I know a lot of writers who rely heavily on accountability to keep them productive on a story. Is it absolutely essential? No, but having someone alongside you or tracking your word count can definitely provide extra oomph in getting the page filled. Being more public about project progress is a great way to commit yourself to it, not to mention the motivation of having, say, a book contract and deadline you have to fulfill. Accountability can be found in a critique group, in write-a-thons, and writing retreats.
The same goes for fitness. Going at it alone can work, and plenty of people do so. But if you partner or team up with others, it can make accomplishing your goals just a little easier and more fulfilling. Plus, there are ways to be more accountable to yourself.
- Keep a Fitness Log: You don’t have to be too hard-nosed about it, but if you keep a record of your activity as well as how much and what you’ve been eating, you can be more aware and honest with yourself. You can also see how you’re progressing and celebrate accomplishments along the way.
- Tell Others: Just the act of telling a friend, loved one, or peer about your goals can give you the edge you need to make them a reality. Simple enough. You can take it a step further by asking them to truly hold you accountable to those goals, check in on you regularly, and encourage you to keep going when your motivation drags.
- Raise the Stakes: In writing, the plot doesn’t really matter unless there are stakes involved. Tension and a risk of loss. No matter how much we might desire to get fit at first, we all can hit that point of questioning the effort. “Why does it matter?” Well, find ways to make it matter! Give yourself consequences if you don’t meet your benchmarks. One example of this is the Gym-Pact app, where you can earn or lose money by sticking to a fitness plan and reaching health goals.
- Give Yourself a Deadline: One of my bigger fitness breakthroughs came when I signed up for a obstacle course race a year out and determined how much weight I wanted to lose while training for it. I had a hard date for showing up at the starting line and could plot out a more concrete plan for the interim. A solid goal can engender solid progress.
What you may find is that if you give yourself an external accountability network, eventually you’ll start making self-accountability a habit. Down the road, you may not even need those outside motivators because fitness has become such an integral part of your lifestyle.
Do you have anyone you keep accountable to in your fitness and health? Maybe it’s your doctor…your spouse…your friends? Maybe it’s a group of folks you connect with online or meet for runs during lunch. If you’re struggling to maintain your progress, consider how this sort of approach could provide the motivational foundation you need.