When being accountable to yourself isn’t enough

Accountability is something you choose to exhibit. So what do you do when being fully responsible for your own actions and consequences isn’t enough?

Scheduling Calendar

External Accountability

As a Personal Trainer, I know just how powerful external accountability can be. It’s easy to let things slide when the only person you’re being accountable is yourself.

You know how it goes…

  • You have that extra snack
  • Skip a workout
  • Purchase that cute outfit
  • Over commit to work
  • Lose track of things

But we tell ourselves it’s okay because the only person were letting down is ourselves.

Last year, one of my clients, let’s call him Clive, decided to go out for birthday drinks the night before a training session.

The drinks were a last minute decision, and his plan was to have ‘one’ drink. Knowing that it was his birthday weekend, I had asked him earlier whether he was sure that he wanted to train on Sunday. His answer, ‘of course. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my Birthday. I’m not doing anything to celebrate this weekend anyway’.

A handful of drink into the evening, Clive decided to walk down the road to another pub. What happened next blew my mind. Just as he was considering cancelling his training session, he was stopped in his tracks. There staring straight at him was a giant poster of my face in the window of a hair salon.

Figuring that it was some sort of omen, he decided to skip the next drink. And though he showed up to his session feeling a bit worse for wear, his encounter with my face made him realise something important… He had made a commitment to someone other than himself, and he didn’t want to let me down.

When it comes to doing the things we’re not naturally motivated to do, making a commitment outside of ourselves can prove to be a invaluable tool.

My favourite ways to utilise external accountability include:

  • Seeing professionals such as a personal trainer, dietitian, psychologist or accountant
  • Joining online or face-to-face groups
  • Telling people including family, friends, online acquaintances about any set goals
  • Using free apps/programs such as HabitBull for habits, MyFitnessPal for dietary tracking, Audible for listening to audiobooks, Headspace for meditation, Bodyspace for fitness tracking and StickK for those who are financially motivated.

Distributed to email subscribers on Friday, 18th September 2018.

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