Accountability – A Two-Way Street
By Coach James Brusard
Whenever we fall short of goals within our daily personal or professional lives, we try to rationalize our failure in any number of ways that absolves us of responsibility. Lack of time and energy are among the most common excuses that comes as a result of poor sleep habits, inadequate nutrition, or simply lack of belief in our ability to stay on the straight and narrow. But have you ever considered that you weren’t crushing the obstacles that lie on the path to success because you weren’t talking about them? A study conducted by social media platform Weilos, which is a platform for people to talk about their weight loss and fitness objectives and share their progress, found that participants on the sharing platform lost an average of 1.2 lbs. per week compared to 0.27 lbs. lost when those same individuals did not use the site.
When we share our goals and progress with those close to us it isn’t some narcissistic attempt to brag about how much weight we’ve lost or how much stronger we’ve gotten. The bottom line of sharing progress is that it holds us accountable to ourselves and more importantly to others by meeting clearly defined expectations. Think about it, when you tell your boss you’ll complete a report or meet a deadline by the end of the week you set an expectation that suggests you can follow through on your word. Anyone who cares about career advancement or simply keeping their job for that matter is likely to deliver on their promise; setting fitness goals should be no different. It’s easy to put off a workout or stray from a sound nutrition plan, but much more difficult to take this route when we are forced to explain to others why we couldn’t follow through with our agreed upon plans.
A system must be set in place where progress is recorded and periodically discussed at predetermined check-ins in via text, email, or in person every step of the way. The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) performed a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. If you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
Beyond the scope of accountability, goal sharing allows us to meet our fundamental human need as social being to make a social connection with others. It also motivates us to continue along our path considering the positive reinforcement provided by others, which is likely to cause us to strive toward more frequent, larger goals moving forward. Sharing your goals with humility gives meaning to the work you have put in that might even encourage others to take positive action as well.
The road to accomplishing any worthwhile goal is one that will certainly take time, hard work, perseverance, and commitment, but it is one that you don’t have to walk alone. Remember to carefully draft and continually revise your goals using a comprehensive framework like SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific to maximize success.
Take a moment to revisit and revise your health goals with our Coaching Team and the be sure to share them with family and those close to you who can make a difference in your life today.