Butt-Kicking Accountability


This post previously appeared on Happy by Design

I’ve know for a while that I do really well when I share my goals out loud so that I can keep myself more accountable. But to be honest, most of the time those are long-term goals where I allow myself a reasonable amount of room for error. I told you how I trained for Ragnar (and that I’m planning to run this again). I told you about the first draft of a book I wanted to write. But I didn’t tell you about the days of training I skipped each week or how sometimes I didn’t hit my word goals for the day. But in the end, the goal was still accomplished.  And even though I’m happy about that, there is always a small part of me that thinks “What if I had followed the course/plan exactly? How much better would this be?”

Well, now I’m putting that to the test. Let me explain.

At work, we like to have these little competitions. Sometimes I partake, sometimes I don’t. But when this particular challenge landed in my inbox, I knew I was all in.

It’s a healthy challenge where in everyone comes up with their own weekly challenge and then you report in at the end of the week to say whether or not you met your weekly goal.

Your goal can be anything that allows you to work on your health. Some people had a goal of eating healthier, or a weekly weight goal, or increasing their steps throughout the day or working out more often. You’re not required to share your goal, but if it helps you be more accountable, you certainly can.

My goal is 30-45 minutes of exercise/5 days a week. It can be running, yoga or strength training. As I’m also running a 7k on March 21  (The Lucky Leprechaun 7k), my other goal is to get up to four miles of continuous running and my super hard goal is to do that at a 10-min-mile pace. That last one may be too ambitious for someone who has rarely worked out over the last couple months, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

So now we’re finishing up week 2. And this form of weekly accountability is truly a kick in the butt. I just finished up day 4 with a yoga session, this morning. Tomorrow, I’m going to the Petit center to run four miles on their track (okay I hope to run four miles…but it may be a slow run).

But this was an especially hard week to keep myself accountable. Jackson was home sick on Monday and Tuesday and Jake was gone on business for four days. So Monday and Tuesday I did nothing. That meant I would have 5 continuous workouts ahead of me. Wednesday and Thursday, I was rearing to go. Friday? I slept in and knew I would have to do my workout after work…which is not my favorite time to workout, anymore. But I did it! I packed my workout bag before I went to work and managed to leave a little early so I could get in a 30-minute run before I picked up Jackson from daycare. Any other time? I would have just said “It’s okay if I missed today, it’s just one day.” But yesterday was a true make or break day for my weekly goal.

Oh, did I mention there are star stickers for each week? Well, there are. Was I going to work out only four days instead of five and miss out on the star? Um, no, that’s ridiculous.

Did you know that I find star stickers to be incredibly incentivizing? Especially where it’s visible by others? Well, I guess it is. So maybe I’m the ridiculous one (as if we didn’t already know that).

So for the second week in a row, I’m on track to get the coveted weekly star. And it’s like I can just feel the triumph awaiting me each week when I finish up that day 5 workout. Woooo!!!! Done!!  GIVE ME THAT STAR!!

The success of this method, so far, makes me realize how I need to be much more “micro-accountable” with my goals.

Now as I stare at the first draft of my book of which I’m scared of how to proceed, I’m trying to think of how to employ that method to this particular challenge. To recap, the overall book goal is to have something out the door before November. But what are my daily/weekly goals in making that happen? And how do I find the proper incentive when I have a hard time even sharing what my book is about with others?

These are the things I’m wrestling with today. But I’m glad that I’m getting back to my healthier goals, and that work is not consuming my entire life like it was for the last couple months.

Do you have any butt-kicking accountability tips to share? Where have you had success? Or even, what hasn’t worked for you?

Stay warm!

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