I have found myself talking about goals and accountability a lot lately. Figured it is time for another post about it.
Goals can sometimes get a bad reputation. Stating a goal in today’s social media driven world can give you likes and comments of praise. That dopamine rush has been enough for some people to not even try to reach their goal. If your goal is to weigh X amount of pounds or make Y amount of money, you aren’t exactly in control of those numbers.
I will talk about stating goals and accountability in a bit, I want to start with the being in control part first. After you have set a goal to weigh X pounds, you need to decide which habits or action steps will get you to that goal. I always talk about the 5 pillars of health, and you will find most your habits and action steps within them. Are you an all or nothing person, or a small step person? This is also important information. A small step person will overwhelm themselves and shut down, if they try to change too many things at once. While the all or nothing person needs to set a timeline, where they will re-evaluate what is actually long term habits and what was short term gains. The next helpful information, are you motivated by positive rewards or negative consequences? Setting goals with the right motivation for you is key to following through. Along with reward and consequence motivation is internal and external motivation. If you say you will drink all your water, eat small portions, fill up on veggies first, and skip desserts, can you hold yourself to it? Or do you need someone else to tell you rules to follow and steps to take? There is no right or wrong answer here, but someone who is extrinsically motivated by negative consequences will not do well with a self created program that rewards themselves for adherence.
Now for that other part, the accountability piece. One option for accountability is paying a coach, trainer, nutritionist, or the like for a program. Set check ins at regular intervals with them for accountability. The other option is to find a buddy or small group of people on a similar journey, and you can all hold each other accountable. Even as an internally motivated individual, I find greater success in accountability. I need to pick my own action steps, and I actually need my partner to check in on their personal compliance. However, I don’t check in with my compliance. There is something about knowing she will be telling me the truth, that I cannot short myself either.
An important ideal to focus on, you need to commit to your action steps, and not tie your emotions to your results. Take weight loss as the goal, the action steps can include water intake, meditation, intentional movement, veggie or fiber consumption, quality sleep into account. If you do all those things, and still don’t reach your target weight, you are far healthier than if you go back to old habits. The catch being, if you truly are doing all the right things and can’t lose the weight, you may need to investigate medical reasons.
Let’s review, after you set the goal, you can’t stop there. Decide which action steps, habits you will create to get you to your goal. Commit to the follow through on them. Determine your type of motivation. Find accountability. Take your feelings out of the equation. Do the work, celebrate the little wins.