In early 2017, I set a goal for myself to do a single unassisted pull up. It’s October, and I’m still working on it. And that’s a win.
Why is it a win, if I haven’t met my goal yet?
Because without accountability from the personal trainers that I mentioned my goal to, I would have given up by now.
Finding an accountability partner
My trainer, Beth, pictured above helping me develop the muscles I’ll need for that one pull-up, is one of my accountability partners. She’s not letting me give up.
And as I think through the progress I’ve made with my health and fitness goals in the past 8 years, most of that progress would not have happened unless I’d had accountability not only to myself, but to others, along the way.
Sometimes those partners didn’t even know they were partners; they led their life in such a way that I admired, and I took good mental notes and held myself accountable. Still others were a partner for a short while because I asked them to be, such as the health coach who helped me get unstuck in one area this past spring. And others are longer-term partners – personal trainers and friends at the gym, people in healthy lifestyle groups I’m in, and my massage therapist who always preaches at me to stretch.
An accountability partner also can be a friend with a similar goal, each of us accountable to the other as we walk a similar road.
The role of a support team
So what do each of these people do? They help me remember the goals I set, encourage me to keep working toward them, and pick me up and dust me off when I fall short.
Last fall, when trying to complete a 92-day challenge at the gym, I started to get annoyed that my upper-body strength was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do a single pull-up unassisted, and I hardly could hang there for more than a few seconds. My grip wasn’t strong, and neither were my shoulders or arms.
But my own vision of my optimal health is strong and powerful. I want to age well and, now and in the future, be able to do all the activities that I enjoy, with sound body and mind.
So I told the personal trainers that in the new year, I wanted to work on doing a single pull up, unassisted. One. Uno. Un.
On my own, I would’ve given up.
And many times I thought, “Be careful what you wish for.” Because the training – and the soreness the day after – can be tough. But I can tell I’m getting stronger, day by day.
Others have been there for me as well recently. Friends cheered me through preparation for and completion of a half marathon. A health coach recently worked with me to develop strategies for getting more sleep. A friend encourages me to work toward certain personal and professional goals. My Women’s Bible Study supports my spiritual growth.
Who can be an accountability partner for you?
Let’s take a look at the 7 self-care areas on the Wheel of Health. What are your short-term and/or long-term goals in any of these areas? (Take a moment to write them down if you haven’t already.) Who can support you as you work toward your goals in one or more of these areas?
- Exercise, movement, rest
- Personal and professional development
- Mind-body connection
- Relationships and communication
- Physical environment
Often, a team approach works best. And you may already have some people on your team. Who might you need or want to add to it?
Amy Hoogervorst is a national board-certified health and wellness coach, offering grace and space for a healthier you. She helps you fit healthier habits into your life, for more energy, focus, and fun. You can schedule a free discovery call here to learn more about how health coaching might benefit you.
This article is Step 13 in the “31 Steps to a Healthier You” series, part of #Write31Days 2017. You can read other posts in the series here.