If your resolutions to improve your fitness have had no effect no matter what strategies you’ve applied, perhaps it’s not a matter of procedure. Maybe you need to be more consistent—which, according to Faces Magazine, is far more important than the intensity or length of your workouts.
Keeping yourself accountable can help you achieve this consistency. While enthusiastic motivation is all well and good, accountability helps us acknowledge when we have not lived up to our aspirations so we can correct our mistakes and do even better moving forward.
If you haven’t been holding yourself accountable, here are a few easy and sustainable ways to start:
Set effective fitness goals
One of the best ways to promote fitness accountability is to ensure that you have a way to measure success built into your goals. A good principle of effective goal setting is to make your goals more achievable by using specific, observable, and measurable objectives. That means you define what you want to achieve and how you’ll mark your progress toward those achievements over a set period. For example, if you want to be a great runner, don’t stop at this vague, abstract idea. Instead, decide concretely what that achievement looks like. Maybe you want to run a 3K marathon by the end of next April. From here, set goals you can achieve gradually to that end, such as running for 30 minutes a day and working your way up from there. That way, you’ll be able to more effectively keep yourself on track until you reach your objective.
Track what you eat
Eating healthily is a fundamental step in becoming fitter. Unfortunately, it’s easy to ignore what we consume—you might excuse yourself for eating fast food on busy days or bigger meals during the holiday season. To conform with your desired eating habits, take note of your food intake. Incorporating food tracking in your weight loss plan has been a demonstrably reliable predictor of success. It allows you to eat with awareness and master portion sizes, even if you track only a few days a week. And while it may sound intimidating, it’s very doable: utilize a notebook or app to record what and how much you eat during mealtimes. This in and of itself will help you hold yourself accountable for what you eat and ultimately pivot to healthier tendencies.
Find a workout partner
Humans are social creatures: we note that social connection is a key pillar of health that can boost our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. That said, sometimes what it takes to keep us accountable is help from another person. A great way to do this is to team up with a friend—someone you’d like to spend more time with and may even have similar fitness goals, so you can work toward keeping each other on track over time. Combining quality time and exercise will help you integrate support, accountability, and exercise into your life so you can easily stick to your fitness goals for longer.
Reward yourself for hitting milestones
When our internal resolve runs a little low, it can help to have some extrinsic motivations to keep us accountable for our goals. Tailoring our rewards to our individual desires can help us push through with our progress and makes the overall process of attaining your fitness goals more pleasurable and sustainable. After hitting milestones like losing your first 5 pounds or not eating processed foods for a week, treat yourself to something you desire. From here, remind yourself what you must do to get that reward again. This can help you internalize the fact that accountability measures aren’t just for detecting points of improvement—they’re also there so you can motivate yourself with small wins throughout your fitness journey.
Consistency is critical when it comes to enhancing health. To help you fully commit to your fitness goals, try holding yourself accountable with the strategies listed above.