Reaching a goal, breaking a habit, or starting a new routine is hard when you're in it alone. I don't think that's any big secret. People are much more successful when they're on a team that's working towards the same goal -- we crave their encouragement, empathy, motivation, and acceptance.
I think that's the biggest draw of CrossFit. Sure, every person I know who does CrossFit has been injured at least once because of it, but they pretty much never have a motivational problem. They feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves. And they're a little bit brainwashed into thinking that showing up to their box at 5am to sweat their butts off is a totally normal thing. CrossFit creates a familial vibe that draws people in and makes people stick to it. Their retention rate is far better than typical gyms that usually have tons of members who never walk through the doors. Normal gyms don't usually have any sort of accountability in place, so it's easy to fall off the wagon without anyone noticing.
But not everyone can afford something like CrossFit (me included), so what is there for the rest of us? Well unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past couple years, you've probably heard of Tone It Up or Kayla Itsines. These girls have designed programs that are delivered online and their accountability is also online. Their team members use social media to find friends and hold one another accountable. It's really cool actually. That's how this blog started. It started as my fitness Instagram account that I used to hold myself accountable with other girls doing Tone It Up -- nearly 4 years ago.
Another thing I've found to be helpful in my life has been workout buddies. When I was training for the Houston Marathon, my friend Liz and I would meet up to run just about every morning. Even though it was summer break and neither of us wanted to wake up early, we had scheduled it on our calendars to beat the heat and we knew we couldn't bail because we'd let the other person down. It was just about foolproof. We never missed a run.
And then of course, there's self accountability. This usually goes along with writing stuff down, seeing visible progress, and moving towards/achieving goals.
Why Accountability Works
Research has shown that you can alter your own behavior and your own thought patterns through accountability. The only requirements are that there needs to be a "correct answer" -- for example, with Liz and I, the "correct answer" was showing up to our morning runs. For Tone It Up girls, it's about sticking to the nutrition plan and morning cardio.
We all want favorable evaluations of our work, and that evaluation motivates us.
How to Create Accountability in Your Own Life
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of ways to do this:
- Join a team/class
- Set up a schedule with a workout buddy
- Find an online community to check in with
- Write your stuff down
How I'm Creating Accountability for Myself
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that I struggle with motivation sometimes -- especially lately. Due to some personal stuff in my life, I've made some negative progress on my goals over the past year. I've been getting myself ready to get back into my normal swing of things by checking in with my fit friends via text and creating a calendar for myself. I want to take it a step further for myself because sticking to plan during the holidays is hard. I'm going to start a series of posts where I fill all of you in on my past week's workouts. This way, I'm not only accountable to myself and to my friends via text, I'm also accountable to all of you!