Ever wonder why Weight Watchers and AA are so successful? A big key to their popularity and success is Accountability. We’ve all been there. New Years rolls around. We aren’t happy with our health (or finances, mindset, etc.) so we make a resolution. The statistics vary, but success rates range from about 9%-25%, and there is a strong correlation between length of goal and chances of obtaining it. In other words, set a goal for a week, you have good chances of achieving it. If you have a goal that takes more time and commitment such as getting in shape or improving your overall health, your chances of wandering off the path are high.
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right” -Henry Ford
Mindset plays a huge part in success. And if you’ve abandoned a few recent goals, you might start viewing yourself as someone who can’t follow through. If you are done with being a goal abandoner and ready to become a goal crusher, it's time to bring in a powerful tool: Accountability. Repeated studies show the more accountable you make yourself for your actions, the higher your chances are for success.
Here is a summary of your probability of achieving any goal:
5 ways to become a goal crusher:
1. WRITE IT DOWN
Research on goal setting shows that the simple act of writing down a goal can be the first step towards success. Putting pen to paper forces you to clarify your goal, and “makes it more real.” Writing or speaking your goal aloud also forces you to take a broad general idea, narrow it down, and make it specific.
Experts recommend you write your goals in definite terms. Instead of writing “My desire is to…” try writing “I am going to.” Another trick is to speak in present terms. Instead of "I am going to," try writing, “I am doing…” Psychologically, our brains cannot discern between reality and thoughts. So if you start writing down your intentions and speaking about them as if they are happening in the present, your brain thinks you have already achieved your goal, and that is a big boost in the right direction.
2. QUANTIFY IT
Up your chances of success by writing specifics on how you will make this goal a reality. Be clear and concise on what the actual goal is and always put a date by which you will complete it. Good goals are measurable. For example, how do you know if you’ve achieved a goal of “get in shape in 2023”? Setting something more specific such as “Run a 5k in March 17th‘s Leaping Leprechaun Race” gives you a measurable goal to work towards.
3. BREAK IT DOWN
Have a big goal that seems unobtainable in your current situation? That’s one of the top reasons for not achieving your goal according to Harvard Business Review. One tip is to take your big goal and due date and work backwards to create small, actionable goals that will get you to your desired outcome. Using the 5k example above, your actionable plan could look something like this:
Hint: Save this page for later if you want to run a 5k!
4. TELL SOMEONE YOU KNOW
Start spreading the idea around like wildfire. The more people you tell your goal to, (again, speak in definite terms: What, how much, and when), the more accountable you are holding yourself. Some people take to social media to declare their goals and commit to 1 week checks-ins to let the world know how they are progressing (or not).
5. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Peer-to-Peer: Lifting partners are more likely to keep their commitments to get to the gym consistently. Think about it. Which one is more difficult to stomach? Telling yourself you're just not up for working out today so you hit the snooze or texting your friend you're not up for working out today when you know they are already pulling themselves out of bed and getting ready despite their own excuses?
Beyond fitness, committing to be an accountability partner via phone calls, meet-ups, and/or texts with friends in endeavors such as building a business or starting a new venture can maximize both of your chances for success.
Accountability groups: This format can also be helpful in finding success. Back to Weight Watchers and AA. Some people prefer to have weekly check-ins in the form of in-person meetings, Zoom calls, or touching base on social media platforms where you can talk about your wins and struggles. It is helpful to have others going through the same situation to provide perspective and motivation.
1-on-1 Expert Support: The highest form of accountability is finding someone to partner with who is already considered an expert in the field. Think coaches and mentors.
In the fitness realm, personal trainers usually talk the talk (being physically fit, having developed habits that promote a healthy lifestyle). Beyond personal experience, they usually hold a certification-level of training in the field. And in my opinion, above all, they come to you with a contagious and energetic passion to improve your health.
Physical therapists are highly ranked accountability partners in the fitness and wellness field. They share the affinity for healthy living that personal trainers have. They also have years of higher education learning how to go beyond basic strength training to problem-solve and help you reach your goals.
When searching for a physical therapist that will work well with your specific set of issues and goals, be picky. Physical therapists all come with their own approaches, experiences, and specialties within the field. Most hold you accountable for “homework” between sessions to keep you on track, and some do even more hand-holding with follow-up emails and other forms of open communication. They record, measure, and track results for real time feedback and accountability.
Integrative and holistic physical therapists are also knowledgeable about sleep, lifestyle, relationships, and nutrition to help you adapt healthy habits all around. Utilizing a physical therapist’s countless hours of training will surely expedite your strength or healing journey to yield lasting results. In fact, your odds of success when partnering with an expert is about 95%!