What do you think of when I say the word accountability? Is it a friend that is waiting for you at the park to go on your run every Tuesday and Thursday? Is it someone you employ to check your work and make sure you are paying all your bills and taxes so the IRS doesn’t audit you? Maybe it’s just a journal you keep by your bed to write your thoughts in for the day and check off all the things you had on your to-do list.
I like to think of accountability as the #1 driving factor to facilitate any major behavior change in your life. In order to make a change you have to be motivated to make a change, know what change you’re going to make and then have some aspect of accountability to follow through on those changes. The word accountability literally means responsibility or liability. That means you are responsible to someone or something and in my experience if it’s someone, your chances of making a successful change go way up!
If you have clear goals you want to achieve but you are not taking action, implementing behaviors and moving forward, you would benefit from more accountability to keep you focused and on track. This doesn’t always mean it is a knowledge problem, in fact it usually means it’s an organization and implementation problem. Maybe the task is too big and the outcome goal is too daunting for you to work backwards and break it into manageable steps? Ahhh...this is where a coach can step in and be the external accountability that exponentially increases your chances of success. Having an outside objective guide who can take the guesswork out of what you are doing allows you to change slowly over time. This slow change is what allows your thoughts to become your actions and those behaviors turn you into the person you are striving to be...we call that your outcome goal.
Think of accountability as strategic peer pressure. This peer pressure can help you work on different challenges each week and implement these new behaviors so that they become habits. This will keep you on track and allow you to be intentional with your actions. Want to go to the gym 5 days a week? Get a buddy that you meet there at 5:30am and getting out of bed will not only be easier, it will be more enjoyable once you show up to the gym. You aren’t just doing it for yourself at this point, you are helping your friend get in shape so you have a higher purpose to your exercise plan.
Ahhh...but what do you do when it comes to your nutrition? There are going to be so many obstacles that can come up and derail the best plans. You can’t have a buddy there all the time to stop you from eating ice cream at 10 oclock at night. True, but if you have someone to report to each week and they have given you objectives to work on with built in feedback and checkpoints, your success rate starts to skyrocket. The simple act of weekly accountability to a coach can help you make adjustments to what could have been catastrophic events in relation to your progress. If you reach a point where you feel stuck or distracted or you lose your focus on the goal, this is where a coach can objectively look at what you have been doing and what your next steps need to be in order to keep you moving forward.
There are 3 keys to success when it comes to improving your health:
A desire to change
A plan of how to make the desired change
Checkpoints of accountability that you are doing the right things
My next 5 posts are going to focus on accountability and the coaching process in an effort to demystify the following aspects of coaching and accountability. These common obstacles to successfully achieving your health and nutrition goals are:
Awareness of your current habits and situation
Lack of clarity and direction- The power of a live check-in
Managing your time and schedule effectively with the keystone habit
Becoming too focused on the outcome goal- Setting too many goals you can’t achieve and implement in your life.
The balance of accountability- Internal vs. External Accountability
Accountability comes in many forms and at nutrition1st we work hard to make the accountability convenient, positive, and clear. Our goal is always to make the process challenging and enjoyable so that changes happen seamlessly over time. We believe accountability is the biggest driver of long term change so understanding how we build that into our coaching process should give you another level of confidence that you can achieve your health and nutrition goals.