Every day, when I check Facebook, there’s an ad on the side of the screen promising, “one crazy trick” to six-pack abs, packing on muscle, or dropping fat, and that “I won’t believe it!” You might see these ads, too, and hopefully you’re are just as skeptical I am. But I started thinking about it and there is a crazy trick to reaching any and every health and fitness goal. It’s simple. It’s easy. It works. And it’s free. Everyone who is successful relies on it, but no one talks about it in magazines, because the industry doesn’t want to you to know how great this secret is…
It’s having an accountabilibuddy!
You know and I know that change happens in dedicated communities. AA, the Marine Corps, book clubs, and gym buddies are all examples of people who come to together in order to support and keep each other accountable to a new, higher standard. It’s FREE and it works. In fact, it works in our community, too: MyFitnessPal members who share their food diary with friends in the app lose twice as much weight as users who don’t share.
I stopped training people one-on-one a year ago in order to create small, dedicated communities that keep each other accountable and share the daily fight that comes with changing when change is hard—and my success a coach has sky-rocketed! I want you to find people to share that fight with you! Here are my tips for finding an accountabilibuddy.
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1. Find the Arena You are not the only one struggling to put yourself out there and make hard choices. There are others out there just like you. People in the MyFitnessPal forums, your friends who are all sick of the endless yo-yo dieting, you can find the communities with the people “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds,” to quote Teddy Roosevelt.
2. Let go of perfect Because it doesn’t exist. I’m going to get this out of the way now—you’re not going to be perfect. You’re going to struggle. “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena… we squander our precious time. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience,” says Brené Brown.
3. Be open Being accountable and being ready to change means being open. It means being open to eating new foods, trying new activities, and trying really hard to do something amazing in full public view. But that is the only way change happens. So be open to new friends. New ways of thinking. New ways of looking at yourself, your body, and your choices. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing,” says Helen Keller.
4. Prepare for adventure Risky, courageous, bold, and new, the journey you will take with your Accountabilibuddies will not be comfortable, but it will be well walked. Millions of people every year choose to change their health and lifestyle choices, and there are 65 million of them here on MyFitnessPal. “We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us… and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world,” says Joseph Campbell.
5. Offer to be someone else’s accountabilibuddy The scariest part of asking for help, for most people, is the fear of being vulnerable or appearing needy. So instead of asking for help, offer it. You don’t have to be a genius or a professional to be helpful. You just have to be a good person going through the same thing as someone else. “Docendo discitur [One learns by teaching],” says Seneca the Younger.
You’ve probably noticed that most of the suggestions I have made for finding your Accountabilibuddies are not external, but internal. That’s because I’ve noticed that most of the friction in finding people to help keep us accountable does not come from other people. Most people are more than happy to help, and we know where to find other people who share our struggles (hint: a lot of them have downloaded this app and will comment on this post… scroll down!). Much of what keeps us from finding the help we need, is that we simply never ask.
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