Accountability is a pain in the ass, but at the end of the day, you are the person most responsible for your accountability. There is no other person in this world that can make you do anything. Even if a person had a gun to your head or dangled your child over a cliff, you still have to make the choice. That is why accountability is so hard.
At any time, you can choose to say no or say yes to the things you need. You can choose to do what you need to do to be successful or choose not to do those things. Sure, you may have to suffer the consequences, but you still have the choice and can choose to do the opposite of what will help you succeed. That is why regrets exist.
In our time training people, which for Nathan is about 10 years (he has the longest training experience), people have literally told us they said: “fuck it.” That was their reason for not doing the things they needed to do to be successful. The fact that these people admitted that is both exasperating and refreshing at the same time. Let us explain.
The “fuck it” statement is exasperating because these persons decided their goals were not as important as doing something else. Some of these people will then complain about lack of success or go into a “woes me” mind state. We see the success these people can have if they try, but the instances of “fuck it” get in the way.
On the other hand, the statement is refreshing because at least they were honest. Many people make excuses. Excuses are something we’ve talked about many times. Here is a quote that we used in several newsletters and blogs:
“But it wasn’t my fault” “I had not control over the situation” “It couldn’t be prevented” “I can’t” “I don’t have the time”
We’ve all made and heard excuses like these before. Sometimes they’re legitimate reasons, other times they’re not. When someone else makes one of these statements and you know they’re making excuses, you likely roll your eyes, call bullshit, or otherwise dismiss their attempts to deflect responsibility. But do you do the same things when you’re making bullshit excuses? Maybe it’s time you do.
Sometimes things in life are beyond control. Personal and professional problems arise and this is a part of life. But at times you know you make bullshit excuses. You know you have the time, you know you can control the situation, etc. If you always say a situation is outside of your control, you can never take responsibility and change the situation. Only when you own your responsibility can you enable change in your life. If you’re making bullshit excuses, STOP! Take control of the situation. You’ll feel better when you do and life improves as a result.
When people don’t make excuses, we respect the honesty. That said, it does not change the fact that these people are not doing what they need to do to be successful.
You are in control
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your successes or failures. People can help you or hold you back, but you can make the choices to work through any situation to find the success you seek. This applies to work, school, relationships, and, of course, health and fitness. At the beginning of the year, we published three goal focused newsletters and blogs titled:
Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 1—Goal setting
Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 2—Prioritizing
Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 3—Consistency
Here are some ways to reach your goals that are also ways to help hold yourself accountable. This content comes from those three newsletters.
From the newsletter: Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 1—Goal setting
Set a goal
2018 is here and it is time to set a goal. If you are reading this, you have a goal for health and fitness. You’re not here for our colorful personalities. Think about what that goal is. Ask yourself right now “what do I want to achieve physically in 2018?” You might come up with one goal or multiple goals. That is fine.
If you have trouble visualizing your goals, speak them out loud. Take some time to really think about what you want to achieve, looking at problem areas, such as health, fitness, or physiques, to determine what you want to work. Articulate these things aloud to yourself.
You might consider enlisting a friend or loved one. Now, we understand this might seem silly or even embarrassing, but it can help. You want to pick someone supportive but honest. You don’t want someone who won’t support you setting goals, who will say it is stupid to do so or try to hold you back, but you also don’t want someone who is a yes man and won’t provide you quality feedback. When we set our goals, we talk to each other about them.
Write it down
Write that goal down. If you have multiple goals, write them all down. If you have multiple goals, put them in order of importance. Next to each goal, place a number noting it as more or less important. For example, if you have three goals, a number one should go next to the most important one, a number to next to the second most important one, and a number three next to the least important one. Now rewrite the list in order from most important to least important.
Keep it in sight
Place that list of goals in a place where you will see them. You might keep it in your purse or wallet. You might put it on the fridge or bulletin board. You might keep it as a digital sticky note or on your digital reminder. It doesn’t matter where you keep it if you can see it on a regular basis.
It’s really that simple
Setting a goal really is that simple. Think about what you want, write it down, and keep it in plain sight.
From the newsletter: Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 2—Prioritizing
Motivation is the problem
In most instances, barring some aggravating circumstance, if a person is not successful at something it is due to a lack of motivation. You must be motivated and prioritize your goals as well as the plan to reach the same. You might ask “how do I do this?” That depends on your situation.
No two people face the same life circumstances. Even if similarities occur between situations, significant differences are always present. You must look at your particular situation to determine how to fit it in. For example, imagine that you can achieve your best results working out five days per week, but your schedule only allows for three days—then you can only workout three days. It would be ideal to workout for five, but your training frequency is partially dictated by your schedule.
At the same time, imagine your schedule permits working out five days per week, but your body can only recover from three days per week. In this case, you should only workout for three days per week until your body can handle more, and then increase frequency, if other situational factors such as schedule permit.
Here are a few ideas. Some of these come from previous newsletters.
