If I asked you if eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise were key for health and wellness, you would most likely respond with a resounding yes. Why then, if we know that nutrition and fitness is the magic formula for living well, don’t we do it? Why do we prioritize one over the other? Why do we put one on the back burner and only get serious about it when we’ve been slapped in the face by a wake-up call, such as getting winded by one flight of stairs or a high blood-pressure reading?
Show Up… for YOU
In my experience working with hundreds of individuals at Brentwood Barbell, the key is accountability. We’re often willing to let ourselves down time after time, but when someone else is counting on us, we show up for them.
We show up for others because we don’t want to disappoint them, but yet we willingly and routinely disappoint ourselves over and over. Or worse, we consider time spent on self-help or development as selfish. We justify why we can’t follow through on our nutrition plan, we make excuses for why we have to skip the gym today and we follow it up with a promise to try again tomorrow—or better yet, to start fresh on Monday. I know, you don’t have time, no one has any time. Meanwhile, we’re subconsciously cataloging every time we didn’t show up for ourselves as just another failure, and over time, we begin to see ourselves as incapable of change.
Relying on others to hold us accountable is OK, in the short term it’s probably ideal in fact. When we’re just getting started, we need assistance and guidance, frankly we need help from over thinking and under doing. We need encouragement and support while we develop good habits. At Brentwood Barbell, we want to make getting STARTED as easy as possible, so we have a framework of accountability to help those who are ready to start:
- personalized Intro program
- we reach out to athletes that haven’t been into the gym in a while
- we know every athlete so we ask how things are going in your life
- we ask athletes to record and share their Bright Spots with us
- we schedule regular client Goal Reviews
Our community of athletes also helps in this accountability effort. That friend who is normally in class with you notices when you haven’t been there and sends you a friendly text asking how you’re doing. We let you know you aren’t forgotten and we want you here.
Create Lasting Change
Now here’s where the truth hurts a little bit: No matter how much work to keep you accountable, lasting behavior change ultimately comes down to the individual. It’s up to them to consciously choose every day to make progress toward their goals. We will program for you, cheer for you, and aim to educate you but if you haven’t bought in to the process, it won’t work in the long term.
Here are 10 ways to boost your internal accountability and hopefully create lasting change:
- Schedule your workouts like appointments you can’t miss. You don’t miss doctor or dentist appointments, treat your exercise and nutrition appointments with similar significance.
- Book your classes in the app / let a coach know when you’ll be back in the gym. By putting your intentions out there, you have created an expectation that you will want to follow through on.
- Engage in the community! Our classes are set up to promote communication and interaction. Meet your fellow athletes, learn about them and their story. You can always follow us on our social media accounts as well (IG, FB). We generate a lot of discussion there. You can also check out our weekly podcast (Brentwood Barbell Radio), lots of great training info / topics talked about every week!
- Print off a calendar, hang it in a visible spot and cross off the days you hit the gym or stayed true to your nutrition plan so that you can visually see all the marks of your success. It’s satisfying to see your efforts adding up and will reinforce your intentions to keep going! Everyone loves progress they can see!
- Put your goals out there. Tell friends and family, perhaps post on your SM accounts. Saying it out loud has a way of making it real.
- Keep Metrics that Matter. This could be taking weekly or monthly progress pics, trying on that old pair of jeans every 4th week, logging the weights you lift or the sessions completed (see #4). If it’s important to you, monitor it… seeing progress will keep you going.
- Set a quarterly goal review. At Brentwood Barbell, athletes meet with a coach every quarter to discuss progress and make plan changes. This could be a workout partner if you’re training on your own.
- Know your WHY. If you have a goal (say lose 15 lbs.), visualize the ways that achieving that goal will positively impact your life. How will accomplishing the goal make you happier, more confident, etc.?
- Have perspective. If you’ve been out of shape for 40 years, don’t be discouraged that getting in shape is taking time. In many ways, you will need to fall in love with the process rather than just being concerned with the goal.
- Set micro goals. If your goal is to bench 315lbs. and you’re currently benching 250lbs., give yourself a little prize every 10lbs. you add to your 1RM. This will make the process more fun and enjoyable. At Brentwood Barbell, we have a T shirt program. Each client gets a sweet new shirt for every 100 workouts they complete.
There are many other ways to keep yourself accountable, so find what works for you. Something that worked once might not work forever—switch things up often to stay excited and motivated about your success.