Hold Yourself Accountable and Change Your Life

Key Items

  • Hold yourself accountable to improve performance, outcomes, and perseverance.

  • Use milestones and set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals for success.

  • Hold yourself accountable with easy tips and tricks, including an exercise calendar, activity tracker, progress pics, and more.

  • Commit to an easy, everyday exercise challenge to help crush fitness milestones.

The same workout plan over and over is tedious. You lose motivation when your progress isn't as quick as you want. It's easy to become discouraged when you're unsure how to exercise. Learn to hold yourself accountable to become stronger, braver, and happier.

Losing motivation is a vicious cycle. You lack energy or focus, so you skip the workout. Then, you feel bad about yourself, and you're not motivated to exercise anymore. Hold yourself accountable to break free from the thoughts holding you back from greatness.


Holding yourself accountable is a great way to stay motivated and move toward your fitness goals. Self-discipline can be hard, but committing to a fitness plan and sticking to it has many benefits:

  • Improved performance

  • Increased self-confidence and self-image

  • Higher morale and satisfaction

  • Enhanced mental strength

  • Strengthened commitment

  • Boosted creativity

Holding yourself accountable means setting goals and following through. It's not finding excuses for yourself or convincing yourself you don't have to exercise. Being responsible for yourself completely changes the way you exercise.

Girl in gym

Take the Blame

There's a misconception that you must be busy 24/7 to be worthy, valuable, or successful. People feel stressed and pressured to do their best at all times. Sometimes, this pressure is too much to handle, and exercising gets shifted to the back burner.

It's okay to admit you've slacked off. It's okay that you skipped a day or two or stretched out your cheat day. However, don't make excuses for yourself. Don't tell yourself it's okay to skip because you've had a bad day or a big test tomorrow.

Be honest with yourself, or nothing is going to change. Take responsibility for your mistakes and actions and use that as motivation to try harder next time and reach your goals.

Setting Goals

Accountability is tough when you don't have goals. Setting clear goals with attainable milestones keeps you focused on your progress. It might seem simple to set a goal, but some serious thought goes into the process.


Break a significant goal down into smaller goals or milestones. Passing small milestones motivates you to keep moving toward the big goal. You celebrate along the way, gain confidence, and discover how far you've progressed.

If you have a goal of swimming 10 miles non-stop, break it down into smaller milestones. Set a goal for two miles. Then four miles. Then six miles. You get the picture. Going straight for 10 miles isn't safe or realistic, and you want to set yourself up for success.

Large goals are exciting. They push your abilities to the highest potential. However, getting lost on your way to completing that triathlon is easy. Break your goal into milestones so that success is more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.


First, a good goal is specific. Setting a primary goal of being able to run gives you something to work toward. A strong goal would be to run one mile. Specific goals are clear and thoughtful, with well-defined objectives. Dr. Chris Drew, with Helpful Professor, adds that "being specific about your goals makes you three times more likely to complete those goals." 

Doing shoulder exercise


Second, a strong goal is measurable. Measurable goals allow you to see your progress. Having a measurable goal shows you how much closer you are to reaching that goal. A measurable goal is deciding to run 20 miles in the next two months.

When dealing with measurable goals, be mindful of your progress. It's easy to lose sight of your accomplishments when looking at responsibilities and requirements. Focus on the milestones you achieved, and look forward to the next ones.


Third, a worthy goal is attainable. An attainable goal is vital because unrealistic goals likely won't be achieved. Failing to reach your goals is discouraging. Having an attainable goal challenges your skills but is still achievable. You're more likely to work toward a target if you predict success for yourself.


Fourth, an intelligent goal is realistic. A realistic plan includes what you want and what's achievable for you. It involves your mindset, time, schedule, skills, resources, motivation, and knowledge.

Be realistic when setting a goal. If you know you won't wake up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym, wait to schedule your workout until the afternoon. Don't endure the pain of skipping your routine because your dreams outweigh your abilities and resources.


Last, a goal should be time-bound. Having an open due date leaves lots of room for procrastination. Setting time limits on your goals increases the urgency to achieve them. Having a defined finish line motivates you to keep going.

Allocate enough time to achieve your goal. Trying to rush through and reach the finish line is detrimental to your performance and outcomes. A timely goal is deciding to exercise three times a week. You must allocate time throughout the week to ensure you're meeting milestones.

Woman wearing workout clothes

How Do You Hold Yourself Accountable?

Once you have your goals, it's time to get to work. The beginning is always the easiest. You're full of inspiration, excitement, and new-found motivation. You're looking toward the future and visualizing your new life — until reality hits.

You're too busy. You don't have the energy. You lose motivation. It's hard to keep going, especially if you don't see the quick results you want. Staying accountable to yourself means following through with the inspiration, excitement, and motivation that provoked a new beginning. Stay accountable to reach your goals.

Put Exercise on the Calendar

Having exercise in your schedule means you're more likely to stay consistent. You work harder to make it part of your routine. Schedule workout time during the day when you have the resources and energy to work out.

