I’ve set many goals that I haven’t achieved. There are some that I’m still working toward. The ones that I’ve actually stuck with are ones that I have/had accountability in place. Without accountability, I fell off the wagon pretty easily.
I listened to Tim Ferriss speak about personal accountability this week on the Rich Roll Podcast (my favorite podcast, hands down). One of the most effective ways that Tim engineers accountability in his health regimen is to pre-book personal training sessions or classes way in advance, put it in the calendar and pay for it all up front. There’s no way he can back out even if he wants to, or he’ll face losing hundreds of dollars.
Another intense but highly effective accountability example that Tim laid out is a person setting aside money (potentially an uncomfortable amount) and if that person fails to meet the expectations or the goal, their money is donated to an “anti-charity” or an organization that person detests. That’s a serious accountability program!
What would cultivate deep motivation for you? Would it be losing a large sum of money by backing out of commitments? Would it be the sense of disappointment that others might feel in you when you don’t honor the plan you’ve set?
You can use this knowledge of yourself to put accountability programs in place. One method that has worked for me so far is that my husband and I make great accountability partners for each other. He can fall into healthy habits rather easily, and living with him is great motivation. Our accountability is our bond with each other... we each want to live up to the promise we've made to the other person.
We formalized it by creating a spreadsheet for the goals we are working toward every day. For example, there's a workout tracker where we log how many minutes we've worked out each day, and what we did. We both have access to it and can log the necessary information. We are showing up for each other every day and being transparent in our efforts to reach our goals and grow. And it's super gratifying to see it all laid out on "paper" -- especially when you see hundreds of minutes logged!
Do you have someone like that in your life with whom you can create a check-in system? What would the stakes be like if you fail to meet the expectations you both committed to?
If you need someone to be an accountability buddy for you, that’s a big part of a health coach’s job. We can work together to define your goals, or if you already have them in place, we can set up a system of check-ins and support.
Don't hesitate to reach out if you're feeling the need for support and accountability on your way to hitting your goals, your topping personal bests and living your dreams.