If someone asked you to rank the importance of eating healthy foods for general health, you would say ‘at the top,’ right? And if I asked whether exercise is crucial for overall health and wellness, you would most likely respond with a definitive yes. So if we know that nutrition plus fitness is the magic formula for living a healthy life, why don't we do it? Why don’t we prioritize them equally? Why do we put one on the back burner and only get serious about it when we’ve been slapped in the face by a wake-up call, like when we carry in our groceries or a high blood-pressure reading?
In our experience working with hundreds of individuals at Maximize Potential, the missing key is accountability. We’re often willing to let ourselves down every now and again, but when someone else is counting on us, we show up for them.
We show up for others because we don't want to let them down, but yet we willingly disappoint ourselves over and over. We make excuses to why we can't follow through on our nutrition plan, we make excuses all the time 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 next week. Meanwhile, we’re subconsciously tracking every time we didn't show up for ourselves as just another failure, and over time, we begin to see ourselves as incapable, inept and weak-minded.
Having to rely on others to hold us accountable is OK—in the short term. When we’re just getting started, we will need that assistance. We need that encouragement and support while we develop these good habits. At Maximize Potential, we have a framework of accountability to help those wanting to get started. We send out reminders, we make sure to check in with you, we acknowledge you every time you walk through the door, we follow up, and we celebrate with you each time you reach a fitness milestone.
Our amazing community of fellow members also helps in this accountability effort. That friend who is normally in class next to you notices when you haven't been there and sends you a friendly text asking how you’re doing. 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 work we do to keep you accountable, it will always come down to you. It’s up to you to consciously choose every day to make progress toward your goals. We will always cheer you on and help you every step of the way, but if you haven’t bought into the process, it won't work in the long term.
So how do we change the way we think, stop letting ourselves down, and create a plan for reaching our goals?
Here are 10 tips for holding yourself accountable to your goals:
- Engage in the community. We want to help you! Our community wants to help you! It is our business! If you don't engage with your fellow classmates, you are missing out on a big piece of the magic. Who wouldn't want a group of like-minded people cheering you on every step of your journey?
- Set reminders on your phone. Schedule your workouts like appointments you can't miss. Set an alarm on Sunday to reserve your class times for the entire week. This will help you map out your week and plan ahead!
- Tell a coach when you’re planning to come to class. By putting your intentions out in the open, you have created an expectation for yourself and the coach that you will want to follow through on.
- Print off a calendar. Hang it in a visible spot like your fridge or next to your desk at work and cross off the days you hit the gym or stayed true to your nutrition plan. This way you can visually see all the marks of your success. It’s satisfying to see your efforts adding up over time and will reinforce your intentions to keep going!
- Share your story on social media or another public forum. There’s something to be said for putting it all out there! Even if no one on social media follows up with you on your progress, making a claim publicly will make you more likely to keep your word. Who knows, you just might motivate someone to want to change their life for the better just like you!
- Take progress pics & consistent scans. To see our progress, we have to remember where we started. We get used to how we currently look because change is subtle and gradual. Keep yourself focused on your goals by looking back to our starting point and comparing it to where we are now. Using the body scans, this will help you understand how your body is changing for the better and give you more clarity on your progress you've made since day one.
- Set quarterly goal-setting meetings with an accountability buddy or your coach. If you are a member at Maximize Potential, we want to schedule these meetings with you every quarter to keep you on the right track and help you improve the way you need to, so reach out to get yours on the calendar! If you aren't a member at Maximize Potential, find a friend who needs accountability like you, and make quarterly dates to review your progress and set goals for the future.
- Constantly remind yourself of your "why." A goal is great, but if we don't know why we want to reach it, it doesn't mean much. Ask yourself why you want to focus on your fitness and nutrition. How will losing those extra 15 pounds impact your life? How will it make you feel being stronger overall? What will you be able to accomplish when you are pain free? 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," keep it in the back of your mind to keep yourself focused and improving.
- Don't make it all or nothing. "Rome wasn't built in a day”—we all know that saying, and it’s true! We are all on a journey, not a quick trip to the grocery store. There will be many ups with some downs mixed in. We will experience some plateaus. Don't let those things knock you off your path. Acknowledge them, thank them for teaching you something about yourself and then continue forward. Progress is progress, no matter how small.
- Reward yourself for reaching micro-goals. Everyone likes a prize, right? Set up some small goals that you can hit 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 15 pounds, they can give themselves a little gift for every five-pound loss. Someone who wants to focus on their nutrition can reward themselves for each solid week of staying on track. These rewards don't have to cost money, either—get creative with things you enjoy and treat yourself!
There are tons of other ways to keep yourself accountable, so find which ones work best for you. Something that worked before might not work right now—switch things up often to stay excited and motivated about your success.
If you need help getting started on your health and wellness path, feel free to contact Maximize Potential! 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!
Inspiration provided by Sarah Neal at CrossFit816.com.