Find a way to hold yourself accountable, and you will not want to waiver from your plans. Keep a positive outlook, have a plan and a support system and you will achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Most people know what they should be doing to lead a healthier lifestyle: work out harder and more often, eat better, eliminate stressors, get quality sleep, etc. Loads of information about how to have a healthier life are available in magazines, books and online.
If all of this information is easily accessible and we know what we should be doing, why isn't everyone leading healthier lives? The missing component is accountability.
If you have ever made the decision to make a healthy change in your life, you probably understand what it is like to get started on a goal that eventually falls to the wayside. It is hard to hold yourself accountable to make changes, which is the reason most people hire a trainer. But what if you don't have the time and/or money to hire a trainer? You must find a way to hold yourself accountable.
The first step is to define a clear, concise goal. Leaving the goal too broad and general leaves room to deviate. Give yourself a specific goal to hit by a specific time so you know exactly what you are working towards. For example, instead of saying, "I will eat better," say, "I will eat only natural, unprocessed foods with one cheat per week for six weeks."
Once you have your goal, get a blank notebook and write it down. Use this notebook to write down what you eat and your workout routine involves. Commit yourself to writing down everything for two weeks. Once the two weeks is over, it will seem habitual and you will want to continue. This will hold you accountable by knowing that you have to confess and write down the candy bar you just ate or that you did a low-effort workout. Being able to see your diet and workouts on paper is usually an eye-opener.
Another way to hold yourself accountable is to find a partner. Find someone you know will push you and make you step up. Choosing someone who will not push you will allow you to slack here and there and you will set yourself up to fail. Sit down with a partner and set some rules. For example, if you cheat on the diet, you both must do 30 push-ups. Or if you miss a workout, the partner must do 30 push-ups. Putting your downfalls on someone else really helps keep you out of trouble.
Forming a group of people who are all working towards similar goals is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable. Working as a group creates camaraderie –– you will become closer friends, you will notice when one another is missing, there is a support system for when you are feeling down and you can feel good about yourself by helping others who are down.
Weight Watchers and CrossFit are two programs that have had great successes with the group aspect. Weight Watchers has a support group for those who are trying to eat better to lose weight, and CrossFit gets groups of people together who want to work hard and have fun while working out. The group dynamic is much more powerful than one person alone and makes tasks much easier.
Rewards are also a great way to keep yourself accountable. If you reach your goal on time, allow yourself a reward to which you wouldn't normally treat yourself. Maybe you have really want to splurge on a new jacket, a weekend getaway trip or some new shoes; these would be perfect things to give yourself after reaching a goal.
If you are smart while setting goals and making changes in your life, you can easily set yourself up for success. Find a way to hold yourself accountable, and you will not want to waiver from your plans. Keep a positive outlook, have a plan and a support system and you will achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Molly Suhadolnik is the co-owner of CrossFit Instinct and the director of Group Fitness and Wellness at Gold's Gym. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified CrossFit Trainer. Contact Molly at Molly@TrainerMolly.com.