My column this week is all about accountability.
I want to help you recognize an area in your personal health you are struggling with and find a way to make it into a positive instead of a negative. We will use your fitness, nutrition, and health as example, but you can actually apply these principles to any area in your life you are currently struggling with.
What part of fitness, health, exercise, and nutrition do you struggle with the most in your life?
Is it eating enough fresh produce? It is setting a healthy example for your children? Is it getting enough sleep? Is it making time for exercise everyday in your life? Is it being consistent? Is it something deeper, more personal?
Take some time, be authentic with yourself, and look at your present condition. Identify an area of your life that you struggle with and that you are not personally satisfied with.
Once you have identified it, take 100 percent responsibility for this area of your health and fitness. Reflect on the choices you make to continue this behavior, the explanation of why you have made this behavior a part of your life, and the reasons you want to change it. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it is the next part that is challenging.
Once you have taken 100 percent accountability for this area of your life, instead of dwelling on it, beating yourself up, or feeling inadequate, I am going to ask you to do something that may seem completely counter-intuitive. Write down at least three things about the area within your health you are struggling with that you are grateful for.
If you can, write down more than three things. Journal all the aspects that you are thankful for within your personal struggle with health and fitness.
By doing this, you are making a conscious effort to change your perspective, seeing your struggle with health and fitness as a positive factor in your life.
Next comes an even harder part. Publicly announce the area you want to change, your fears of possible failure, the goal you wish to achieve, and ask others to hold you accountable.
Some friends may tell you that you are fine the way you are, that you do not have to change that area of your health and fitness. Although they mean this to be supportive, do not listen to these friends if you feel this is an area of your life that you want to change. Reach out to others who you admire, respect, and who you know will encourage your choice to grow, change, and hold you accountable.
We are all afraid of failing publicly, but everyone fails before they succeed. You wouldn’t scold a baby when they fall after they take their first step — allow yourself the same respect and encouragement. Positive people will applaud your effort and encourage you. By sharing your goal publicly you are not only showing you will do everything within your power to make it happen, you are also inspiring others who wish to make similar changes.
I will give you an example from my own life.
I struggle with getting enough sleep. I wake up early and I often go to bed late, getting only 4 to 5 hours of sleep. I am unsatisfied with this because I know it hinders my performance as a mother, wife, coach and business owner. I make the excuse that I have so much to do that I can only get 4 to 5 hours of sleep and complete my responsibilities.
I acknowledge that by getting only 4 to 5 hours of sleep I make mistakes I could easily avoid if I got more sleep. These mistakes often require me to do tasks twice that I could have efficiently done once if I was well rested. Not getting enough sleep also can make me cranky and short with people I care about. I am well aware that this habit is holding me back from what I am truly capable of. I see that my reasons for only getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night are not truly valid or reasonable.
I am afraid that if I try to change this habit, I will soon revert back to my old habits. I am afraid that I will fail in my goal when things undoubtedly come up that need my attention and time.
Notice the ownership of responsibility and accountability, but the lack of blame, emotional guilt, or feelings of inadequacy.
The next task is a tough one. What am I grateful for when it comes to this habit?
I am grateful and hopeful that this habit allows me to inspire and show you how to overcome personal struggles. I am grateful that this habit allows me to have time to myself in the early morning and the late evening. I am grateful, acknowledging I choose to get 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night and take personal responsibility for this choice.
I am grateful that seeing this habit as a choice allows me to see I am able to take control and full responsibility within my own life. I am grateful that reflecting on this habit has helped me to recognize that several other people have more to do than me in a single work day, and yet they are able to efficiently manage their time, feel fulfilled, and make sure to get a good night’s rest.
By being authentic and honest with myself and publicly announcing my emotional and personal accountability, I have a higher possibility of achieving my goal of getting more sleep at night. I admire YOU, my readers, and don’t want to disappoint YOU.
So many of us put ourselves last and are tempted to compromise our health and fitness when challenges come up, even though we know better. By publicly announcing your goals and fears, and challenging others to do the same, you are creating a team of accountability partners. You are setting yourself up for success.
I want to share a video with you. A friend of mine, Michelle West, who was a long-time resident of the Tri-Valley area, has decided to make a huge commitment to fitness. She declared her resolution publicly and her honesty and authenticity rocked me to the core. You may not be quite ready for a public announcement of this magnitude, but imagine the success you could see if you took a leap of faith like this with your fitness, friends, family and yourself.
Taking accountability and publicly announcing your struggle with health and fitness is a daunting, yet exhilarating, task. Michelle dares you, and I dare you to take this challenge to make a healthy change within your life.