02 Aug 2014

Your Health, Your Choice: How To Hold Yourself Accountable

Accountability seems to be one of the hardest things for humans to comprehend.

Most us don’t understand or care for that matter, who we should be accountable to, what is our accountable responsibility and why we should be accountable. And at the same time we’re quick to notice when others fall short of our expectations. Here’s the thing though, and no apologies if this hurts your sensitivities, but nobody owes you anything!

What does this have to do with fitness & wellness? Everything!

Yes, as your fitness trainer I hold you accountable to your workouts, but that’s only part of it. Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. Which is why I call myself a Wellness Coach. If my client shows up to work out with me and they are mentally a mess, I have to take that into account, whether it means taking up 15 minutes to let them talk through it and let them cry or switching up the workout so we do a calming yoga session or intense boxing session to help them re-focus their energies.

In these discussions I ask them to focus on their responsibilities. On a deeper level, what is and what isn’t their responsibility. This is where I tie in accountability, because at the end of the day, you are only accountable for your responsibilities. Once you can focus on what those are, then that makes everything else a little bit easier.

Now that we have the connection let’s see how it works. For most people January 1st is a new start. We make new year’s resolutions, which are great, when there is actual intention behind it, versus blind ritual. You know it’s a blind ritual when your resolution is the same every year because you’ve made no progress and give up as soon as it gets hard.

I am currently on a flight to Barbados to celebrate Crop Over AND to celebrate my Birthday! I choose to make my “new year, better me” resolutions on my birthday. It’s a 'new year' that is personal to and for me. A chance to make new promises to myself.

This trip has been in the works for 2 years. Many obstacles have come up, I had some medical issues; I quit my career of 10 years to start my own business and had to downsize my lifestyle. I was sick for 3 weeks where I couldn’t work (which means I had no money coming in) and I strained my hamstring 2 weeks prior to my trip. But I’m here. I made a commitment to myself and I vowed to keep it. Even though I had to hustle to afford it, I did what I had to.

As you’ll see, the main person you need to be accountable to is yourself! It may sound selfish on the surface, but let’s take a deeper look. When you respect and love yourself, others tend to see and feel that, and show you more respect. With that respect comes accountability to you. They respect your time, your friendship and your abilities and treat you how you teach them to treat you.

This isn’t automatic. Not everyone learns quickly and unfortunately some never learn, but through this, you learn who deserves your respect and in turn whom you should be accountable to.

Just like any business does, I have an annual review. Yes this includes my finances, but more importantly I review my life. I review my resolutions for the previous year and I break it down into; what have I accomplished; what am I still working on and what do I need to re-evaluate?

What have you accomplished?
Reviewing everything you accomplished requires celebration. Even if it was something simple that no one else but you will care about, celebrate it. It’s important to celebrate all your wins, so you know how it feels to win. That will keep you striving towards bigger wins.

Devon’s celebrations for August 2013- August 2014
I Celebrate that I have grown my business
I Celebrate that I have hit my monthly financial goal for the last 3 consecutive months
I Celebrate that I put myself “out there” emotionally even though I had my heart broken.
I Celebrate I sculpted my body to be the strongest I’ve ever been.
I Celebrate checking multiple items off my bucket list, especially Crop Over.

What are you still working on?
So you didn’t get everything done. Did you make the effort? Life sometimes gets in the way. Give yourself an extension. Here lies an opportunity to manage your priorities. Which leads to the next section…

Devon is still working on…
… Hitting my chin-ups goal.
… Writing more; I would love to publish a novel.
… Becoming a “better Devon”, this is on going.
… Letting myself be emotional, letting myself feel.
… Allowing myself to be loved.

What do you need to re-evaluate?
In vowing to be “better” every year I have learned that priorities will change and that’s ok. As we grow, we learn. Sometimes it takes failure to grow, letting the dead leaves fall from our trees so they can grow fresh and new again. Those leaves can represent relationships, ideas, and goals.

Devon re-evaluated…
… The friendships and the value they bring to my world.
… My purpose in this world, and started my work towards those new goals.
… Stopped making lists and started making demands of myself.
… Learned to ask for help and advice.
… How and by whom I am influenced.

Those were my resolutions. What are yours? What would make you a better person?

I grew with the value of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is how I live my life. I have faced disappointment because not everyone lives by those same values. I keep seeing people posting “Do you!” and “No new friends” to cut themselves off emotionally so we stop feeling and stop considering others. But we all have to live in this mixed up world together, and “doing you” affects others even when you’re not trying to, and “no new friends” limits your growth.

The same people leading the “do you” campaign are perpetuating the same bad behaviour that they are running from. My grandmother always used to say, “Monkey see, Monkey do!” Its time to stop monkeying around and take responsibility for your place in this world. How much sense does it make, to see someone doing something that you don’t like, and choosing to mirror his or her behaviour to protect yourself emotionally? Hold yourself to a higher standard. Hold on to your values because at the end of the day they are the only thing you can actually own.

We are all important! It is your choice to understand and manage what is important to you and follow through. Be accountable for yourself, for your own mental and emotional wellness.

In Health & Wellness

Devon Jones

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