How I'm Staying Accountable for My Habits

Esther Mehesz

Two individuals boxing with boxing bag. Image: Pexels - Annushka Ahuja

This month I want to do a better job of staying accountable for my habits. Although I think I do a pretty good job of being aware and mindful of my day-to-day habits, there is always room for improvement. Why wait till the New Year to build these habits when I can start today? This September feels like the right time for me to get continue working on old habits and implementing new ones and staying accountable along the way.

How will I keep myself accountable?

1. By being in the right mindset.

The habits that I want to work on are not only physical. They are all contributors to my overall health. I have different habits that I want to focus on for physical health, mental health, and emotional health. I first started by journaling out the different habits that I want to pay closer attention to and getting to the root of each. “Why is this particularly important to me and my overall health” and “why will this play a difference in my life”.

For example, one habit of mine is getting back into the gym first thing in the morning with my old personal trainer. Why is this important? Morning workouts wake me up and get me going. It’s my energy boost that I need and also being with people first thing in the morning is that additionally positivity to get me going when I spend my days working from home. Rather than only focusing on how going to the gym contributes to my physical health, it also plays a big role in my mental health too.

Rather than having the mentality that “I have to wake up so early”, I know the positive effects that it has on other aspects of my health and think about these morning workouts as “I get to wake up early”.

2. How to make it easier

One of the best ways to instill habits is to make them the easiest to stick to. To make it the easiest for me to get up and be at the gym on time, I lay out my clothes and pack my bag the day before. I may feel like a kid back in school with their backpack ready to go for the next morning, but it’s super helpful! It allows me to not have to think in the morning about whether I forgot anything the morning of and I make it a simple task to keep myself accountable. If the clothes are already laid out, I usually feel like I’m obligated to put them and head out the door.

Man with gym bag in the morning listening to music

3. Having a person to keep me accountable.

I’ve always had the motivation to move my body in the way that is right for me, but getting myself back to the gym was somehow harder than I imagined. During COVID I got used to working out at home and going for runs outside but I need to the change in atmosphere. When I did this alone, it always ended up being “Oh I’ll just sleep another half an hour I can work out a little later”, or that later may even turn into tomorrow for some. For me, I missed having a more scheduled and “strict” routine since that is how I perform best from day to day.

To keep myself accountable for going back to the gym, I started working out with my old trainer. Knowing that I don’t want to let someone down because I made a promise that I’ll be there, it makes it easier to get myself up and to the gym. I am not only relying on myself to show up but I know that they will show up for me as well.

If a trainer is not something that works for you, that’s ok! Try to find an accountability partner that has a similar schedule to you and/or has similar habits as well. This can be a person that you end up going to the gym with together and can help you stay accountable regarding other habits too.

There are many different forms of accountability. Sometimes it may be a partner that can be a coach or a trainer, it may be a friend, a family member, or even a coworker. Whether you need that additional accountability of an outside person will differ from person to person. Figure out what your needs are, as you might simply benefit from a text message from someone asking if you’ve done xyz or you need a reminder of a sticky note that’s posted on the wall to remind you as soon as you wake up. Each habit will require a different form of accountability — know what you need.

4. Journal the progress

In the beginning, you might feel on top of the world because you’ve been able to stick to your habits for the past few days or even weeks. However, to make sure that it does remain consistent for you, sit down and journal.

Woman laying on bed journaling

For example, with going back to the gym, I take time to reflect on some of the following questions:

When you take some time to reflect, you can truly see how big of an impact working on a new habit can be. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is in my overall mood and energy, and for that, I know this is a habit that I need to keep at since it plays an important role in many aspects of my health.

5. Making sure I am enjoying the journey

A habit will only stick if you find a way to make it enjoyable. I know that I had my thoughts about going back to the gym, but I made sure to go back to my old trainer since I knew that the time I spent working out, it would be a combination of lifting weights but also enjoying the company of the other people that also have him as a trainer. There are many components that go into making sure the habit sticks and knowing that you’ll enjoy the journey makes the habit that much easier to stick to.

If you are having a hard time sticking to your habit, re-evaluate if you’re enjoying it. How else can you approach it so that you enjoy the process?

6. Count even your smallest wins

The small steps that you are taking in staying accountable for your habits are a big deal! You’re doing the work to reach something that is important to you. Don’t think that any step is too small to celebrate. Take time and celebrate these small wins! Here are some reasons why it is important to celebrate these too.

Accountability comes in all different shapes and/or forms and knowing what you need for yourself to make progress along the journey is important. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone to keep you accountable! Make it easier to reach your “why” by having accountability for your habits.

For more overall health-related topics, check out the Ate blog every week for a new article!

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