This week we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, but as much as it was a good thing to break away from the British Empire to become our own nation it wasn’t a one man job. And, neither is leading a healthy lifestyle. It isn’t about being independent. Having an accountability buddy, or buddies, is the best way to stay motivated on your healthy lifestyle voyage.
One of the biggest reasons lifestyle changes don’t stick is because we don’t hold ourselves accountable. The realization of the work involved in changing your life can get overwhelming and instead of taking a step towards that goal, we take a step back and let the negative thoughts take over forcing ourselves into the same holding pattern.
In the age of social media it’s easier than ever to put yourself out there and let everyone in your circle know what your plans are. Having one person or a small group of people with similar goals helps you and them when the going gets tough.
When choosing an accountability partner, inform them of exactly why you’re making this change and how you want them to help you. You want someone you respect that will challenge you to hold yourself to a higher standard. Let them know you want them to check in on your progress, but that you’re also holding yourself responsible for your actions. Being personally responsible is just as important as having someone invest in you.
Once you’ve found someone or a group, discussing your plans helps work out possible obstacles in the future and having a different perspective can even identify kinks you may not have thought about. You want a partner in this that will push you out of your comfort zone and won’t let you get off course. And if you do get off course, they’ll be right there to push you forward.
An accountability buddy is also great motivation. They should be your biggest cheerleader, but having someone working towards the same goals can result in friendly competitions and sometimes it’s just the incentive you need to push that much harder, or faster. It also keeps you engaged, for example, placing bets on small successes like: who runs the fastest, the longest? Or, who can lift the most weight? Who’s lost more at the end of the week? Making wagers on these kind of small contests will keep you on your feet and you won’t want to be the one who has to make dinner for a week, or put up $20 to the vacation fund.
Another plus side of an accountability buddy is realizing you’re not alone. You have someone to vent your frustrations to, someone to celebrate your successes with and someone who is looking for the same in you. Being an accountability buddy is a big responsibility, just like you don’t want to be let down, you don’t want to let your partner down either. If you make a plan to meet at the gym at 5 am, knowing they’ll be there, too, makes it that much easier to get up. Together you can plan meals, sign up for classes or events and having someone to do this with helps with the anxiety of something new and unknown.
The role of social media in accountability has made being responsible much more transparent. Once you put yourself out there, your goals are out there for all to see. Expect people to check in and notice where you’re at. If you post a pic of yourself 10lbs lighter, a wave of congratulations will be in order, however, a post with you indulging in a triple layer chocolate cake, may have the opposite effect, perhaps the angry emoji or an encouraging comment on how we all make mistakes.
Being a part of a group of like-minded individuals can boost your self-esteem and help keep you on track. It can also work wonders on your social life. Having friends with the same goals can change what social events you attend and make it easier to stick to your goals. Whether you have a group or one buddy, accountability makes accomplishing your goals a reality.