So here’s the deal…
When it comes to willpower, it’s temporary.
It doesn’t last.
Willpower does not last.
Whenever I’ve set out to do something and have relied on willpower, I’ve failed.
The Truth About Accountability
It could be that I just plain suck when it comes to having willpower, although I believe there’s more to it than that.
Here’s some brutal honesty for you… I have failed at MANY things.
It’s never fun to admit that, but it’s the truth, I have.
As much as I have failed and fell on my face plenty of times, there’s also been times when I’ve succeeded and achieved what I set out to achieve.
Some of these achievements include a seven day master cleanse where I consumed nothing but just water and a healthy detoxifying lemonade concoction.
Running a full marathon in St. George, Utah.
Running a 50 mile ultra marathon on Catalina Island earlier this year.
Training for and competing in a men’s physique competition at the ripe old age of 39.
Running in countless half marathon races throughout the country.
When I think back to these events, all the training, hard work, energy, effort, commitments, sacrifice, and discipline that was necessary to complete them all, one thing is for sure…
Willpower had nothing to do with any of these accomplishments.
My guess is that if I would have relied strictly on willpower, my effort and training with each would have been short lived.
Accountability, Not Willpower
Accountability, not willpower, has had everything to do with me being able to achieve my fitness goals.
Willpower is like holding your breath.. you can only do it for so long.
Sure you can practice and become one of those freaks who can hold their breath for way long… like 22 minutes long! That’s the world record time by the way, crazy right?
22 minutes is a long time for sure, but it’s only 22 minutes.
Willpower is great, but short lived.
Whenever I’m holding an abdominal plank and seeing how long I can hold it for (8 minutes is my record time, I WILL get to 10 minutes), it’s willpower that gets me there when I want to call it quits 2 minutes in.
But again, it’s only 8 minutes.
All Long Term Goals Require Accountability
The perfect training plan won’t last without accountability.
The perfect running plan won’t last without accountability.
The perfect weight loss plan won’t last without accountability.
The perfect cleanse won’t work last without accountability.
I don’t believe there’s a single plan out there that works without adding in accountability.
I’ve been training and coaching clients now for 17 years.
I’ve worked with all different shapes and sizes, people of all ages from all different parts of the world, all with their own health and fitness goals… some similar, some way different.
Weight loss, marathon training, training for pregnancy, during pregnancy, for stress management, anxiety, depression, for confidence, for energy, to serve as an example to their kids…. the list goes on and on.
What I’ve come to realize by working with all of these awesome people and asking why they’ve come seeking me and my services, almost all of them answered the same every time…
“I know what to do, I’ve tried doing it by myself many times, I’ve spent plenty of money on plans, books, courses, and different equipment with no success. I need the accountability.”
“I Need The Accountability”
This is the same message I continue to hear time and time again.
Just this week I had two different conversations with potential coaching clients, one of them has been an athlete all her life and the other has tried all different approaches to create a consistent fitness routine.
Both of them are more than capable with the knowledge they have to do what needs to get done to be healthy, fit, and remain consistent with their fitness plan and goals.
Yet they’re both reaching out and asking for help, for accountability.
Let’s be clear too… asking for and wanting accountability has nothing to do with weakness.
The most successful people I know have an established form of accountability in place, whether it’s through coaching, mentorship, or a mastermind group.
As motivated and passionate about The Wellness Bucket as I am, I still belong to several mastermind and accountability groups myself to keep me focused, motivated, and on track.
Knowing Is One Thing, Doing Is Another
Knowing what to do is one thing.
Being held accountable to make sure it’s getting done is another.
Here’s a message I recently received from one of my coaching clients…
“I very much appreciate your commitment to me as well, as an ‘us’ not just ‘me’. It makes it so much more when I think about not only letting myself down but my coach and person who really does believe in me. I can’t prove us wrong!”
That’s the power of accountability.
When it’s not just about you but also about others who believe in you, are encouraging you, supporting, motivating, and holding you accountable.
Where if you don’t get it done, you’re not just letting yourself down, but those who believe in you as well.
We’re often quick to not think twice about letting ourselves down but we do think twice before letting others down, especially when those others believe in us and are holding us accountable to follow through on our commitments and goals.
I mentioned earlier that there was no way I would have achieved my own fitness goals if I had focused on just willpower and not accountability.
