By Heather Willett
We all have health goals we want to achieve, whether it is to lose weight, tone up, build muscle or gain strength, but many of us wonder why we can’t seem to make or maintain the changes we seek. It is easy to blame external forces for a lack of improvement, but more often than not the reason we don’t see our desired results is due to something we are or are not doing ourselves.
Like in most things in life, we only get out what we put in. Our current state of health is a direct result of the choices we make. For that reason, we often ask our clients to keep a log of their food choices or any physical activity outside of our sessions. We give homework like this for a number of reasons: 1. It helps us identify any issues or poor habits that may need to be tweaked; 2. It helps us tailor personal training programs to each client’s lifestyle; 3. Clients can see exactly how their choices are impacting their health and perhaps inhibiting their success. Therefore, the ultimate key to success is accountability because without it, it’s easy to fall back into the unhealthy patterns that led us to where we currently are.
According to a Stanford University study of exercise participants, those that received a phone call checking up on their progress were 78% more likely to stick with their exercise program. Working with a personal trainer is an effective way to reach our fitness goals, but if we are making unhealthy choices outside of training sessions we will still find it difficult to get into optimal shape. Here are a few tips to stay accountable and succeed in all our health endeavors:
- Set clear goals: It will be hard to achieve success in ANY area of life if you are not clear about what you want. It takes hard work and dedication to make changes, but it will be even harder if you haven’t fleshed out your idea of success.
- Workout with a buddy: Having a friend to workout with can improve accountability and push us to work out 200% harder according to a Kansas State University study.
- Log food choices for a few weeks or longer: Be honest about everything you eat. Don’t judge yourself during this period of time because the point is to have an accurate understanding of where you are starting and what you can do to make healthy changes.
- Work with a personal trainer: Often times, we feel more responsibility to follow through on something when money is involved. Plus, a personal trainer will ask you the necessary questions and will challenge you to reach your potential.
- Record how much alcohol is consumed in a week: Alcohol has been proven to have a negative impact on our waistlines and our overall health. Be honest about how much you drink in a week.
- Set a realistic workout schedule: Setting a schedule with reminders will make it harder to ignore, especially when your alarm or calendar reminder is going off. Just be sure that you’re setting realistic goals that are feasible to achieve.
- Share goals with friends and family: Researchers have discovered time and time again that we are more likely to complete a goal when we share our goals with our support system.
It is natural to experience some resistance, but at the end of the day we only have ourselves to blame if we don’t wind up with our desired results. Be honest, stay accountable to yourself and don’t bail on your goals. You can do it!