Look at your goal list. Make sure it is well developed, meaning it lists all your primary goals, lists them in order of importance, and provides enough detail about each goal.
Think about when you can fit things in. For example, can you fit workouts in during the morning, afternoon, or evening; do you have 30 minutes to make meals each day, can you meal prep for the week on Sunday, does it make sense to do all your grocery shopping on one day or spread it through the week, etc.
If needed, talk to a doctor-while we would love to tell you to jump head first into a new nutrition and exercise program, you may need to visit a doctor. If you are obese, have underlying health conditions, or some other aggravating factor, it is a good idea to have a doctor check you out, determine if any issues are present, and have the doctor provide recommendations or restrictions. This will help you, a trainer, or a nutritionist select the best course of action.
Talk to a fitness professional and/or access online resources-even if you do not have the money for a trainer, nutritionist, or another fitness professional, talk to one. An individual session is not very expensive and many professionals, us included, will provide you with a free consult. The goal here is to talk to the fitness professional about your goals, what the doctor said, and any other issues you face, while also providing you an opportunity to ask questions and get real answers.
Develop a plan-whether on your own or with the ongoing support of a doctor and/or fitness professional, create a plan for exercise and nutrition, with the goal of losing weight and improving health. Be sure to put thought into it and create a plan that focuses on now and the future. Create a detailed plan at least three months in advance, with an outline for 12 months. The specifics will vary and should be based on your situation. No cookie-cutter plans.
Implement the plan-put in the work. Adjust as needed over time. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give up.
At the same time, remember the process takes time and there is no such thing as magic, both of which ideas we presented in various newsletters over the past couple of years. Some of the content below comes from those newsletters.
There’s no such thing as magic
There are no magic programs, no quick fixes (such as the 21-day Fix), or easy workarounds. You have to follow the ideas included above. Even if there was a magic program, if you don’t follow it, it won’t work. You must have a plan, follow that plan, put in the work, and give the process time.
The journey takes time
The journey takes time and indeed is an ongoing process. Depending on how robust your goals are, the length of the initial journey—that is, the time it takes you to reach your initial goal—may vary. If you want to lose or gain 20 pounds the process should be shorter than if you need to lose 100.
Be prepared to put time into the process both to reach your initial goal and then to either maintain your success or move toward another goal. We encourage everyone to initially dedicate 6-12 months to reaching any goal. This timeline applies whether you work with us, another professional, or go the process alone. This has nothing to do with paying for a trainer, but rather with knowing what it takes to reach goals.
Your goals require effort
Nothing worth doing is easy and your health and fitness goals are no exceptions. Whether gaining or losing 20 pounds or 100, or seeking improvements in fitness, effort will be required on the path to success.
Remember that you get out what you put in. This might seem cliched or commonsensical, but people often don’t put in the necessary effort. In the context of this newsletter, we use effort as a way to talk about the amount of energy you put into working out and nutrition. The body is an adaptive machine, but in order for to elicit change, you must give the body proper stimuli.
For example, if you can run but always walk during cardio, the time it takes you to reach your cardio goal will be longer than if you had put in more effort. Conversely, if you want to lose weight, but are not willing to watch what you eat, then you will likely never reach your weight loss goals.
Success demands commitment
Time and effort, or perhaps we should say effort over time, take commitment. You must be dedicated to the process over time, putting in the required effort. If you show effort for only a short time, then your commitment wanes or you give up, you will either have a hard time reaching your goals or never reach your goals.
Your commitment—that is, your motivation and dedication to doing the things you need to do to progress—will make or break your success. If you want to reach your goals, you’ll be dedicated. If you don’t, you won’t.
Now, we understand that with time, focus can wane as can motivation, and setbacks can happen. It is at these times that digging deep and finding motivation becomes even more important.
Setbacks happen so deal with them the best you can
Everyone experiences setbacks in life, whether at work, in relationships, in their health and fitness pursuits, or in some other area. Setbacks are just that, setbacks, they’re are not the end of the road. If you have a setback, you must deal with it appropriately. Take control of the situation as best you can, find a way to resolve an outstanding issue, and move forward.
The way you deal with a setback varies based on the type of setback. There is no universal way to deal with all setbacks; you have to look at the situation to determine the best way to move forward. That said, there is always a way to move forward.
The most important thing to remember is that only you can make it happen. Other people can only help. We try to help all our clients when they experience setbacks, but they have to be willing to listen and act; otherwise, our advice is pointless.
Clearly, you cannot do everything yourself. Some setbacks require the help of other individuals and access to resources. However, you can find these individuals and resources. By doing so, you take control of the situation. This does not mean the process will be easy, but you can make it happen.
Visualize the End Goal
Each person’s motivation is different. Maybe you want to improve your health for your kids, so you keep a picture of them with you each time you work out. Maybe you want to prepare for a marathon, so you have the flyer with the race date pinned next to your bed, so you see it each time you wake up and go to bed. These are motivating factors, and the act of keeping the picture or flyer in view is a form of visualization.
