If you’re a coach or trainer, you’re often asked the question: What is the most important thing I need to do to achieve (insert goal here)? Most people who have some sort of fitness goal, like losing weight, fitting into an old pair of pants, lifting heavier weight, or running faster, want to know the most efficient and effective way to get there. At worst, they want the “magic pill” — if I just take this one supplement or do this one exercise, I’ll get what I want. At best, they are looking for the magic program that has the minimal impact on their current lifestyle.

It’s never that simple.Image

Real transformation takes hard work, commitment, sacrifice, guidance, patience and goal setting. If you’re a very specific type of person, one with incredible internal drive, will-power, and perseverance, you MAY be able to do this on your own. Most people would not fall into that category though — they need some help.

When people have asked me this question before, I’ve had different answers. I think nutrition is really important. I think frequency and consistency of effort is really important. I think a good plan is important. But the one thing that ties all of this together is ACCOUNTABILITY.

Build accountability into your fitness approach! People often start an exercise program internally motivated to make big changes. The problem isn’t getting started, it’s sticking with it for long enough to reap the reward. Regardless of the program, most people don’t make it to the finish line. Life gets in the way, and the obstacles will be endless.

The problem isn’t getting started, it’s sticking with it for long enough to reap the reward.

Here are 4 ways you can add more accountability to your fitness goals and stay on course:

  1. Hire a Coach: Good ones know your goals and push you in each workout to move closer to them. They are great at designing individual programs, setting goals, and making sure you are showing up. We’ve all had that coach that we don’t want to disappoint and this helps us stay motivated for the long run. On a side note: really good coaches are not cheap. You should look at your health as an investment that will pay dividends down the road with reduced medical costs and an improved quality of life.
  2. Set a Date: Open-ended goals get pushed off to the side when life gets in the way – set a hard end date and stick to it. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong, learn from it, and set new goals. Reward yourself if you achieve your goal by the deadline.
  3. Join a Group: Finding a social network can be very powerful when you’re struggling to stay on track. Working out in a group can inspire you to do more than you could on your own. Find a club, a group exercise program, or just a workout partner that is achieving what you can only dream of at this point. People say that you are an average of the 5 people that you hang out with the most. So you should be spending more time with people that inspire you! Tell them your goals and ask them to help you with accountability.
  4. Use Technology: There are tons of new apps and wearables that tell you when you’re being lazy or missing too many workouts. Use them to hold yourself accountable to maintaining good habits. Use your phone to schedule reminders of when you should exercise. Use the internet to find simple, at-home workouts that can be done with minimal equipment when you’re traveling. Keep recipes in an Evernote folder that you can access when you’re out of meal ideas. You could go on for days about all the ways technology can help us stay on track!

Only a very small percentage of people have the ability to do this on their own. There is nothing to be ashamed of by saying that you need help. It’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked and lose motivation. Make these accountability strategies a critical part of your plan!

See how Athlete of the Year candidate Amy Surasky achieved her fitness goals through Iron Tribe Fitness: