Wondering how to create accountability or why accountability is important to goal setting? 

You’re not alone...it tends to be the piece most often forgotten during the goal-setting process. The kicker is that it could also be the biggest thing standing between you and the goal you’ve been chasing.

You’re here, reading this because you likely have a goal you want to achieve. You may have taken it a step further and created a timeline in which you’d like to have it done and some sort of a plan to get there.

But, we all run into times when we think, “I know WHAT to do, I just have to DO IT.” 

Sound familiar? Here is an example...

You know you’ll have more success reaching a weight loss goal if you eat more vegetables and lean protein and less pizza and candy. But that is much easier said (or read!) than done, right? 

If you know what to do and it really is that straightforward, why don’t more of us simply “do it”

The missing piece is learning how to create accountability. 

The “ideal” nutrition plan, the “best” meals, the “most efficient” ways to prep only have an impact if they are doable and sustainable for YOU. 

While the plan is critical, one of the most glaring pieces you could be missing in your journey is the accountability piece: how do you stick with that plan? 

Why Accountability Works

Accountability works in many ways, some more internally driven, and some externally. Things like pride and fear are deep internal drivers experienced through the ups and downs of your journey. You experience pride with each success you have along the way, and it is often the fear of failure that can keep you from quitting during the toughest times. 

It is also during the tough times that you rely on positivity to lift you up. It is true that you can be your own worst critic. It is really common to use language with yourself that you would NEVER use when talking to your friends, family or even a stranger on the street.

Connecting with others can help you reframe your negative self-talk into something more caring, understanding, compassionate and positive. All things that allow you to continue forward toward your goal with more ease.

And what about simple satisfaction in reaching a certain milestone or sticking with a new habit? Many of us rely on that dopamine hit when we cross something off the list (hi! It’s me!). We are especially excited when we get to tell someone else about all the great things we accomplished. 

Externally driven factors are rooted in your connection to other people and communities. This is where your individual personality and tendencies play a huge role. While some people are more inclined to fly solo (and may be more internally driven), others truly thrive when human interaction is involved. In all likelihood, most of us rely on a combination. 

Support and belonging may prove pivotal in your journey. When you are part of a group, you realize that you’re not alone. Having a community, a partner or a strong relationship in a space where you are feeling vulnerable can provide a sense of belonging that helps you relate. 

Then, when you inevitably find yourself in the low points of the journey, there will be people around you to help lift you back up. We have all been there, sometimes we just need a reminder that we’re not alone and that gives us the courage to start again.

When you share your goals with other people, you get the benefit of an outside perspective. It is common to operate with blinders on, believing only what you see right in front of you and your own thoughts and experiences. When you have accountability, you can lean on others for advice, support and another perspective. This is critical for your lows but also quite valuable in the highs along the way. We all love people to celebrate with, right?

A final way that accountability works is through peer pressure. I know “peer pressure” is most often considered negative. But this isn’t always the case.

In accountability situations when you are involved with other people, especially in groups, you will feel a certain amount of healthy “good” pressure to do right by the people counting on you.

Now that I’ve convinced you accountability is important, we need to tackle HOW to create accountability and achieve your goals.

How to Create Accountability

The beauty and complexity of being human is that every single one of us is unique. We all have different experiences, backgrounds, histories, genetics, values, beliefs, biology, chemistry, perspectives... I could go on.

Due to this variety, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition and goal setting. What works for you may be completely different from what works for your best friend. Here are a few ways to build accountability: 

  • Hire a coach. This one is obvious but very effective. It is a good option for you if you’re typically nervous, shy, anxious, or feel you may want or need individual attention and support. If you want to lose weight, hire a nutrition coach or a trainer. If you want to grow your business, hire a marketing coach. Not only do these individuals have the expertise you can benefit from, but they will also know how and where to guide you and you will always have to answer to them! No hiding in the crowd here.

  • Join a group. If you are starting a business, join an entrepreneur's group on Facebook. If you want to get in the habit of working out more consistently, join a bootcamp. This is a great option for those that thrive in social situations and love to be a part of a community. At WAG, we have a private Facebook group for our members, students in our Coach Certification and people in the Seismic Business Program. This provides supportive places to ask questions, share wins and create accountability.

  • Join a team. This one is a little different than joining a group in that teams must work together to reach a common goal. This is not to say you won’t also have your own individual goal to achieve along the way, but this will up the ante. This is an ideal option if you thrive on competition along with community. Try joining a race team to raise money for a cause or a CrossFit team competition since performing at your best requires you to dial in nutrition! Your teammates will support you, push you, and you might even create lifelong bonds.

  • Buddy up. Talk to friends and family members to find out who has similar goals. If you both have goals to eat more vegetables, you could set up weekly goal setting, morning text reminders, and progress check-ins together. Having someone in it WITH you can make the ups and downs of your journey that much more bearable. If you are fortunate enough to have a partner join you on a fitness or weight loss journey, you know what I’m talking about.

  • Ask for support. This is a huge one when it comes to creating accountability. If you don’t have someone in your life to ride (theoretical) shotgun with you on your journey, find someone who will be bold, honest and just blunt enough to help you stay on track. The key here is picking someone you trust who you know has your best interests at heart. Assign them the job of sending texts or emails every week to find out about your progress. If you are changing your nutrition to achieve body composition goals, send this person your menu plan for the week. They do not have to be an expert in the field, they just hold the power to congratulate you on getting your work done or calling you out if you missed. This method can be great for people who would describe themselves as “good students.”

  • Declare your goal. Make it public! Post about it on social media and tell everyone you see. Promise to update everyone on your progress with stories, milestones, photos or successes and then DO IT! If you miss, people will ask you how things are going. Although this method is less structured, it certainly has a broader reach for accountability. Plus, when you share your goal with the people around you, they’ll want to help you out. Maybe they’ll share their favorite healthy recipes, a great book they read on the subject or another resource you could benefit from.

  • Set a deadline. If you don’t have a special event, race, competition or something similar that is already scheduled, create one. Plan a party for 6 months from now that will celebrate your goal being met. I realize this might sound silly, but who wants to show up to their celebration party without having reached what they set out to complete?

Chances are good that in reading these ideas, a few stood out as strategies you’re excited to try and maybe you wrote a few off right away. 

Start with your favorites and see how it goes! You may try something that just doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel and scrap accountability altogether. Remember, we’re all unique and different things work for different people (and different goals).

Get back on the horse and try something different to create accountability for yourself. And, keep in mind that these have a human connection component to them. If you hire a coach, join a group or enlist a buddy and it just isn’t jiving for you, maybe it has to do with the person or people involved. Don’t be afraid to try again with a different coach, partner or team.

At WAG, we know a whole lot about nutrition… but we also consider ourselves masters in accountability. Through weekly check-ins and unlimited messages, our coaches provide that personalized accountability and suggestions for our clients to help them reach their unique goals.

The bottom line is that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you have some accountability along the way. The people who you see out there crushing their goals are not doing it alone. Everyone has their way, and you can find yours wherever you are.