Accountability PartnerSo you’ve set a goal for yourself for the new year. That’s great! Goal-setting is the first step towards change and achievement. But 2014 has just begun. What are you going to do to stay motivated through the rest of the year and beyond?

Motivation is one of the biggest obstacles people face on the way to their goals. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to find a concrete way to hold yourself accountable. There has to be some consequence to you not taking the daily steps necessary to achieve your goal.

Let’s say your goal is fitness related—weight loss. I’m sure you know someone, either a friend, family member, or coworker, who shares a similar goal. Even if they want to lose a different amount of weight or are starting at a different fitness level, you share the same end goal. This is a great opportunity to assign this person as your accountability partner.

Accountability partners work together to achieve their goals, each one acting as the monitor for the other. You tell each other your end goals as well as what you are going to do to reach those goals. It’s perfect if you and your partner’s goals overlap here. If you both say you’ll work out daily, you might check in with each other to see if that happened, but it’s even better if you work out together! You’re a lot more likely to get out of bed to work out when your friend is sitting in your driveway than if you had to get up and go on your own.

Not only that, but by working out together, you can challenge each other to push further and work harder. When you feel like you can’t possibly do one more push up, your partner is there doing them next to you, telling you that you can. If you’re competitive, you and your partner can challenge each other to do more reps or exercise longer.

Maybe you need someone who lives in your house with you to hold you accountable by keeping the junk food in a separate cabinet or agreeing to eat healthy meals with you so you don’t feel deprived by eating something different than everyone else. This person shouldn’t be the food police, and the phrase, “Are you sure you want to eat that?” isn’t an effective or positive way to encourage healthy food choices. Rather, they should commend you for making a good choice or even make suggestions, like taking the serving size of something you want rather than the whole package.

You can even be in charge of your own accountability. You could hold yourself accountable by allowing yourself rewards or depriving yourself of something based on your progress. For example, if you worked out every day you said you were going to over the past week, you might reward yourself with a treat meal where you can eat whatever you want. If you skip any of your workouts, you don’t allow yourself that treat meal. This takes some self-discipline, but if your goal is important to you, you need to promise to be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable.

What goals do you have for the year? Do you have an accountability partner to help reach them? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sean Dwyer is the owner of Action Karate Plymouth.