Yesterday in one of my emotional eating coaching groups, as members explored what they needed to do to make effective changes with eating and weight, they each emphasized the power that their sense of accountability to the group has had.
Making a commitment to take action is a first step. Telling someone EXACTLY when you will do it and making an agreement to let them know that you’ve accomplished the goal can really cement your ability to follow through. It is amazing how effective such a simple step can be—and it’s a step we don’t implement often enough. For many of my clients it’s been an important key to developing a regular exercise plan, changing eating patterns, and losing weight. Yet it’s easy to fall into that stubborn trap of “trying to go it alone,” and keeping our most important goals and priorities to ourselves. Guess what? When we keep our commitments a secret, others can’t help us honor them and it becomes awfully easy to let them slide down our list of priorities.
As we talked about accountability, another theme unfolded. A few people in the group began by describing how they HADN’T met the goals they set for themselves the previous week. They hadn’t hit the mark. BUT, as they began to describe how their week had gone, they described the COMPONENTS of their goal that they HAD accomplished—and these were major things. One woman had made time for five workouts—and they were all longer than usual. She had also figured out how to silence her critical inner voice that was really getting in her way. Another group member made a major breakthrough identifying the emotions that lead her to overeat and feel out of control with food—because she had specifically set aside the time to use the tools she needed to do this.
By the end of the group everyone was feeling very successful. It was a powerful lesson. Accountability doesn’t necessarily lead to perfection. Accountability kept the goals in sight. Knowing that they were going to talk about their goals kept group members moving—even after they knew they weren’t going to get it “perfect.” Accountability doesn’t mean you HAVE to get it perfect. In fact, we rarely do. Sometimes accountability actually helps us fight the inner critic that tells us if we can’t do it absolutely right we might as well quit. Accountability is a marvelous tool for keeping us moving—and that’s the ticket. Staying on track and staying in action are far more important than getting it right all the time. Keep that in mind as you move forward.
This was a timely conversation for me because I’m currently working on lots of projects related to getting the eight week Your Holiday Health Club program up and running. It’s been a challenge to put something together that I believe can be effective at helping people stay on track with food and weight loss over the holidays (the holidays!) while at the same time keeping it easy to use, low stress, and time flexible. Nobody needs a calendar full of extra meetings and classes this time of year! The other thing nobody needs over the holidays is a perfectionistic inner critic leaning over their shoulder, listing all the ways they didn’t “get it right.” After yesterday’s group I’m even more motivated to help others stay in action this season by identifying what they CAN accomplish, what they HAVE accomplished, and what the next DO-ABLE step can be.
How do you keep your priorities and goals in view? Do you use accountability to stay in action? Could you?
Take good care,