It’s the start of a new year, and you’ve got big plans. You’ve picked out the perfect diet that will cut out all the junk. You’ve marked your calendar to be in the gym every morning before work, with an hour-long run on the weekend. This year, it’s going to be different!
But as the weeks pass, temptations start to creep in. You feel less motivated to stick to your diet when you’re craving the meals you had to say goodbye to. Working out every morning is wearing you down, so you give up on the weekday sessions to focus on the weekend one.
Next thing you know, it’s March, your diet plan is in tatters, and you’ve seen more of Netflix than the gym. What happened?
Healthy lifestyle changes like these often begin with good intentions. Whether it’s a resolution to get fit or lose weight, when you first make these goals your motivation will be at its highest. But sticking with these changes long term is hard. Despite “exercising more” and “eating better” being two of the top New Year’s resolutions in the United States in 2020, past research predicts that 80% of people give up on them by the second week in February.
So, how do you become one of the success stories? How do you stick to your health goals? The answer is simple: accountability.
What is accountability, and why is it important when making lifestyle changes?
Merriam-Webster defines accountability as the willingness to accept responsibility for your actions. It helps you to stay consistent, and that’s an essential part of success.
If you have to record or report back on your progress, you’re much more likely to stick to your goals.
Want proof of just how powerful accountability is in smashing your goals? Here’s the data:
A Stanford University research trial found that making check-in phone calls every two weeks on exercise progress increased participants’ total exercise by an average of 78%. The same study showed this group continued to exercise at the same higher level 18 months later. The phone calls worked by making participants accountable for maintaining their progress. An accountability study by the American Society of Training and Development found that you are 65% more likely to complete your goal if you commit to someone. Your chance of success can increase up to 95% if you also carry out specific accountability appointments with the person you committed to.
Reaching health goals takes commitment, perseverance, and hard work. Putting an accountability system in place drives you to achieve those goals.
How to maintain accountability
Now that we’ve covered the importance of accountability, the next step is finding the right accountability system for you.
Try experimenting with these five methods and see how they impact your progress toward achieving your health goals.
Find an accountability partner
Working alongside a friend, relative, or colleague is a great way to stay accountable. You are much more likely to go to a gym class or stick to your dietary plan if you have someone doing it with you.
One study showed couples who workout together have a dropout rate of just 6.3% — more than 36% lower than those who work out separately. So working out together. . . works!
Join a support group
A support group, whether online or in-person, is a fantastic way to achieve your health goals. It can help you stick to your plan and gives you people to discuss your challenges with.
Knowing that you can talk to someone when you feel the urge to break your new routine is a mental relief and gives you accountability. Online groups make support accessible any time of day or night, offering someone to chat with or offer advice when you need it.
Design a habit tracker
If you keep a diary, a journal, or use paper organizational methods, then a Habit Tracker might be your ideal way to stay on top of your health goals.
After writing down the habits that will help you achieve your health goals, check your tracker daily to make sure you’re following them. This reminds you to act, motivates you to continue, and is a visually satisfying way of viewing your progress.
Wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)
A CGM is a powerful tool that helps improve your metabolic health by providing immediate feedback. Our brains are hardwired to respond positively to immediate gratification. But, this can be frustrating as most health habits have a delayed gratification process.
There can be a considerable time gap between taking a healthy action and visibly seeing its results. A CGM bridges that time gap. If you’ve finished a workout or eaten a healthy meal, your CGM will immediately show you the benefits it had as opposed to months or even years later.
When you get an immediate reward, it’s more meaningful and can enhance intrinsic motivation. The best part? It’s not your doctor or blogger or neighbor telling you what’s best — it’s your body telling you what’s best in that very moment.
Work with a professional
Working with a professional like a personal trainer, dietitian, or weight loss coach is a time-honored way to stay accountable and achieve health goals. Using a system like the NutriSense Continuous Glucose Monitoring Health Program, for example, provides the added accountability of working with a registered dietitian.
Seeking help from a professional puts an expert in your corner to help you stay motivated and educated. Those are two big keys that will help you unlock your potential to hit your health goals efficiently.
Going beyond accountability
Let’s pull back for a second and talk more about that last point. For a lot of people, working with a professional seems like an impossibility. Others may wonder, “what good will it do?” If you have a gym buddy and a doctor already, why would you need to find a pro just to tell you what you already know?
The reason is that a pro can help you achieve things a buddy or a doctor just can’t. They have time for you, as well as specific knowledge about your goals. They can coach you through different ideas and changes to achieve your personal health milestones.
If you choose an expert in the field of your objective (let’s say a personal trainer to help you reach a specific level of fitness), they can observe your routine from an outside perspective and use their expert knowledge to tailor it to be successful.
If you’re looking to be metabolically healthy, a dietitian can assist you in becoming an expert on everything from glucose to macros. They’ll explain the data and show you its values, so you’ll learn to assess your results and make healthy changes yourself.
The problem with many diets and fitness regimes is that they’re subjective. What works for one person may not work for the next. It can take trial and error to find what works for you, which can be disheartening. But there’s one more person you can be accountable to who can help: yourself.
How to improve your self-accountability
Some people feel no matter what they do they are their own biggest enemy. But there are simple solutions to turn yourself into your best ally instead. Using technology to educate your choices might just be the best way to do it.
Heart rate monitors, fitness trackers, and Blood Glucose Monitors (BGMs) or CGMs are all examples of technology that can be a positive form of support. For example, a CGM provides you with the real-time data you need to make changes that work for you. It joins the dots connecting how your body feels with a dietary or lifestyle decision you have made. You can immediately see the results from your actions and consciously improve your decision-making. Over time, changing your lifestyle decisions consciously will also change your subconscious decisions. That’s what will lead to long-term lasting results.
Putting It all together
Accountability is the first key to staying on track and achieving your health goals. You can increase your accountability by setting up support systems on your own and with the help of others.
This includes strategies like finding an accountability partner, joining a support group, creating a habit tracker, trying a CGM, and working with a professional. Go beyond accountability and maintain your health goals long-term through tailored professional advice, like the NutriSense Continuous Glucose Monitoring Health Program.
Questions about how you can find the best accountability method for your goals? Check out our knowledgebase of frequently asked questions or explore the program to start off your wellness journey two steps ahead.