Just about every Sunday night I say to myself, “This week, I am going to eat better.” And, just about every Monday afternoon, I find myself cooking the same frozen pizza I always eat. Why is it so difficult for us to stick to our guns and really follow through on developing better habits? Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s mostly because doing what you’re used to is so much easier.
Trick of the trade
Each year I find myself being notorious for skipping out on my New Year’s resolutions, my fitness goals, and my attempts at reading one book per month. Right when I was beginning to feel completely fed up with myself, I found a trick that has helped me form habits and maintain behavior to accomplish my goals.
And, this trick is quite simple: accountability.
This can be found in the form of a friend or in the form of a planner or calendar.
Creating accountable ideas
I have thousands of ideas per day, many of which are fleeting. However, some ideas are about self-improvement.
For example, I often have the idea of beginning a workout routine. While I know that I should be doing daily exercise to increase my overall health, it can be a difficult task to stick with.
By developing this idea into something that I am accountable for, it makes me much more likely to stick with this habit. Let me explain…
Accountable for others
The two aforementioned methods of accountability, a friend or planner, can be used for the given workout example.
If you find a friend who can daylight as your workout buddy, you have someone that will motivate you and that you can motivate.
Now that you’ve made this friend your workout buddy, you have someone to hold you accountable if you miss a day. Gone would be the days when you could skip a workout and have no one to answer to.
Accountable for yourself
But, if you are a solo exerciser like myself, it can be difficult to find a method of accountability. What I have found works for me is taking my thought of, “I should workout,” and putting my goals down on paper.
By writing down a workout plan and the attached goals, it fosters a sense of tangibility.
I then create a calendar where I write down what exercise I want to do on what day, and, after I complete my goal, I am able to check it out.
For the accountability aspect, I like to put this calendar somewhere in everyday eyesight, so that I can’t ignore it. And, sure, I could easily throw it away and pretend it never existed in the first place, but I promise the act of writing out your goals will motivate completion.
In the end…
While sticking to habits can be a tricky business and different methods work for different people, developing an environment in which you hold accountability helps to inspire motivation.