Let’s face it. it’s easy to get started with any fitness program or health goal. If you’re like many others you probably even get excited about your new lease on life. You go out and buy the right clothing and gear. You have visions of yourself thin and running down the street like a seasoned pro.
Yet, two weeks into your new running or fitness life you start to lose momentum. It’s not as fun as you thought it’d be and it’s tough to get motivated. What’s missing? Accountability. When you haven’t created a means to hold yourself accountable for your fitness goals, there’s nothing motivating you to push forward.
- Set Goals You Can Reach — The biggest reason people fail to achieve their fitness goals is because they either didn’t set any to begin with or they made them too big. For example, you might decide you’re going to run for an hour each day. That’s great. Yet if you’re fresh off the couch running that hour is going to be extremely difficult on your body and your mind. A more reasonable goal might be to run for five minutes and walk for fifteen. Do this for a week or two and then add time to your run. Start running for ten minutes and walking for ten minutes. You’ll create a pattern of success.
- Document Your Goals — Writing down your goals changes them from dreams or wishes to actual goals. It also helps you with the next step. If you journal, then write them down in a journal. If you are more structured, consider creating a fitness goals spreadsheet on your computer. There are fitness apps for your mobile device and fitness journals you can purchase at the bookstore. Use whatever system works best for you.
- Plan for Them — The next step is to plan how you’re going to achieve your fitness goals. If you’ve decided to run for five minutes every single day and walk for fifteen minutes, when are you going to do it? What will you do if the weather is bad? When will you increase your running time? Plan out the details. It’s okay if you make changes to your plan along the way. The purpose of the plan isn’t to hold you to a rigid schedule. The purpose is so you become accountable for your goals.
- Announce Your Goals. There’s something very motivating about telling others what you’re doing. You force yourself to be a bit more accountable because these same people will ask you next week or next month, how’s that new fitness program going? They’ll also notice when you’ve lost weight and begin to look healthier.
- Celebrate Success. Include in your plan some sort of reward or celebration. You don’t have to throw yourself a party or buy something expensive. Small celebrations work well too.
Once you’ve achieved your fitness goal it’s time to take it to the next level. What can you achieve? Set a goal, plan for it, and hold yourself accountable. You’re in control of your life.