Let me know if this sounds familiar.
You decide that you want to get in shape, and work on losing some of that stubborn body fat that you’ve been unhappy with for a long time.
Or maybe you’re looking to start building some more muscle mass, or develop your strength.
Whatever your fitness goals might be, you need a plan – so you go ahead and search online for workouts to build muscle, diets to lose fat, or whatever it may be.
Once you’ve found something that looks good, you get started right away, eager to see results.
At first, you’re riding on pure will – determined to reach your goals, and blow through any obstacles that are in your path.
Sure, the workouts might hurt, and the diet might feel tough or tedious, but you push through and feel great for doing so.
At least for awhile…
Then, at some point, real life rears its inconvenient head. It might be something that comes up at work, or at home with your family. Or maybe the taxing effort of what you’re doing catches up to you, and it all starts feeling a lot harder to maintain, as your willpower reserves become depleted.
Whatever it is, it causes you to miss a workout, or cheat on your diet. You tell yourself that you’ll get back on track the next day, but that suddenly feels a lot harder to do – and before you know it, 3 weeks of have gone by, and you haven’t been to the gym or gotten back to your diet plan.
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You feel disheartened, like you’re back at square one again, and decide to table this whole fitness thing for another time.
This is a cycle that many people find themselves stuck in: attacking their fitness goals with an iron sense of resolve, for a short period of time, before abandoning them when life gets in the way.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, the issue here is often not the intial will to get in shape, but rather the ability to stick with it long enough to truly see great results.
And this all comes down to making fitness a habit – where it starts to feel almost effortless to maintain, as you steadily move towards your goals.
In this article, I’ll be going over one approach that can help you do just that, showing you how improving your fitness accountability can allow you to build up those necessary habits to stay the course.
The Truth About Fitness Habits
Let me be clear – your habits are truly the single biggest factor that will determine whether you’re successful with your fitness goals.
It might sound boring, or even kind of obvious, but in my experience as a trainer this is what it fundamentally comes down to.
Not the perfect workout plan, or some kind of magical diet, but rather figuring out how to create the right sustainable habits for yourself.
Unfortunately, the thing about habits is that they take time to develop. No matter how much you might want to, you can’t build habits over night – or even within the space of a week.
There are a lot of theories on how long it takes to properly ingrain a new habit, but at the bare minimum you’re realistically looking at at least 3 weeks, and likely quite a bit longer than that.
However, the good news is that the longer you keep up with the habit, the easier it is to maintain, and the more firmly ingrained it becomes – making the whole process self-perpetuating after a certain point.
What’s more, once you’ve established good fitness habits, they won’t be easy to break. If you get sidetracked from your workouts or diet, you’ll be able to pick back up with everything much more easily, and it won’t require nearly as much willpower to do so.
How To Create Sustainable Fitness Habits For Yourself
OK, so now that we’ve gone over how crucial habits are to your success, the next question is how do you go about creating them?
Another way to ask this is how do you get through that period where working out and maintaining your diet requires a ton of willpower, to the other side where you’re coasting on the habits that you’ve developed?
Well, there are of course many ways to go about this, but it all comes down to staying consistent for long enough to bridge that gap – moving from willpower to fully formed habits.
And what I’ve found from working with many people over the years, is that a sense of accountability can make all the difference.
Unfortunately, the truth is that it can be very difficult to stay accountable to just yourself!
This is why many people have success joining fitness classes, working out with a friend, or hiring a personal trainer – someone to hold them accountable to showing up each day, even when they don’t want to, until those habits have been properly formed.
But the options I mentioned aren’t going to work for everyone…
Maybe group fitness classes just aren’t your thing, you don’t have a friend who wants to work out with you, and you don’t want to spend the money on hiring an expensive personal trainer.
So, if that sounds like you, online personal training might be a great option to consider, as a way to significantly improve your level of fitness accountability.
Obviously this might sound a little self-serving, since I run an online personal training company, but I can honestly say that from the feedback we’ve gotten from 100s of our successful clients, accountability is the factor that many of them appreciate most about our training program.
For many of them, having someone there to monitor how things are going with their workouts and diet each week, while checking in with them regularly to make sure everything is on track, can make all the difference between sticking to things for longer than a few weeks – and in turn, actually seeing tangible results from their efforts.
Even though your trainer isn’t there with you in person, you end up forming a close relationship with them. They genuinely care about you making progress, and you care about not letting them down.
And this can make all the difference between getting to the gym on a dreary Wednesday afternoon – when you’re tired from work and don’t really feel like going – instead of deciding to skip it in favor of watching Netflix on the couch.
With this sense of accountability, you’ll find that over time it becomes gradually easier to stick to your workout plan; in fact, you’ll very likely find that as the habits take hold it’s something that you begin to forward to, and feels like a normal part of your routine.
And this is what ultimately produces success in the long-term: habits that you develop and can stick to for many years – supported by a strong sense of accountability to someone else as you’re building them.
The Bottom Line On Fitness Accountability
To sum it up, no one can run on pure willpower for very long – and if your fitness plan is built around that, then you’re destined to fail.
It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
Willpower is a finite resource – quickly depleted when other stresses come up in your life.
Habits, on the other hand, are incredibly resilient, and require comparatively little effort to maintain once you’ve built them.
And one of the key things that can move you from the willpower stage (when you first start out) to the habit stage (when you’ve been at it for awhile) is a sense of accountability to someone else.
Don’t take this as a hard sell, but rather as an invitation, if it sounds like you could benefit from a greater sense of fitness accountability in the pursuit of reaching your goals.
You’ll never know unless you try – so if you’re at all interested in working with one of our expert online fitness coaches directly, please feel free to sign up for a 14 day free trial on our website.
What approach do you take to improving your fitness accountability? Let me know in the comments below!