How to keep yourself accountable

This time of the year is still social season but you may start to be thinking ‘I really need to get things together as the Christmas weight gain hasn’t left yet’ or ‘need to start exercising again’. The best thing is... if you are already thinking that, you are in the ‘awareness’ or ‘contemplation zone’. This means that the idea is there and perhaps you just need the ‘where to begin, what skills do I need’ and how can I action these changes’. Getting going is one thing and emotional motivation is very powerful to start with (especially when your clothes don’t fit!), but how do you keep that going?

It’s all about reinforcement of those emotional reasons of why you started and why it was important in the first place. Emotions can create behaviour change- for example, emotional eating. Had a tough day, drink a beer or wine or get sad and we want chocolate. So switch this and use emotional motivation to keep those health goals rolling. You need to consistently be in touch with those emotions on a positive note. Furthermore, everyone likes rewards and we do need to reward ourselves when we have achieved. If you reward yourself you are more likely to do it again…and again and again until it becomes habit. For example, reward yourself for going a whole day without sugary treats or doing your exercise. This reward is as simple as an intrinsic compliment, congratulate yourself- like you would to a friend. The more you create a happy, rewarding and encouraging atmosphere around your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.

I always congratulate myself every time I go for a run, walk, gym etc and have been for 10 years and this makes me continue to do it. I don’t need to buy anything, just a simple ‘go me!’. Plus I always recap of why I need to do it- I could just lie in bed but then I encourage myself about how it will make me feel for the rest of the day with energy and positivity if I do do it.

When it comes to keeping yourself accountable, aim for a 90% success rate. No one needs to be absolutely perfect. Allow for the occasional treats or the exercise rest days. But you need to consciously make that decision, rather than it being a reaction.

For every action there is a reaction.

Best thing I do is look forward, I think about the reaction of my current actions.  How much inflammation will this cause if I put this in my mouth? Will this bloat me up? What will be energy levels be like if I don’t exercise? Do I need an alcoholic beverage in the first place or if you do treat yourself then think about if the second drink is necessary. Have a strategy before your events or at the start of the week on how you may tackle any challenges, this will help you mentally prepare for it.

Remember to help keep yourself accountable and on track with creating a happy atmosphere around it e.g. ‘Swap your mind set from deprivation ‘I’m not going to allow myself any sugar or carbs as I am on a diet now’ to ‘I am looking forward to trying different healthier options and new recipes that is going to make me feel better and give me new ideas of how to nourish my body.’

Ask yourself some questions....

1. What behaviours to you need to strive towards your goal?
2. What behaviours to you need to change?
3.How will you make those changes? What skills will you need to create action?
4.How will you reinforce positive behaviour change?

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