It's unrealistic to pencil a 30-minute jog into your 30-minute lunch break. If you know you're too tired at 7:00 p.m., leave the space to work out at 5:00 p.m. Visualize your success in the morning so that you look forward to exercising later.

Use Live Classes and Support

Lots of apps offer opportunities to take workout classes virtually. Taking classes in real time is exciting, engaging, and motivating. In some classes, members send virtual high-fives to each other, and the instructor gives shout-outs to specific attendees.

Girl stretching in workout clothes

Invite family and friends to join you on a bike ride or gym session. Join a Facebook group with a community of powerlifters. Support, no matter where it comes from, encourages you to persevere. It gives you strength when you feel weak, and it truly improves your outcomes.

Engage in Long-Term Workout Programs

Practicing for a 20k run takes months. You participate in a training program that gradually increases your cardiovascular endurance, so you last all 12.4 miles. Practice takes place across 12-16 weeks.

Sticking to a program keeps you focused and improves self-confidence. You see where you started, where you're at, and where you're going. It also gives you something to work toward.

Reward Yourself When You Reach Milestones

Celebrate the small things. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is get out of bed. If you dread working out, promise yourself something nice when it's over. Grab your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt, or watch an extra episode on Netflix before bed. You might even schedule an early workout and grab some coffee after.

Get an Activity Tracker

Even if you struggle to keep yourself accountable, count on your technology to remind you to keep going. FitBits and Apple Watches send reminders of your goals, habits, water intake, calories burned, and steps counted. You are also able to see your progress, as well as your friends' progress.

Many activity trackers have online communities where you meet others, challenge friends, and set goals with family. You all connect through the app and work to win badges and competitions. Challenge your sister-in-law to reach 10,000 steps daily, and give yourself a reason to brag at the next family dinner.

Find an Accountability Partner

An accountability partner may be harder to find than you think. Often, this is because an accountability partner is a partnership. Both people have to work together and want the same goals. They must motivate each other, and sometimes the motivation is only one-way. Other times, the partner may drop out before you.

Woman weightlifting in a gym

Find a partner that pushes you without overdoing it. Having more than one partner is best, so have a backup in case one is busy. An accountability partner should be:

  • Communicative

  • Helpful

  • Supportive

  • Inspirational

  • Encouraging

  • Determined

Think of someone now whom you might call. A parent? Sibling? It may even be a coworker. It just has to be someone you contact regularly.

Take Progress Pictures and Measurements

Some people lose more inches than they do pounds. While the scale might say you only lost five pounds, you also lost two inches on your waistline. You won't know unless you measure before and after.

Pictures are also great for reminding you of how well you're doing. They act as proof of your accomplishments. You are your own worst critic. These progress pictures quiet the self-critical, mean inner voice that's so hard to escape.

Keep a special album on your phone so that you don't have to search for them every time. Keeping the pictures separate also keeps them private. No one has to see the photos but you! Take consistent pictures, such as every Tuesday, so you have a more organized transition. For a big self-esteem boost, wear the same outfit in each pic.

Hold Yourself Accountable With This Everyday Exercise Challenge

Psych Central mentions that research shows it takes an average of 2-3 months to form a habit. A habit begins with mental strength, self-discipline, and accountability.

Committing to an exercise routine every day sounds harsh, but the challenge makes it all the more rewarding. Some days are exciting, and others are dreadful. Staying consistent is critical to being successful.


Commit to exercising your arms for 10 minutes every day. Complete push-ups, dumbbell curls, tricep dips, boxing, or forearm flexes. Switch between exercises, reps, and sets. Set a goal to complete at least three sets of 10 reps.


Focus on working your legs for 10 minutes a day. Go for a walk, squat, run, or bike your way to toned legs. Exercising the legs every day improves circulation, back pain, and poor posture.


Challenge yourself to complete at least three core exercises for 10 minutes. Core workouts include planks, jumping jacks, and crunches. The core is essential to the body because it supports the spine and every movement.


The mind is one of the essential parts of the daily exercise challenge. Meditation, mindfulness, and visualization of success increase mental strength. Mindfulness techniques improve self-discipline and keep you coming back. They provide the mental strength to complete this workout challenge. Aim for at least 10 minutes of mindfulness each day.

Forty minutes might sound like a lot in the beginning, but toward the end, you are going to wonder if it's enough. Over time, the exercises get more manageable, the meditation is effective, and your energy and sleep are better than ever.

Girl at workout machine

You Are Accountable

Being accountable makes you stronger. You create a dependence on yourself that keeps you working, even when you feel drained. You must look within and find the strength when your workout partner fails to text back, your Fitbit is dead, and you do not see the results you want.

Hold yourself accountable to accomplish your goals. Stay consistent, constant, and persevere. Losing motivation is easy; fighting through is challenging but rewarding. Visualize what your life is going to be like when you succeed. What does success look like for you?

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