Like motivation, accountability can come from both internal and external sources. Strive to be self-accountable, but remember that this journey is easier with the help of others.
“If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly.” – Steve Maraboli
Accountability and motivation are commonly confused, and for good reason. When most people think about staying accountable, especially with weight loss and health, they tend to think about an accountability partner and staying accountable to someone. While this can certainly be a big part of it there is more to accountability than just that, and it’s important to not confuse it with motivation.
So what exactly is accountability anyway?
Our definition of accountability is the understanding that actions or inactions have consequences, whether positive or negative. We feel it’s really important to set up your environment so that there are real consequences for both doing well and poorly.
It is more than just having someone check in to see how you are doing. It is setting consequences based on the behaviour you want to create or change. We can build in accountability measures in order to help us achieve our goals.
How to stay accountable
There are many different things you can do to add a level of accountability to your goals. We’ll cover some of the ones that have worked best for us and give you some tools to implement these into your own life.
The Accountability Partner
This is likely the most popular method of accountability, but it only works if you choose the right people and if they are truly invested in your success.
An accountability partner is simply someone you tell your goals to that is willing to check in to make sure you are staying in track. For some people this is all it is, but we like to take it a step further. You’ll get more use out of an accountability partner relationship by scheduling the check-ins, and putting in place consequences based on the results at the time of check-in.
Let’s say for example that you tell your accountability partner you want to go to the gym 3 times and take a prepared healthy lunch to work every day. In order for there to be real accountability, there needs to be a consequence based on whether or not you achieved the goal for the week.
It could be as simple as going out for coffee or tea once a week and depending on how what the results were either you or your accountability partner will pay. Sure, it might only be $5 or so for the week, but it is still a consequence.
The relationship with your accountability partner needs to be a good one as they will be enforcing consequences. You may already know of someone you feel would be a good fit for something like this. It could be a close friend, family member, or spouse.
If you are having a hard time finding someone that will truly keep you accountable, just head on over to the accountability thread on the forum. There are a lot of people there willing to help, ourselves included.
Put your money where your mouth is
Another great method of accountability is using money. I have seen this done in offices and workplaces where they organize some sort of competition, like weight loss, and anyone who wants to participate needs to buy into the pool for a set amount of money. Then based on the criteria they set (usually something like % of body weight lost),
If you are interested in something like this but there is nothing happening in your workplace, you can always try checking in the forums, or there is a great site called Diet Bet where you can join in other competitions or start your own.
Money always makes me move. That’s why I will often hire my own coach or personal trainer. I know if I paid for something and that there is a level of accountability with the money, that I’m more likely to follow through. The fact that you paid for this membership will subconsciously help as well.
Tell the world
Social media and blogging have made this much easier than in the past. Making your goals public and telling many people will add a level of accountability. It works even better if you provide ongoing updates the same way. If you don’t work hard to achieve your goals there is the consequence of having everyone you told know. For some people this might be a little scary, but for others this can be a great method of accountability.
I will always be sharing what is going on in my world over on the accountability thread in the forum. I also like to use my personal Facebook account to announce my goals. I find both of these methods very helpful as I do not want to let down everyone cheering me on.
Set rewards based on your progress
Accountability isn’t just about avoiding negative consequences, it’s also about achieving positive consequences as well. When you are goal setting and looking to add a level of accountability, you can set little rewards at certain milestones along the way.
For example, perhaps when you lose your first 10 or 20 pounds, you will buy yourself a new piece of clothing or jewellery. It doesn’t need to be something purchased either, you can reward yourself with an experience just as easy. Just remember not to reward yourself with junk food though as that sort of defeats the purpose.
Download the accountability worksheet and follow along with the video below to complete it. Be sure to complete the action steps.
- Reach out to an accountability partner, tell them your goals, and schedule a time to review.
- Set consequences based on the behaviours of your short term goals.
- Tell 5 additional people about your goals and plans for your health.
- Head on over to the Accountability Thread in the forums to discuss.
Want us to help keep you accountable? Need to ask a question about this lesson? Ask it here or let us know in the forums.