5 Tricks to Staying Accountable
It’s that time of year: Resolution Season.
But while we may be good at setting goals, reaching them often proves harder. That’s because goal setting is a skill. And the root of that skill is accountability.
So to help you follow-through with the goals you set for yourself (or are already working towards), here are 5 essential tricks for staying accountable:
1. Be Realistic
Cliché or not, there is no dream too big. As Michaelangelo once said, “The danger for most of us lies…in setting our aim too low.”
So when we say “be realistic,” we only mean with your timeline. Time is the only thing that makes a goal feel unachievable—and a goal that feels unachievable is likely a goal we won’t hold ourselves accountable to. But how do you decide what’s a “realistic” timeline? Our best advice is to research your goals to see how others accomplished them. Oh, and also always believe in yourself.
2. Pick an Accountability Buddy
We’ve all done it—said we were going to go to the gym tomorrow and didn’t. If you live with someone, maybe they called you out. But if you live alone, it was probably all too easy to skip the gym when there was no one holding you accountable.
That’s what having an accountability partner is all about, having someone who knows your goal and can check up on your progress, someone you can share all of your exciting milestones with. This shouldn’t feel like reporting chores to a parent; quite the opposite, it should be fun and supportive. Your accountability buddy is someone supporting you and sharing the burden of staying on track.
3. Track Your Progress
Perhaps the most important tool to keep stay accountable is tracking your progress. In our Sports Psychology post, we talked about the importance of breaking goals down into micro-goals. This helps make goals feel more realistic, as we talked about above, and also helps create smaller wins to celebrate along the way. The key to a good micro-goal is to make it as specific and measurable as possible. For example, incorporating 5 days of sprint work in a month is a great micro-goal if your overall goal is to improve your mile time.
Once you identify what micro-goals will lead to your larger goal, write everything out. Once you have it all laid out, this will be your second accountability buddy. Stick to it, and be sure to physically cross off each micro-goal you hit. The more you do this, the easier you’ll find staying accountable to your goals is.
4. Celebrate Milestones
While we’re on the topic of micro-goals, let’s not forget it’s oh-so important to celebrate each of the milestones you hit. Think of it like placing a piece of candy at the bottom of every page in a chapter you need to read: Although finishing each page is still a micro-accomplishment without the candy, it feels much more like an accomplishment with it. More than that, too, the candy incentivizes you to keep reading.
Accountability works the same. You’re much more likely to stay accountable to those micro-goals—and therefore your larger goal, too—if you celebrate them. And celebration can be anything you want, from a little self-care gift to simply dancing in your living room.
5. Remember Your Why
Lastly, somewhere on the path to the goal you set, things will get hard—it’s almost certainly guaranteed. And when things get tough, it can be easy for a goal to seem less important, less worth the work. Accountability and motivation go hand-in-hand. No motivation to put in the work? No motivation to stay accountable.
But when motivation wanes, the most powerful way to keep you on track is to return to your core “Why”. Write it down wherever you track your progress so it’s easy to find when you need it. And perhaps when that’s not enough, practice some mindfulness meditation on that “Why”.
Have a fitness goal you want to work towards?
Chat with any of our training coaches for some help in identifying a realistic timeline as well as some of the micro-goals you should be working towards. Plus, any of them are a shoe-in for an awesome accountability partner!
And test out your accountability skills with Dynamic Souls’ 6-Week Challenge, which features plenty of healthy goals like eating fruit every day for a week or attending 4 classes in a week. Complete 5 goals (in our fitness BINGO board) and you’ll be entered for the Grand Prize basket and a slot in our Winter Games. Contact us today to join!