You Need Accountability, Not Support.

Did I ever tell you the one about a husband and wife who decided to get fit together? It didn’t work.

Here’s why. These two have made it through years together by knowing which buttons not to press, knowing the other’s moods, and supporting each other. The problem was, they used this support system so well they sabotaged each other. They eventually helped each other rationalize eating ice cream for breakfast because I told them not to eat dessert after dinner. Then they began to let each other slide as workout after workout went out the window. And, as Kurt Vonnegut says, “So it goes.”

Accountability is the number one reason to hire a trainer. It’s the reason you should walk into the Folklore Cafe (assuming it’s open that day for some reason) and announce your weight loss goal to the house. You’ve got to build a relationship (or relationships) that’s primarily about this one thing.

Accountability is integrity, and none of us has all that much of it. Oh sure, you don’t steal candy off the counter at the convenience store, and you’re not going to sell drugs, but if the consequences seem bearable, you’ll let a little cheating go unnoticed. Accountability is our fail-safe for lacking discipline.

I tend to quote Patton more than Martha Stewart because he says stuff like this: “There is only one kind of discipline, perfect discipline.” What this means is that it’s not OK to go at something you care about in a half-assed manner. Want to run a marathon? Do the damn training. Want to lose ten pounds? Don’t treat yourself to food you know will make you fat. The fact of the matter is, EVERYONE has the will to say no to bad habits for a little while, but it’s when you’re tired, hungry, and stressed that you drop the ball. That’s when you get help.

You need to find a person or persons to keep you accountable. Build a team of people who’ll bust you if you stray. Want to run a marathon? Get with some runners who are really into it. Hire a coach. Start a blog that you share with the world. Remember the “Alpo Diet?”

Try to “Friend” a bunch of people on Facebook that would like nothing better than to see you fail. Then go about disappointing them.

Your close friends are no good at the accountability job, see? They might play tough love sometimes, but in the end, they’ll do what you want them to do. Take Oprah for example. Famous for her fat loss and gain, her numbers fluctuate more than the NASDAQ. She does OK for a while, then falls off the wagon, and America says, “That’s OK, it’s hard for you. You deserve to stop taking care of yourself.” You can’t afford this kind of person on you accountability team.

Make your goals explicit. Make them reasonable. Share them with someone who will hold you to them. And then go.

By the way, you can pick up the December issue of our newsletter , if you’d like.