When making a health or lifestyle change, there is one important aspect that is often overlooked… accountability.
Research shows that 8 out of 10 dieters try to lose weight on their own without any support system. Yet, the same research shows that 95% of diets fail and most will regain their lost weight within 1-5 years.
There is no coincidence in those statistics.
We could easily get into the path of fad diets, but I’ll save that discussion for another day. For now, we are going to talk about accountability and how that can make or break the long-term effects of a healthy lifestyle change.
Transforming your lifestyle into a healthier version is not impossible to do on your own. However, there are going to be days that you will need a support system to lean on to keep going.
Let’s Talk About Support Systems
I have an incredible support system with family and friends. They’ve been my rock through the entire last year as I navigate working full time, having a family, going back to school and starting my own business…oh, and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
However, outside my close circle of friends and family I found that having someone to bounce ideas off of, to text on the bad days, to celebrate the wins with, to work through coaching scenarios with and to talk to about time management, has made a huge difference.
That one person has stuck it out with me through the last year and I often find myself getting off our phone calls with a new inspired energy, even if my energy was strong going into the call.
What About The “Why”
A common motivational tactic when reaching for a goal is to “set your why.” In other words, what is your deep-down reason for wanting to hit your goal?
For example, a mom’s why can be to give her kids a healthy environment in which to grow up.
Some coaches or trainers will go as far as saying “your why should make you cry,” as it should be so strong and deep that everytime you think about failing your why, you cry.
I believe your why is important, but I don’t want you to cry everytime you think about it. What if your why becomes too stressful? What if it is so big and so important that you feel like a failure for not being able to accomplish your goals?
What if it makes you give up altogether because you feel like you can never give it what it deserves?
This is why you need accountability.
Why You Need Accountability in a Health Journey
There is research to support the idea that “it takes 21 days to form a habit” is not actually accurate.
A habit is seen as something that is an automatic part of your day. It’s something you don’t need to think about to make it happen.
Research actually shows that it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The same study shows that it takes 66 days for that behavior to become a habit. [2009. European Journal of Social Psychology].
There is nothing wrong with taking time to build your new lifestyle. However, doing it on your own for 66 straight days (give or take 188 days) will not likely be easy every single day.
On those days where it gets bad (or you want to cry because of your why) a support system is necessary for accountability. Having someone show up to check in with you on a schedule or be available by text could be the thing that makes or breaks your new healthy habits. There will be days when just knowing that someone else cares about you and your goals will change your entire mindset for the day.
It not only makes you accountable to yourself, but it makes you accountable to someone — someone who is investing their time to help you achieve your goals and dreams.
And, in turn, you may be helping that person achieve their why. A win for both of you!