Why accountability sucks sometimes .. and what to do instead.

 “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.” – Epicurus.

(This is a post from Andrea Hanson of Andrea Hanson Coaching. Want to write for Your Life YOUR Way? I’m looking for contributors! Get the deets here. – Tia.)

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As a weight loss coach, one would think I was all about accountability.  

Holding my clients accountable for their eating, their workouts and their behaviour. Encouraging them to find an accountability partner who keeps them on track. A lot of people would say you get results by having someone hold you accountable for your actions.

The truth is, that concept can really SUCK sometimes.

I never advise my clients to have someone else hold them accountable. What’s more? I never hold them accountable myself either. I hear it a lot from people, especially when it comes to working out: “I need to be held accountable so I will work out each morning.”  “My friend makes me do it when I won’t do it on my own”.

Accountability often gets disguised as motivation or inspiration.

A feeling of .. “my partner and I are in this together! I need someone to push me, to make sure I do what I’m supposed to be doing”.

Sound familiar ;)?

On your own you wouldn’t do it, so having someone that makes you must be good, right?

Think about what is really being said here.   

You’re saying that you need to be pushed into doing it because left on your own, you’re not going to show up. What happens when your accountability partner isn’t there? What happens if they stop caring or want to do something else?What are you left with then?

Not motivation.  
Not consistency. 
Certainly not your own desire to work out.

If you are holding onto the thought “I can’t do it on my own”, you’re holding onto the feelings of failure and dislike before you even put your cross trainers on. Trying to make yourself work out while you’re feeling that way costs you TWICE the energy than you would normally need.

It’s always harder to do something as you’re fighting it. 

With this thought, you have labeled yourself as someone who can’t do it on their own. 

Worse yet, someone who won’t do it on their own. And as long as you believe that about yourself, you’re never going to find the motivation to work out without a witness.

You’re constructing a glass ceiling for yourself. One you will never break through as long as you believe that your success depends on someone else.

If your goal is to work out consistently and maybe even enjoy it someday, having someone else hold you accountable will not get you there. No more than getting a fabulous color job at the salon will make you a natural blonde. Even if it does, it won’t KEEP you there.

At least, not beyond a certain point.

Because that’s the ugly truth about accountability.

It works in the short-tem, but it won’t instill any long-term motivation to do something on your own.

It’s time you cut out the middleman.

But don’t worry, you can still get a lot done by using a few smart strategies. Here’s a simple 3 step approach that will get you well on the road to independent motivation!

1. Change what you’re saying about yourself.  

At first glance, you’re helping yourself get into shape. But what’s the truth behind that? Are you telling yourself that you can’t do it without x, y, z?

Remember, you are what you label yourself to be. So start by choosing that label wisely. Choose one that EMPOWERS you, vs makes you feel less than! 

Instead of saying “This is just too hard, I can’t do it alone” try saying “It gets easier if I stick to it, I can do this!”. 

2. Take out the ‘but’ – focus on what you want.

On some level, you do want to work out. You’re just adding the “but” that goes along with it. So, drop it!

For example you say: “I want to work out, but I won’t do it on my own. I need help.”  

If you take out the ‘but’ and look at only what you want, what do you get?

“I want to exercise.” 

Leave it at that. The second part isn’t reality, it’s something your mind made up.

3. Give your accountability partner a NEW job description. 

I’m NOT saying stop working out with your friend, or trainer or whoever it is. 

Keep that alliance; just give it a new role. 

Use them to make it more fun, use them to help you ease into a new routine. Just don’t use them to make sure you work out.

That’s YOUR job. 

It’s nobody’s business but your own whether you show up or not.

Accountability partners may work for a bit, but don’t let them be a crutch that keep you from building your own powerful story  – a story about you wanting to do it and succeeding in your own right.

Become the independent soul that you are.

If you want a workout buddy in order to make it more fun, great. If you want a buddy to help you get over first-day-at-the-gym jitters, GO FOR IT! But for the love of all things holy, don’t for one second think that you can’t do this on your own.

You have the knowledge. You have the power. You have the strength.

Take ownership of what is already yours.

At the end of the day, you are the one who shows up. You are the one who finishes your workouts. You are the one who makes it a priority.

No one else can do that for you.

Take pride in knowing that YOU did that for yourself, because of your own desires. 

Not because someone else made you do it. 

Andrea Hanson is a weight loss and body image coach who helps people get into the groove of weight loss. She specializes in helping people end the battle with emotional eating and lack of motivationYou can lose the weight – and you can start today.  Download your copy of her free e-book It’s Sabotage! and find out the top 3 ways we derail our own weight loss and how to fix it.

Find her at www.andreahansoncoaching.com, facebook, & twitter.


** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


About Tia & Your Life YOUR Way:

Life Coach / Awesomeness Inciter + Inner Sparkle Activator Tia Sparkles offers tips, advice, community hug-a-thons to ignite your Inner Sparkle — that shimmery part of your spirit that says YES to courage + connection, and NO WAY to ‘shoulds’ + restrictions.

She loves Nutella, New Zealand, Yoda, & Sparkles.

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