It’s New Year’s Resolution time! And with around 38% of people making weight & health-related resolutions each new year, you are not alone. In fact, by reading this article you are already starting out on the right foot:

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

One of the keys to achieving your resolutions is to stay accountable. For example, Stanford University found that simply receiving a check-in phone call that asked about your progress every two weeks increased the amount of exercise participants did by 78% on average.

Imagine if you knew someone was going to call and check in on your workouts. Would you want to pick up the phone with nothing to report?

Accountability

(noun) Subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something. Responsible, answerable, bound.

You may noticed that accountability works because it involves placing a certain amount of pressure on yourself. Sometimes we stay accountable because there are unavoidable consequences built-in:

  • If you don’t exercise more like your doctor recommended, your high blood pressure might worsen.

But sometimes we can only stay accountable by creating these consequences for our own good:

  • If you don’t join Jenny on a run like you promised, then you will be letting her (and yourself) down.

Staying accountable isn’t all avoiding negative consequences though. Positive reinforcement is a great method for staying accountable as well. Once again, positive reinforcement can be naturally built-in:

  • When you begin working out more often, it’s common to experience improved mood, sleep, and focus within a few days.

Or you can up the ante and create extra positive reinforcement for yourself:

  • Give cash to a trusted person and “earn” it back by working out.

The point is no matter how you choose to motivate yourself, and then stay accountable when that motivation is inevitably tested by the chaos that is life, it’s important to have a system in place.

Here are some other ways you can create more accountability for yourself in your daily life:

1. Create daily check-in questions for yourself:

  • What did I say I would do today? This week? This month?
  • What have I done from this list?
  • Who have I acknowledged this to?
  • What are the consequences of not getting done what I said I would get done?
  • What are my next steps?

2. Sign up for a “reach” event, like a 5k run, 6 months out and commit to getting ready for it.

3. Put money on the line: Give cash to a trusted person and “earn” it back by working out.

4. Share your goals on social media: The more people know your fitness goals, the more accountable you have to be.

5. Get yourself a workout buddy: Those who go to the gym together have a 6.3% dropout rate, compared to couples who workout separately and experience a 43% dropout rate.

Finally, get excited! The start of each new year is a great time to set goals big & small, long & short-term. Start planning for your success by creating daily or weekly check-ins, and staying accountable every step of the way.

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