So what and who was my accountability?
For my seven day master cleanse, my accountability was Kristen (my girlfriend) who also did the cleanse with me and all of you guys since I told you all I was doing it.
One of the most powerful ways to create accountability is to publicly announce to family, friends, your community, everyone and anyone what you’re out to do and accomplish.
For my men’s physique competition, my accountability was once again Kristen who I somehow managed to convince to train and compete in her own fitness competition as well.
In addition to having Kristen as my accountability resource, I also got a fitness and posing coach who I met with regularly and kept me focused, committed, and on track.
For the numerous half marathons I have ran to date, my accountability was and always will be my dad who I lost to lung cancer back in 2006.
Since then, I dedicate all my half marathon races and training to him.
And for my most recent 50 mile ultra marathon, my accountability was all the participants of my 30 Day Wellness Challenge where on Day #30, we all had to commit to one fitness event we would complete.
I committed to running my first ultra marathon in 6 months and declared it publicly.
This one was my toughest challenge to date and I relied on all forms of accountability to get me through this one, both the training and actual race day itself.
There is no way willpower would have carried me and kept me going for all 50 miles.
I was done, spent, exhausted, pretty much over it at mile 32 with 18 miles still to go.
Accountability kept me going, kept me focused, kept me motivated, and got me to that finish line.
I cried my eyes out by the way on Kristen’s shoulder when I did cross that finish line having no idea (yet knowing fully well) what got me to that finish line 10 hours and 50 miles later.
The accountability I had from this community, to everyone who also committed to completing their own fitness event.
The accountability to my dad and grandpa who always believed in me and told me there was nothing I couldn’t do.
More than anything, the accountability to myself and doing what I said I would do.
While it’s others who we may commit to from an accountability standpoint… it’ll always us, our health, happiness and sense of fulfillment that benefits.
3 Ways To Create Accountability
Regardless of what your fitness goal may be, make it a point to create accountability for yourself and your goals.
It’s the fastest way to make sure you 1) stay committed, accountable and motivated, but more than anything 2) you get it done.
1) Declare It Publicly
One of the quickest and most effect ways to create accountability for yourself and your fitness goals it to tell others what you’re out to do.
Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, your Facebook community, running club, church group, whoever it may be… tell others your goals.
When you do, you’re not only taking ownership for your goals, but also on the hook to follow through and get it done since others now know what you’re up to and will be asking you about it.
This continues to be my #1 form of accountability.
It’s also a big part of the reason why I created the 30 Day Wellness Challenge… 30 days filled with all different kinds of wellness challenges along with accountability that makes sure everyone is completing each days challenge.
2) Get An Accountability Partner
Having someone to check in with regularly to make sure you’re sticking to your fitness goals and commitments is an awesome and very effective form of accountability.
It’s a huge bonus if your accountability partner has a similar goal such as weight loss, marathon training, pregnancy fitness training, whatever it may be.
I’m fortunate to often times have Kristen as my accountability partner.
I’ve somehow been able to convince her on several occasions to train with me for my fitness events which is awesome since we end up serving as each others accountability partner.
Also, make sure your accountability partner is someone you respect, trust and visa versa.
Reason being is if it’s someone that won’t keep you accountability and doesn’t really care whether or not you stick to your daily commitments and goals, it’s not going to work.
3) Join An Accountability Group
This seems to be the go-to for many people, including me.
Accountability groups can be anything from weight loss groups such as Weight Watchers, to different running groups, sporting clubs, hiking, biking, swimming, literally anything.
I love accountability groups for several reasons…
First, it’s an awesome way to connect regularly with others who also want to be held accountable.
Second, there’s more than one person in the group so if someone is a bit more laid back, away on travel, whatever it may be, and not checking in with you as often, there’s always others who will.
It’s also more support, encouragement, and motivation not to mention different perspectives and styles to keep you accountable to you goals.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.”
Regardless of the goal, if you want to increase your chances of successfully achieving your fitness goal, add one, two, or all three forms of accountability I just mentioned.
If you’re thinking you need even more accountability than what I’ve mentioned here, no worries… reach out to me and we’ll make it happen.
What matters most to me is you, your goals, and doing all I can to make sure you achieve them.
Because you’re awesome and deserve to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Gregory Berg