I recently read two studies on accountability and success rates of people who stick to a plan in becoming healthier. The first study states that a person is 3x more successful if they exercise or diet with a partner suggesting accountability to the partner. The second study recently published states a person is more successful sticking to a plan if they do it alone citing that the positive reaction that people receive when they talk about their plan will make them feel they already accomplished something and they may be a long way from their goal---giving them a false sense of accomplishment. This study suggests that the accountability should be to the individual. These are two studies with very different outcomes. I think they are as different as each one of us.
In my search for the definition of accountability, I find the word “answerable” over and over again. Answerable is giving or offering an answer for our actions. If accountability and success go hand and hand then who should we be accountable to? In deciding this you must first determine why you want to become healthier. Some of my clients share stories like “I am going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in May, I want to be healthy to walk and travel the land”, “I have a destination wedding and I want to look my best”, “the doctor told me I need to lose some weight” and “just because it is my time to do something for myself” as reasons why they want to get in shape. I think everyone should take the time to make an affirmation concerning why you want to become healthier. Keep in somewhere close and refer to it often.
There are so many options available to help you stay on track and remain accountable. There are “apps” for your telephone or computer (some are free) that will help you keep track of your daily, weekly and monthly food intake and exercises. There are also support groups that are available for you to attend or if you prefer anonymity there are support groups on-line. Personal trainers are also a very good option. They are considered to be a part of the health care continuum. These professionals can help you identify goals, develop a plan to help you achieve your goals and motivate you along the way. Personal trainers are also available in person or on-line. Friends and family definitely play a role in your commitment; they can be your biggest supporters.
There is no “one” plan that is perfect for everyone. You have to decide which option or combination of options is best for you and your needs. Some people are very successful sharing their experiences with others and being accountable to others, while others are equally successful keeping it a secret and being accountable to themselves. Others use combinations of options to help them succeed with their goals. Explore the different options available to determine what is right for you. I think the most important thing to realize is that you are equipped with everything that is needed to be successful in becoming healthier!