By Jaimi Jansen
“I want to lose weight but I am not motivated. I want to get in better shape but after about a week of getting to the gym everyday I lose my desire and go back to getting to bed early so I could wake up early…” It has all been said or thought before. If only there was a magic pill that gave me the desire to get going and workout everyday. Motivation and accountability are key to the weight loss and fitness journey. For some of us starting a new workout routine is easier said than done. Here are some tips for holding yourself accountable that can help keep you on track to reach your fitness goals:
- Share your Goals to the Whole World! Sharing fitness and health goals on social media, via proclamations, videos, images, progress reports. Tell family and friends and shout it from the rooftops! The more people who know about your new goal, the more people will be supporting and pushing you to meet that goal.
- Find an Accountabili-Buddy sharing fitness goals is also a great way to find a fitness buddy (and BONUS, having a fitness buddy has been proven to help hold you both accountable!). Finding a buddy to workout together means you are more likely to make your workouts and possibly even workout harder! Pairing up with a partner who is fitter than you produces the Köhler Effect, which is when a person works harder as a part of a group than they would working alone.
- Reward Yourself! Have a reward for every milestone achieved. If your goal is to complete a triathlon, but right now running a mile, biking up a small hill or even getting your toes in the ocean all seems tough then start at the end goal and work backwards, creating smaller more achievable goals. Make sure to provide rewards along the way (and they don’t have to be edible!) The goals build on each other and before you know it the triathlon becomes more than a dream, it’s now something you just completed! You are more likely to achieve your goals when you know there are lots of little rewards awaiting you along the way. The rewards can be a movie night with a friend, a pedicure, or new pair of running shoes for the first 5 miles, a massage when 15 miles has been accomplished and so on.
- Track Your Workouts. Allow you or your buddy track your workout. A great way to hold yourself accountable is to join a fitness group where there is a competition to reach a common goal. Knowing other people can see your level of activity can help keep you accountable and motivated moving toward your goal.
- Push Through the First 10 Minutes. The initial willpower required to start the workout is often much higher than the energy needed to continue it. It is important to remember that our bodies are happiest when they get to move and sweat. It is sheer determination and grit for the uncomfortable first moments of getting in the pool, getting on the bike, or even just getting out of the car that can make all the difference. Once past the first 10 minutes of your workout, or the first few weeks of training regularly it is much easier to keep going once in the slipstream of momentum.
- Add Variety. Sometimes we keep doing everything the same even though it results in diminishing returns. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” a quote attributed to Albert Einstein. Meaning in this context that what once worked well may not be giving you good results, or may even be getting worse. This is why it is good to add variety to a workout regimen and also why consulting a well qualified and experienced trainer to guide you can be very helpful.
If working out and staying in shape was easy we would all be in excellent shape and it wouldn’t be called a work out it would be something more like a “veg” out. These tools can move you towards your fitness goals, but additionally even moving towards them will help you enjoy a higher quality of life.
When it is hard to muster up the drive within oneself it is then especially important to have these tools in place to keep you going! Whether picking one or all six of these ideas to keep the fire lit within, health is a journey and isn’t about the end goal. Health is about being present with where you are, committing to a goal, adjusting the approach as you go, learning along the way and taking time to remember and appreciate the lessons and achievements throughout the process.