Self-help involves a certain amount of self-discipline. The things we need to do to optimise our well-being rarely fall into the category of things that would form a natural part of our day. Pacing, establishing a good sleep routine, avoiding food intolerances, taking supplements, meditation and relaxation, are all things that may not have even occurred to us before illness. And even when we were healthy how many of us were able to see through a particular diet or stick to our fitness/exercise resolutions until we got the desired results?
Having to fight a chronic illness can be a great motivator if you truly believe that what you need to do is going to make a difference to your health and well-being, but even then it’s really easy to just let things slip. One way we manage to do that, is by not really noticing when we’re not doing what we want to be doing. On the first day we let things slip we might tell ourselves one day doesn’t really matter, and then we don’t realise that, that one day has turned into most of the week and suddenly it’s an effort to get started again!
I’m a really firm believer that if you really want to achieve something, it helps to find some way of holding yourself accountable. That might be recording your efforts, setting yourself rewards, holding back pleasurable activities until you’ve earned them, finding somebody to do things with, or having somebody to report to. If you tell somebody you’re going to do something and arrange a time to report back to them how you’re doing you are far less likely to just let things slip.
Holding my clients accountable is part of my role as a coach. Although I might help my clients set realistic expectations and help them explore ways of overcoming the obstacles that they encounter on their way to their goals. I know that I don’t even have to be a physical presence to be helpful. My clients are more likely to remind themselves to do the things that they’ve promised themselves, just because they’ve told me about it!
For me, I like to record my objectives and set myself rewards (or hold back those rewards until I achieve my objectives). I need to do some daily physio exercises for a frozen shoulder at the moment. Left to my own devices I get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t done the once, but if I tick off every time I do them and tell myself I won’t allow myself that new (second hand) book I’ve promised myself unless I do them at least twice a day for at least 5 days of the week, it’s remarkable how much more effective I am!
How do you hold yourself accountable?
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