Staying accountable to your health and fitness goals

By Eliza Berry
Receptionist at Life Ready Physio Inglewood

We’ve all done it. We’ve said to ourselves, “I want to lose weight” or “I really should drink more water”. We might have even said the same thing to ourselves a few times but it’s never really stuck…. So, what are the best ways to stay accountable to your health and fitness goals?

One thing I’ve learnt in my time at Life Ready is the art of good goal-setting. “I want to be fit” doesn’t really set us up for success! You’ve probably heard of SMART goal setting – it must be SIMPLE, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and TIME-LIMITED.

An example of a SMART goal could be “I want to increase my maximum running distance from 8km to 12km by the end of August, so that I can run the whole race at the City to Surf”.

Having a SMART goal ensures that we are already accountable to the time frame, the goal is meaningful to us, we know we have the ability to achieve this goal, and we are very clear about what constitutes success.

The next part can be more challenging. How do we stay motivated?

Celebrate small successes
I’ve found the best way for me to keep on track with my goals is to break the goal up into smaller parts which help to guide my progress. Sometimes the end point of a goal can feel very far away, and it’s difficult to not get either overwhelmed or become complacent. Following my running goal, I set smaller goals of increasing my distance by 1km each week over the course of four weeks. When I ran that extra distance each week, I celebrated that small milestone! If you need that extra push to get you to each milestone, consider a (healthy) reward for your efforts, such as a night away, a massage or some new trainers.

Tell a friend
Of course most health and fitness related goals are great to do as a team, and you can work together to remain accountable. However, “telling a friend” is not just so our friend can remind us to get up and go to the gym, but because it is so important to surround ourselves with people who support us in what we do! Sometimes vocalising our goal with someone we love, or whose opinion we value, can help us work out the best strategies to achieve our goal. Talking through your plan out loud and getting feedback can be a very helpful exercise.

Preparation
Health and fitness goal preparation comes in many forms. It can be setting aside non-negotiable time in your day to go to a group fitness class, remembering to take your runners to work, preparing healthy meals in advance, or simply buying a new water bottle. I find that planning out my week helps to keep me on track as I stay focused on my goal and am less likely to be swayed by other options.

There is no right or wrong way to stay accountable. What does achieving your goal look like to you? And how will you ensure success?