Staying Accountable of Your Habits
When it comes to achieving goals, there’s one major factor that will determine who succeeds, and who doesn’t: Accountability.
Goals are a dime a dozen. It’s simply not enough to have a goal. You need to be able to be specific enough about the goal, break it down into manageable steps, and then consistently follow through with those small steps over time.
The problem is that we are generally not good at doing either of these things well when left to our own devices! We usually don’t get specific enough, we prefer to take giant leaps instead of small steps, and then we get bored, distracted, and lose engagement in the process.
So with the “Second New Year” (September) in effect, here are my top recommendations for staying accountable to help you make the most of these last few months of the year!
- Be Specific
- Know Your Why
- Celebrate Small Successes
- Manage Your Environment
- Seek Out External Support
- Review & Reflect
“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress” — James Clear
Generic goals like ‘getting healthy’ or ‘losing weight’ aren’t enough. They help us get clear on what we want but they’re not specific enough for the necessary follow through. You’re probably aware of the popular acronym for goal setting: SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Having these types of sub-goals specifically related to the habits and behaviors that will lead to the generic goals is necessary.
- Generic Goal: “Lose Weight”
- More Specific: Lose 10lbs
- Even More Specific: Stop eating after dinner
Other SMART habits or behaviors that you might choose for this generic goal might be:
- Reduce portion sizes by 5%
- Include a minimum of 30g of protein at each meal
- Track everything in the Ate app honestly
- Answer all the questions in the app so that patterns and habits can be more easily identified
Find a Coach using the Ate app in their own practice that you can share paths with.
Know Your Why
If you really enjoy your after-dinner snack and you’ve decided to stop having it in order to work on your goal of weight loss, you had better be clear on WHY you’re doing it and how that is meaningful! In the moment when you need to either take action or not take action, you really need to feel firm in your why.
Reinforce your WHY by placing post-it notes in the places that matter most!
Celebrate Small Successes
Our natural inclination to take on way too much too fast starts us off on the wrong foot all the time because we always fizzle out too quickly. Simply put, it’s just not sustainable. This pattern is more predictable than a Christmas Hallmark movie and I have seen this played out way too often.
Long-lasting progression happens in small steps, not leaps and bounds. You need to celebrate those small successes along the way to keep your head in the game!
Take a habit or behavior, break it down, and try it for a week. If you can’t consistently do it, break it down even further. THEN add on.
Manage Your Environment
Your environment isn’t just the physical space you move around in. It also consists of your social, cultural, and virtual environments. This is a huge one because our environments either set us up for success or failure. Consider these points:
- It’s a lot easier to consume healthy food if your home doesn’t contain junk food
- It’s a lot easier to work out if you have friends that enjoy working out with you
- It’s a lot easier to make healthy food selections if it’s culturally less acceptable to regularly eat fast food (think North America vs. Europe)
- It’s a lot easier to get excited about making healthy changes if you are consuming social media that encourages healthy living
Do an audit and figure out how you can positively influence your environment to make the preferred choice the EASY choice!
Seek Out External Support
As a nutrition accountability coach, I have a lot to say here! There’s a reason why people seek out external support: they know they need it. They have tried to make changes on their own and haven’t been able to be consistent.
There’s a quote from Albert Einstein that I really like that relates well to this:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And the truth is, we sometimes need help accessing that different type of thinking externally.
Many of us feel that if we reach out for help we have “failed”. But the truth is that it’s one of the smartest and bravest things we can do for our success.
Find a coach or nutrition professional who you feel comfortable working with. Keep in mind that working with them for just a few months is often enough to get you back on the right track.
Review & Reflect
This is such an important yet under-utilized tool. It can help provide the context for why certain goals were accomplished or not. The trick here though, is that it has to be done non-judgmentally and curiously — almost like a detective trying to figure out what happened and why.
Note what brought you closer or farther away from your goal. Consider mindset, environment, and expectations throughout this process.
Simply put, accountability helps you stay the course when you get bored, distracted, make a string of bad choices, get complacent, and/or run out of patience.
Healthy living is an endurance sport, and you need to find ways to keep engaged and hold yourself accountable in the process. Of course, there are many different ways to do this, and it’s helpful to try out a few to see what works best for you!
If you’re already an Ate app user and you’d like to add in some external accountability, consider joining my group program. You will share paths with my other members and me, a practicing holistic nutritionist. You will feel like you’re on a team with other health-minded ladies, celebrating your wins, getting meal inspiration, being led through regular reviews, and feeling connected so that you can stay the course!
You do not have to “do healthy” on your own. In fact, research tells us that you are much more likely to succeed if you have accountability layered in.
Let’s face it — healthy eating and healthy lifestyles can be boring and require a lot of patience. Having the support of an accountability coach and a community of like-minded individuals on your team can make all the difference. Share paths with a practicing holistic nutritionist, receive one-on-one coaching regarding your meals, and be connected on the app with my other clients and Ambassadors. You will have fun, stay motivated, and feel inspired!
Find out more by visiting my website www.stacyyates.com