Think about all of the times when you made a decision, choice, or even a promise to yourself that would help you meet your health goals.
Maybe you’ve decided to cook dinner every night or hit the gym on Monday morning. How many times have you got to the point where you implemented the new habit or behavior change and just thought, “Uh, not today”.
When you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, but it still doesn’t work, accountability is the last piece of the puzzle that will get you to the finish line.
The 2 types of accountability you need to meet your health goals
Now that we know the importance of being accountable, how do we actually do it?
I will show you how to build accountability with yourself and how to create accountability with others so that you can achieve your health goals.
Accountability is twofold.
1. Internal accountability
First and foremost, we want to remain accountable to ourselves – internal accountability. When no one is around to see you or acknowledge your actions, internal accountability is that little nudge that gets you out of bed when you’re comfortable and craving some extra sleep.
The difficult thing is that some people obviously have a lot of internal accountability while others obviously don’t have that much.
Those who don’t have that much need to practice cultivating more of it for themselves. For example, members of our Mindful Nutrition Method ™ program go through exercises as they join to help them build a stronger sense of internal accountability.
Even when a stronger sense of internal accountability is developed, external accountability is really helpful for those who are not as natural.
2. External accountability
External accountability means remaining accountable to others. When you know someone else is checking into you, supporting you, and excited to see your progress, you feel almost indebted to stand up for them.
Team sports can be an assignable example of this. As an adult, was it easy for you to always show up to practice your sport because your team and coach expected you to be there? That is external accountability.
This external accountability is often lacking in so many people’s travels because they either search and ask with a friend or a professional.
We provide our members with the Mindful Nutrition Method ™ program external accountability through weekly check-ins, group coaching calls, exercise labs, a private membership community, and lessons on building stronger external accountability outside of the program.
It’s a combination of both – internal and external accountability – that has been proven to enable you to remain accountable throughout your life and to meet the health and wellness goals you have set for yourself (1).
Which of the two types of accountability do you need more of in your life?
In this way you remain accountable to yourself
Let’s start by getting that little voice inside your head to motivate you to stay responsible.
1. Write down your health goals
We said it once and we will say it again – write down your goals! Whether you’re a fan of planners and calendars or prefer a diary, writing down your goals has proven itself time and time again to increase your chances of success.
In particular, recent research has shown that we are 40 percent more likely to succeed when our goals are written down (2). Who doesn’t want an additional 40 percent chance of success!
Be specific and realistic when recording your health goals and ambitions for accountability. If this is your first time following an exercise plan, getting through intensive training seven days a week is probably not the best way. Start slowly and build yourself up!
Besides, what kind of exercise will you do when you are exercising? Is there a specific class that you will be attending? If so, when does the class start? The more specific you are, the clearer the message is and the easier it is to keep it.
When you see your goals tangible, they become real and concrete. This will undoubtedly increase your chances of remaining accountable.
2. Proceed step by step
Let’s say you’ve always wanted to prepare your meals, but you never seem to get on with your plans. In addition to writing down your food preparation goal, you should also set a schedule for when and how this should happen.
Take the time to create a schedule when you are motivated and have decided to implement the new habit, behavior change, or goal. This does all the heavy lifting in advance. That way, when it is time to start preparing your meals, you will already know what to do and when to start.
Be precise with your schedule; What day does the meal planning take place? Do you need to set a reminder so you don’t get distracted and forget? Know yourself and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. The more thoughts you bring into the activity beforehand, the more accountable you will be in the present moment.
3. Be honest with yourself
As clichéd as it sounds, honesty really is the best policy.
It’s easy to make excuses and streamline your decisions simply by speaking to yourself in your own head. But when things don’t go as planned, or when you find yourself in a situation where you have not been held accountable, be honest with yourself.
Use this time to determine what went wrong, why you were not held accountable, and what you can do differently next time. We are human, we all make mistakes. We just want to be sure to learn from them and move forward instead of repeating and stalling them.
4. Find the knowledge you need
In order to remain accountable and stick to your decisions, you need to have the right knowledge. Whatever the topic, educate yourself so you know how to properly apply yourself.
To get further education, you may need to do your own research. However, it is often best to work with a professional you can trust. Always look for a recognized, trustworthy person in the given area.
Working with a professional can also give you an extra level of accountability, which we’ll get into next.
How to use external accountability to help you meet your health goals
Research has shown that we often need the help of others to be truly accountable.
1. Share your goals
Whether it’s a professional you work with, your best friend, significant other, or maybe even a workout partner at the gym – talk to them about your goals! The more we verbalize and discuss our plans, the more responsible we feel about implementing them.
The next time you change your lifestyle, add a new step to your daily routine or set yourself a new goal. Tell someone else about it. Once again, be as specific as you can! Tell them you are going to the gym at 6:00 a.m. on Friday or that you are trying to budget $ 50 a week to save up for that particular trip.
Then ask them to check you in to see how things are going each week or month.
By verbalizing and writing down our health goals, we feel compelled to remain accountable and stick with them to the end.
We do this as part of the Mindful Nutrition Method ™ program, where our members share each week what they’re working on so the community and trainers can hold them accountable and get back to them.
2. Be honest with others
When you tell someone that you are going to do something, isn’t it difficult to tell them that you didn’t really pull it off when they asked? This is one of the reasons why it is so important to accountability to speak to others about your goals.
We also have to make sure that we are honest. When things don’t go quite the way you hoped and a friend asks why you didn’t get through, always tell the truth. Be honest with them. If you just felt unmotivated – say so! The more you acknowledge your weaknesses and weaknesses, the more likely it is that you will address them in the future and prevent the situation from recurring.
It can be difficult, but sometimes one has to put one’s ego aside to achieve a state of complete accountability.