We’ve all heard that accountability helps you be successful but is that actually true? Turns out, it is.
“In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system.” – (Wayne Andersen, MD, cofounder and medical director of Take Shape for Life).
Here’s why it works.
- Accountability (aka your support system) is the driver to get you moving.
It could be a personal trainer, an online program you engage in, a friend, a spouse, even a class you signed up for. Accountability can come in a lot of different forms, but they all have one thing in common. They make it about more than just you!
Left to own devices, we can talk ourselves out of heading to the gym when we’re tired, running late, or just have a better invite! However, if you have an appointment with a friend or trainer, chances are the desire to skip the gym isn’t strong enough to waste money or let your partner down.
It doesn’t do the work for you, but it gets you there, which is the first step.
- It increases your performance.
Ever tried to do a work at home video and found yourself keeping up with about half of it? Working alone means you’ll work out to the level you’re comfortable with. Some select individuals can push themselves to the brink regardless of who’s watching every – single – time. Those select individuals are typically well-trained athletes (roughly about 5% of the clients I’ve trained over the last decade).
For the rest of us, joining a class, getting coached by a professional or even just wanting to look tough in front of your spouse adds a healthy level of competition. You’ll want to keep up with your partner or even push past their level, leading to an overall more effective workout.
Here’s a good place to note that your accountability partner DOES matter. If it’s someone who hits the gym for about ten minutes or stays but complains the whole time, the benefits don’t apply. Look for someone who is consistent (if choosing an individual) and wants to change as much as you do. You don’t need an accountability partner who’s skipping out on you regularly.
- In certain cases, it can positively impact all areas of your life, increasing your chances of success even higher.
Not everyone has a roommate or spouse that is ready to change their life with you. But for those of you that do, take advantage of it. When you have someone close to you that develops healthier habits at the same time, it will impact much more than just your workouts.
For example, if I have a close friend who’s making changes, we may choose healthier options when we meet up. If it’s someone I share a home with, we can create an environment that looks more like Whole Foods than a candy shop.
This can occur with a personal trainer as well if you’re utilizing multiple services (nutrition and training) together. Look for a program in those cases where the engagement is high (Facebook groups, regular check-in’s, shared recipes, etc).
At the end of the day, success is in your reach. Accountability just means you might get there a little faster and you won’t have to get there alone!