility for making conscious decisions (instead of giving in to the unconscious ones), we move toward our goals. Find opportunities to turn day-to-day life into healthy living choices. Make a conscious choice to take the stairs instead of the elevator, choose to park in the back part of the parking lot instead of driving around waiting for the closest spot, or make conscious portion control choices especially on food that does not have a healthier alternative. Next time you feel unmotivated or with little will power to avoid the Girl Scout cookies, I hope this blog will come to mind. With it, I hope you gain the realization that you CAN make a conscious choice (a healthier option, portion control, evaluation about why you want to eat or not work out etc.) that allows you to be honest and accountable with yourself and the decisions you make.
Allow friends and family to provide support. A University of Pittsburgh study found that dieters that had at least one other person check in on their progress lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t have any support. Letting other people know your goals and problem areas provides another level of accountability and motivation. A spouse, best friend, or co-worker can help by being an accountability partner or fitness buddy that keeps you honest with your choices and active toward your goals. Some people do better staying on track with those they don't physically know instead of those that are "in their face" all the time. Social media and virtual friendships provide great accountability options through online message boards, fitness challenges, or groups and teams with other people that share similar lifestyles and circumstances. If you have tried many of these but still struggle with being accountable to your goals, perhaps a mixture of LIVE interaction with people you don't physically know would be of benefit to you.
SparkPeople LIVE! may be something to try out for a week (the first week is free!) to see if a live online support and motivation meeting provides the combination that fills an accountability gap you didn't even know existed. Spark member QUERIDAANA recently shared benefits she found through SparkPeople LIVE! online meetings. "The fact that we have to report on our progress, goals, woo hoos (accomplishments or feel good, proud, positive moments) has changed my thinking and helped me focus on the positives in my day and not take the good things for granted." If you have found social media support to be beneficial but need to take it up a notch to improve your personal accountability, a live online connection with other people with similar goals might be something to consider.
How accountable is your life? Are you 100% accountable for your actions and choices? Have you found support from physical or virtual partners? Is accountability an area you need to work on to reach your goals? How will you do it?
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