One key way to be successful is to visualize your end goal. If your goal is to lose weight, visual what you will look like or how it will feel when you see the scale reach your goal number. If you want to build strength, imagine completing the lift or lifts you’re targeting and imagine what that will feel like.
Regardless of the goal, find a way to visualize it as a means to keep you motivated. You may only need your mind, but a visual aid may help. Find what works for you.
Keep your eyes on the prize. We can offer inspiration quotes, tip, tricks, and so-called hacks, but in the end, none of these things matter if you are not motivated. Find your motivation! Be the best that you want to be!
From the newsletter: Reaching your goals in 2018 Part 3—Consistency
Nothing worth doing is quick and easy. Achieving something significant takes effort repeated over time. That is, you must put in the work and do so consistently. When considering anything in life, this idea applies, and reaching health and fitness goals is no different.
The specifics of the goal(s) do not matter. You might want to add strength, lose weight, build muscles, improve performance, or all of these. Regardless, consistently repeated effort over time yields results. This is an area where many people struggle.
The struggle starts with motivation. A person—for example, you—might get fired up about a goal and genuinely be excited and ready to “get it done” in that moment in time. Then, some time passes, the excitement fades, and that person loses motivation. This isn’t even about life getting in the way, though we’ll talk about that in a moment, but rather just the person losing motivation.
People lose motivation for all sorts of reasons. They don’t want to work that hard, they get bored, they’d rather “do something fun,” or some other reason. For many people, these are good enough reasons to quit. To a point, we get it. The process can be hard, can be boring, is not always fun, and can have other drawbacks, such as time consumption. However, if the work is not done, a person will never reach his or her goal.
The adaptive process of the body
Again, consistency matters in all things. You’re never going to be financially secure if you make one good money decision and then give up. Apply this idea to anything, including fitness, weight loss, and other physical goals.
Eating clean for one day has no significant impact on weight loss. Completing one workout has no significant impact on strength. Running one time does not have a significant impact on cardiovascular ability.
Taking that idea a bit further, repeating something two, three, or four times has minimal effect, and if you give up there, no long-term effect. Conversely, doing something for two three, or four months can have a significant effect, but if you give up there, no long-term effect.
Results fade quickly. How quick depends on various factors. For example, a person who trains for 20 years then quits will generally see a slower loss of results that they person who training for two months. The more time a body has been programmed to be a certain way, the more it wants to stay that way. This is the adaptive processes of the body at work.
Think about it like a suntan. If you lay out in the sun one time for 10 minutes, you likely won’t see a change in skin color. If you lay out for an hour you might. If you spend a few hours in the sun, you will definitely see a change in the form of a tan or burn.
That said, if you only tan once, and never expose your skin to the sun again, the tan fades and then disappears completely. That is why so many people lose their tan over the winter months. The onset and fade of a suntan is the adaptive process of the body at work. This adaptive process is not isolated to one system, but rather it encompasses the entire body.
Give the body a “stress” to adapt to, such as the rays of the sun or imposed physical stress, and the body will adapt. You have to recover well, of course, such as rubbing lotion on your body to maintain the tan or eating food to recover from physical activity, but the body will adapt. The reverse is true as well. The body will regress, or have a “reverse adaptation,” to the absence of the stressor. If the body is not regularly exposed to the stressor, then it will not maintain the adaptation. You will lose your “gains.”
Adaptation and consistency
Exposure to stress—in this case, the stressors of exercise or training—cause the body to adapt. For more adaptation to occur, the body must regularly be exposed to the stress. This applies if you want to maintain your abilities or enhance your ability. If you work up to a 200-pound deadlift, then decide to only lift 100 pounds for the next year, you’ll lose the ability to deadlift 200 pounds. If you work up to a 200-pound deadlift and want to reach 300 pounds, continuing to lift 200 pounds will not get you there. You must add weight.
The overall point here is consistency breeds results. Of course, a good plan and work effort have to be in place, but these are nothing without consistency. Putting in a hard workout once a month will do nothing for your body, except make it hurt during and after that workout. Eating right once a week will not improve your health and fitness or allow you to add mass or lose fat.
Only through repetition will you be able to achieve and maintain the goal(s) you seek.
In 2017, at the ages of 31 (Grace) and 37 (Nathan), we reached the fittest point in our lives. This was not due to a workout here or there or eating right once in a while; it was due to consistent effort. And remember, we still eat junk food, may have a drink, or engage in other unhealthy habits, but we do so a limited amount of time. We enjoy food, relaxation, and life—we do not live in the gym or the kitchen—but we still work hard to keep ourselves fit, lean, and healthy.
Have a plan, be ready to put in the work, and be consistent, or be ready to fail.
If you want to learn more about our services, visit the homepage for our site here: https://demetzonlinepersonaltraining.com/. We offer a variety of services for training and nutrition. Just visit the page, read the write-up, and visit the links to the service pages to learn more and sign-up.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science. Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.