On December 31st I posted to Facebook that I had just finished my 242nd and final workout of the year. A couple of weeks later I was talking to someone who saw the post, and they asked if I always keep track of them.
If I didn’t, they wouldn’t happen.
It’s ironic that people who work in the business world are successful in no small part to the fact they use an accountability system to get things done. They manage their time and energy by prioritizing, planning, executing and tracking. What gets measured gets done. It’s a proven way of operating that works time and time again.
Yet when it comes to our personal lives – especially regarding behavior change – we often leave things up to chance or hope. We might not plan workouts, thinking that when we’ve magically got some spare time, we’ll do it. We may not give a thought to what we’ll have for lunch at work or whether we’ve got the right snacks available. Maybe we sit on the couch and watch TV in the evening until we fall asleep instead of committing to a regular time to be in bed each night to ensure we get the necessary recovery for our busy, high-stress lives.
For years and years I have planned and logged every workout. My commitment to myself (and ultimately to those around me as it makes me a better person) is to workout five times each week, regardless of my travel schedule. I personally define a workout as something done to a fairly high level of discomfort. Each and every Sunday morning I look at my upcoming week and find the two days that will be most difficult to get workouts in, and these automatically become my two days off. Then it’s up to me to figure out and plan how I’ll workout on the five remaining days.
Our lives move along at a fast and furious pace and one day blends into the next. There is a tremendous amount of demand on our time and energy. If something is important to you, treat it exactly like a critical work task: Make it a top priority. Schedule it in your calendar. Hold yourself accountable. Measure your progress. And don’t forget to reward your success!
*If you do the math, I didn’t get five workouts in each week this past year – there were some sick days and when I was on vacation in India and Sri Lanka I didn’t workout (even though fat cells never take a vacation).