A few days ago I looked at my activity tracker for the first time in a week (it was a busy week) and I was shocked when the tracker showed my average daily steps were only 30% of my goal. How could this be? When I reflected back on my week, I knew I spent a lot of time at my computer. I had problems with my newsletter going out (sorry for those big ugly images!) and I just spent most of my time sitting, working, and trying to fix problems. I know sitting is not good for me if I want to be healthy!
The Smart Coach on my tracker gave me some encouragement by telling me to take at least 500 more steps. I laughed – I really needed to take more like 5000 additional steps.
I told my husband how delinquent I had been the past week with my walking and he said “Oh honey, you had such a busy week.” I immediately replied, “that’s no excuse, every week is busy. You know I always have something to do!”
Then I told my husband he had to help me by nagging me to make sure I walk every day. I seriously told him he had to be my “accountability buddy.” And he laughed!
I know that one way for me to be more successful in reaching my goals is to be accountable to someone in addition to myself. In the past it has been my boss at work or a colleague. I can so easily ignore myself but it is much more difficult to ignore someone else.
According to Dena Davis of ACTion Performance & Leadership Coaching, an accountability buddy is “someone (or more than one person) who supports you in making sure you meet your commitments.” It’s someone, other than you, who helps you stay motivated.
I asked my husband, “What is your plan to keep me motivated now that you’re my accountability buddy?” Again, he laughed and said “I didn’t know I had to set a big agenda.” I knew we were off to a very rocky start.
I asked Dena for her advice on how to be successful in this new relationship. Based on her feedback, I selected three tips that I believe will be the most successful for me and my buddy:
- Be clear about expectations – I know it’s important for us both to be clear on the goal and what I am accountable for. I worked on a plan that will get me to 10,000 steps/day on average over the next 2 months. Then the challenge is to sustain that for at least one more month. This should take me to April. Might be tough as I’m doing this during the winter months, but no excuses!
- Meet regularly to discuss progress – We decided to meet weekly. Our meeting will be a scheduled walk together around the neighborhood. He needs his steps too – why not kill two birds with one stone! I also learned that my accountability buddy needs to use good coaching skills, hold my feet to the fire, and be brutally honest with me. He’s going to have to work on this as my buddy is the nicest guy and it’s not in his nature to be brutal!
- Agree on consequences – this was a tough one. We haggard over the amount of the “consequence”, although I wanted to focus on the “reward”. I said it needed to be sizable as the goal is a stretch goal for me and I really need lots of motivation to keep hitting the target every week. We finally decided that if I make my goal, I get a sizable gift certificate to my local boutique. If I don’t make the goal, my clothing budget will be reduced by this sizable amount. Since I like clothes, we both agreed this would be an appropriate reward/consequence! I can always use some new spring clothes and, heaven forbid, I am not going to have my clothing budget reduced!
I created a simple tracker and I posted it on my bedroom mirror to keep me on track every day. What was previously just a desire to do something has turned into a goal that I now have a much better chance of achieving because I implemented these critical factors:
- Set a specific, measurable, achievable goal
- Created a plan to achieve it
- Established how to measure
- There is a very nice reward at the end to incentivize me
and most of all
- I have the best accountability buddy to coach and support me along the way!
I’ll be monitoring my weekly progress on instagram. Wish me luck and check in on how I do!
Tell me if you have a goal you are working on and if you need help!