4 Tips to Keep Yourself Accountable to Working Out

by Amanda Timmins

sickTo keep the body in good health is a duty… Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
– Buddha

I was always that sick girl who blamed her health for limiting her. As a kid, I was hospitalized with meningitis, which is an inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord. Fortunately, I had it virally (not bacterially), otherwise it would have been significantly more lethal. The unforeseen consequences of having meningitis have, and will continue to last my entire lifetime.

But there are things I can do to change the outcome. Because of my illness as a child, I grew up with next to no immune system. I got sick all the time and missed out on a lot of opportunities. I harbored intense resentment for myself for a very long time and never believed I was capable of overcoming my health issues. I let my biology define who I was.

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.
– Lao Tzu

Since becoming involved with Kingpin Social, I have realized a lot of things: One of which was that you control your life – your life doesn’t control you. I had set up these limitations for my physical being out of fear of failure – I was scared I wouldn’t be able to be like everybody else. What I didn’t realize is the beauty of being human lies within our individuality. Understanding that I set my own boundaries and limitations was hard for me to grasp… at first.

Now that I have overcome my fear of fear (that sounds strange but I was literally a fearoholic), I know that it’s not acceptable to blame my health. Chances are, even if I hadn’t been sick, I would simply have found something else to blame. But blame-placement gets you nowhere.

Recently, I decided to push myself and start trying new things. I started with hot yoga. I went to a 75-minute session with my best friend and my Mom. I’ve legitimately never felt better! I went to hot yoga a few more times before I decided it wasn’t enough. So I bought a bicycle. I made sure that my new bike was beautiful – that I loved it in every way – so I would be more inclined to ride it. On top of that, I put it in my room so I would have to look at it every single day. Now I wake up motivated for my morning ride. But not even that was enough. I’d been telling myself for years that I wanted to learn self-defense: it’s a whole body workout with practical applications, so I joined a kickboxing class.

Holy. Shit. I cannot even begin to explain the intensity of a simple, 30-minute workout of beating the hell out of bags. And the stress relief! Wow. That’s about all that covers it. I’ve never been very good at sticking to my workout schedules though.

So how can I make myself more accountable to working out?

    workout partner
  • Set goals. Set out your purpose for working out and make sure the workout you’re doing is applicable to your end goal. Dancers workout differently than football players, who workout differently than bikini models. It just makes sense to know why before you jump in with both feet. Next, start to set little goals for you to achieve. Whether it’s just getting up and going, or bench pressing 100-pounds, it’s important to set goals that are achievable for you. And leave room for failure: The only way you know you’re growing is by determining the difference between failing points.
  • Take a partner. If you’re concerned that you can’t stay accountable to yourself, take someone with you. This provides you two things: someone to ride your ass about not going, as well as company while you’re working out. It’s also a lot harder to explain your excuses to other people and have them justify it but it’s super easy to justify it when you only have to explain it to yourself. Best of both worlds.
  • Put it in your calendar. If you’re one of those people that loves their calendar because it reminds them of everything they have to do – put your workout routine in there too. Even if you don’t like calendars, it’s still a really good idea. Having your calendar remind you every day that you’ve set aside a particular time to work out is supremely helpful. Not only that, but it also helps keep you accountable – if you block out that time for your workout practice, you will be less likely to schedule something else. It also makes you look at it every time you have to put something in your calendar – which for me is increasingly more frequent.
  • Do it for yourself. The most important thing about working out is that you’re doing it for yourself. Depending on someone else for your motivation will not consistently get you off the couch, no matter who they are. Self-improvement of any sort only works, for lengthy periods, when it’s for your own, personal reasons.
  • So it’s time to get out there! Try new routines and activities that get your heart pumping. Get back into that routine you gave up and have “been meaning to start” again. If I have learned anything through my experience, it’s that a healthy mind can fuel a healthy body just as well as a healthy body influences a healthy mind. Life is all about perspective: are you letting your life control you or are you controlling your life?

    Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.
    – Jim Rohn

    About Amanda Timmins
    Amanda's favorite phrase is Hakuna Matata , as she believes there is nothing in life that cannot be overcome or attained with a little hard work. People are their own worst enemy and life is best lived with a smile. Dancing, rock climbing and primates are her primary loves alongside reading and photography.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karim Saleh August 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Hey Amanda!

Great article 🙂 I love how you took control of your life and focused on things that you could control. I’m not suggesting my illnesses were as serious as yours, but I have recognized that -since letting things go- I get sick much less. I can’t even remember the last time I was really sick; but, I used to get sick a lot. I’m proud of you for making it through your tough experiences even though they still aren’t necessarily over. I think most people wouldn’t have blamed you for rolling over and playing dead and struggling your entire life against yourself…but you rose up and took control. Paradoxically, taking control is usually similar to relinquishing some sort of control..while not being naive 🙂 A tall order indeed! 😉 I guess that’s why they call it personal mastery… 😛

One thing I’ve noticed is that it is important to not only have an image for what you want but also something that will carry you long term. E.g. I want to be healthy now so I can be able to run after my grand-kids when I’m older…or something along those lines. The only reason I say this is because I have had goals that were image based in the past and the incentive is not necessarily there when you reach those goals and it can cause a relapse 😛 (good thing I don’t believe in those anymore…it’s all experience + gaining knowledge). The challenge I have found is setting new goals before you reach the ones you previously made…and having something that is like a motto for your life in terms of caring for your body that can never expire…

Keep keepin’ it real! Keep hittin’ the bike! 🙂 Thx for writing this!

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