Your health is an ongoing journey. Whether you consider yourself a healthy person or hope to be soon, there are always ways to be healthier, happier, fitter, and more focused on your overall wellness. What health goals would you like to achieve? If you’re not sleeping eight hours a night, that is certainly one we recommend beginning with. Perhaps you’d like to work out five days a week or cook dinner more often and eat out less. Whatever your unique goals are, it’s time to take a serious look at what you can do to achieve them.
You know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, but it still just isn’t working. What’s the problem? For many, the answer lies in accountability. Accountability is the last piece of the puzzle that will get you to the final peak of your healthy living mountain. In order to achieve your goals more efficiently, you will need to focus on two types of accountability:
Begin by being accountable to yourself! When no one is around to see you or acknowledge your actions, internal accountability is going to be that little push that gets you out of your cozy, cloud-like bed when you’d rather get some extra sleep.
#1 Write Down Your Health Goals
Writing down your goals has been proven time and time again to increase your chances of success. In fact, recent research has shown that you’re about 40 percent more likely to succeed if your goals are written down. That’s a pretty amazing number! Why is this? Experts tell us that tangibly seeing your goals written out in front of you makes them more real to you, boosting your chances of remaining accountable to yourself.
When writing down your goals, be specific and be realistic. “I want to work out” isn’t really concrete enough to be a big help. On the other end of the spectrum, “I want to lose ten pounds this week” isn’t going to work either. Instead, opt for something like “I want to work out five times this week” that is both specific and achievable.
#2 Seek Out the Knowledge You Need
There are many types of health goals out there, and there’s sure to be plenty of experts who specialize in each one. Whatever the health-related subject may be, find ways to educate yourself so you know how to properly apply yourself. Whether it’s a dietician, sleep expert, fitness trainer, or mental health professional, they have the tools you want and need to succeed.
#3 Be Honest with Yourself
Let’s say you want to sleep eight hours a night, but you just can’t seem to get into bed early enough to make it happen. It’s easy to make excuses and rationalize your choices when you’re talking to yourself in your own head. Instead, be honest with yourself.
Determine what went wrong, why you didn’t achieve your goal, and what you can do differently moving forward. It’s okay to miss the mark sometimes, but you want to be sure to learn from it and move forward rather than repeat it and plateau. Perhaps setting a bedtime alarm and developing a new, relaxing bedtime routine would help.
#4 Take it Step by Step
Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin. If this is your first go at maintaining a consistent exercise schedule, starting off by committing to seven days a week of intense exercise with a personal trainer probably isn’t the best way to stay with it. Start slowly and build your way up. This way, you’ll be proud of yourself and love the progress you see yourself making instead of getting too overwhelmed to proceed.
Setting achievable goals and pursuing them will produce a sense of well-being. Accomplishing a goal you’ve been working on increases confidence, pride, and happiness. It’s a huge boost to your mental health! Then, you’ll be ready to set another one. You’re better off setting several small goals for yourself than one huge one that will take months to achieve.
The second piece of the puzzle is being accountable to others. You don’t want to disappoint your friends and family, which is why this is a huge motivator. In fact, this has been proven. Research has shown that in order for us to truly remain accountable, we need the support of others.
#1 Share Your Goals with Others
The more we verbalize and discuss our plans, the more responsible we feel for accomplishing them. Whether it’s a coworker, your best friend, your partner, a workout buddy at the gym, or even your mom, talk to them about your goals! Then ask them to check-in with you to see how it’s going each week or month.
#2 Be Honest with Others
During these weekly or monthly check-ins, you may be tempted to fudge the truth a little. Once you tell someone you’re going to do something, it is difficult to tell them that you didn’t actually follow through. This won’t get you anywhere! Instead, use the discomfort you feel in telling them you missed the mark to do better next time. It takes setting your ego aside to reach a state of complete accountability. This is a fierce motivator!
Accountability is twofold. By both verbalizing and writing down our health goals, we feel compelled to remain accountable and see it through to the end. It’s a combination of the two, both internal accountability and external accountability, that has been proven to allow you to stay accountable throughout your life and reach the health and wellness goals you set for yourself.
These tips are a fantastic way to build accountability with yourself, as well as create accountability with others. When you are accountable to both, you are much more likely to follow through on your healthy living goals. Good luck, we’re rooting for you!