One of Horizons Agency Values is Accountability. While accountability with regard to nutrition may call to mind a doctor’s lecture or a guilt trip, holding yourself accountable to any goal is vital to achieving it. Whether you want to lower your salt intake or climb Mount Everest, here are some important components of creating accountability for your goals.
Arguably the most important factor to success is your mindset. If you bring to each challenge a positive attitude and a willingness to try new things or adapt to circumstances, you are much better equipped to handle obstacles than someone who sees only impossibility. A Harvard study of 70,000 subjects determined that women with an optimistic outlook were 30% less likely to fall victim to cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, heart disease, or infection. Mindset matters! Determine your “why”; the reason you are willing to make sacrifices and persist in the face of resistance. Focus on that why when the going gets tough.
Making a Plan
Do your research, write down your goal, and create benchmarks along the way so that you can track your progress. What tools will help you to achieve your goal? What challenges can you anticipate and make a contingency plan for? What is your timeline? When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Creating a Support System
Let people know about your goal and your plan. When you have other people watching, you are more likely to take the steps every day that will take you to your ideal destination. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If a friend brings donuts to share when you visit every Wednesday, and your goal is to lower your sugar intake, don’t be afraid to suggest going for a walk or munching on some carrots and peanut butter instead. Think about the people you surround yourself with. Are they supportive toward your efforts, or are they negative about the outlook? Is there someone you know who is on the same journey, or has already achieved what you are hoping to do? Find a way to spend some time with them. Much can be learned by association, and positivity is contagious.
Managing Slip Ups
There are times when we all fall short. Anticipating the slip up, forgiving yourself, and getting back on track are important to progress. One cheat meal will not sink you, just like one healthy meal will not set you up for lifelong health. Your outcome is the cumulative result of what you do most of the time. So – spend most of your time consistently doing the work to achieve your goal!
Check in with your plan of action and determine if you are on schedule, ahead of schedule, or behind. Let other people know about your progress as well, particularly those who are rooting for your success. Positive feedback will help you to stay on track.
Always consult your doctor, physician or healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise or nutrition program.