As I have mentioned in previous posts, it is so important to set yourself up for success by finding a time and a modality to help you reach your goals. Now that you have established your what and your when, how are you going to stick with it and turn it into a habit?
A habit is an activity or behavior that occurs without awareness or intention; something that is second nature or instinctive (think brushing your teeth). In Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin talks about the freedom that comes with establishing good habits because it frees us from decision making, which often involves temptation and resisting gratification. Both of which are super hard for even the most dedicated among us.
“Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.” Better than Before, pg 5
Creating a habit does not happen overnight (for most of us). It takes time and energy to establish a habit and it takes accountability, either internal or external, to help us stick with it. The only workouts that count are the ones you actually do.
I am a big fan of accountability partners. Gretchen Rubin calls them “commitment devices” because they “bolster our habits by locking us into a decision.” This may be in the form of a workout buddy, private instruction, fitness membership, or a piece of technology like a fitness watch. This is a personal decision and can absolutely change as your needs change.
Three things really work well for me:
- Regularly scheduled time with another human: I need to know someone is depending on me to show up. This makes keeping and creating a habit so much more manageable. I have a running buddy who I have committed to meet at a certain time and place. If I don’t, I let her down and frankly myself because I missed an opportunity for a social workout (which are very much in short supply these days).
- I also regularly schedule Pilates sessions and pay for them in advance (yes even instructors have instructors). If I don’t show up, not only will I be losing money, but I will also be wasting my instructor’s time.
- Lastly, I use a nonhuman form of accountability. I love my Apple Watch (it even reminds me to stand up regularly and gently encourages me to get my workouts done) because I love to see all those ring close. However, you could do something as simple as scheduling your workouts in your calendar and setting a reminder.
Accountability partners simplify the process. Once you have made a commitment to meet someone to workout, paid for a session, or committed to closing those Apple Watch rings, the decision to work out isn’t hard because it has already been made for you. Every time you implement one of these strategies you are one step closer to creating a habit and you are one step closer to reaching your goals.
If you are looking for an accountability partner in the form of a Pilates Instructor let me know, and we can talk about your options. Maybe regular in-person or virtual sessions are the right fit or you might do better with the convenience of virtual accountability in the form of a membership and virtual community.