No, I don't thinks so! Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not much into walking down memory lane. While it's ok to reflect on what has happened to us in the past, we really shouldn't spend too much time dwelling on it. Reaching 100 posts is cool, but it is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I want to put out there. Besides, if people really want to know what I’ve done so far, it's all here on this blog; just go back into the archives and help yourself.
So instead of writing about my past, I want to focus on my future. My future seems so much brighter than ever because I have finally learned what it means to hold myself accountable. Accountable... you see that word a lot here in the blogosphere. People start weight loss blogs and they say they do it to help stay accountable. So what is accountability and more importantly why do we need it? Before I write about what accountability is to me, let me first write about what accountability isn’t:
Accountability is NOT…
Punishing Yourself – If you think accountability is all about punishment, you are wrong. I truly believe a lot of people confuse accountability with punishment all the time. They think “I failed so now I need to be punished in order to stay accountable”. While it is true that punishment can be a result of accountability, it is not a defining attribute. You can be accountable for your actions without ever punishing yourself.
Perfection – Accountability doesn’t mean doing everything with perfection all the time. Nobody is perfect and no matter what you set out to do, you will NEVER do it perfectly. Everything you do should be done with the utmost integrity, but that’s not accountability, that’s character.
Going Public – If you think that by posting your weight here on the internet is accountability, you’d be wrong again. Though making your journey public can assist you with being accountable, it’s not a guarantee. I made this mistake early in my journey; I thought that by broadcasting my weight on the internet, it would somehow “force” me to stay on my plan. The problem was. It was too easy to just turn off the computer.
Confession/Admittance – Admitting things (to yourself) is part of the process of holding yourself accountable, but it’s not accountability. You can admit your failures ‘til the cows come home and it doesn’t mean you are holding yourself accountable. You see a lot of this in blogs; people are willing to confess all their failures. While this isn’t a bad thing, it’s not accountability when you continue to make the same confessions week after week.
So What is Accountability?
Holding yourself accountable means acceptance; acceptance of the fact that you and you alone are 100% responsible for what happens to you; both good and bad. It means saying what you are going to do, and then doing what you say. It means keeping all those agreements you make to yourself.
When you don’t do what you say or you don’t keep those agreements to yourself, then accountability means being responsible for understanding why and making the changes necessary to prevent the same failure from happening again. Keep in mind that the search for understanding should be focused on you and not on external sources of failure. Making changes from those discoveries, doesn’t necessarily mean punishment either. You may instead choose preventative measures for the next time.
Conversely, when you do what you say and you keep those agreements, then accountability means recognizing your success and taking credit for it. Remember you are 100% responsible. So often we are quick to dismiss our success as luck or even give the credit away to others. Why?? There may have been people who may have helped you along the way, but YOU chose to accept that help. People may have told you things, but YOU chose to listen. Enjoy your success! Celebrate! Maybe you can even see if how you succeeded will work with some other problem. If you only think of accountability when you fail, then you are only doing half the job.
Accountability in Weight Loss
So if you are trying to lose weight and you want to hold yourself accountable, here are a couple of tips:
- Don’t tie accountability to the number on the scale – If you’ve done any reading amongst weight loss blogs, you see a lot of people discussing just how poor the scale is for measuring progress in a weight loss journey. Holding yourself accountable by measuring on a scale is a recipe for disaster.
- Make the agreements small – It’s fine to have a grand goal to achieve, but when it comes to accountability stick with small agreements, at least, at first. Like anything else in life, accountability is something learned.
- Prepare for failure – Failure is a part of life, accountability is how you deal with it. If you know it’s coming, you won’t be caught off guard.
- Seek Balance – Accountability is not just about failure. Seek to find a balance between recognizing your success and you failures. If you focus too much on failures you will become discouraged. If you focus too much on successes, then you miss opportunities for improvement.
Most of us don’t do a good job with accountability; we either hold ourselves to too high of standards or we go too light and let ourselves get away with things. To be honest if you're skewed a little one way or another it's not too bad. What's really bad is when your level of accountability is inconsistent from day to day. It's ironic, but in my experience, when you are inconsistent with accountability you will tend toward the opposite of what you should do; you’ll be tough when you should give yourself a break and you’ll give yourself a break when you should be tough. That lack of consistency really just becomes lack of accountability.
Nowhere to Hide
When we hold ourselves accountable we take away all the excuses. When we take away all the excuses we don’t waste time and energy coming up with those excuses. When we save time not coming up with excuses, we have time to actually figure out how to solve our problems. What do you think, do you hold yourself accountable?
Photo: Flickr / Justgrimes]