It is a little after 7 am and I am sitting on the porch looking out into the bay, my run complete.

I freely admit that I desperately needed accountability. There is NO WAY that I would have gone for a run this morning if I hadn’t written yesterday’s post. To put a positive spin on it, I guess I know myself pretty well! I needed to have other people know my intention and hold me to it. I will admit that when I read the comments on yesterday’s post and knew for sure that people were actually going to check back in today my first thought was, “shit, now I have to do it”. There is the paradox. I wrote the post so that people would hold me accountable, but when I realized they really were going to hold me accountable I had a momentary regret for having done it. Let me reassure you it was only a momentary regret. Accountability is pivotal to success.

A number of barriers–let’s be honest excuses–presented themselves that would have been rather valid reasons for not running today. My husband had to leave at 7 am for work. The teens both stayed overnight with friends so I would not have anyone to watch the little ones. I had to run in the am as we have a full day planned and it is going to be hot! I stayed up quite late last night and then when I did get to sleep I was awoken several times in the night by text messages. Well because of the damn post I wrote yesterday, I had to get up at 6 am and get my 5km run in…and I did.

It certainly wasn’t a fast run, but it was a 5km run none-the-less. Thanks to Cathy and Dawn!

It is often hard to do things that are good for us and I think there is some underlying self-worth issue here. To choose to do some just-for-me-goodness can easily get derailed because I have to push all sorts of other things out-of-the-way and focus solely on something I want. Yet, if that same thing has the added element of doing it because somebody else wants it (or at least will kick your butt via blog comments if you don’t do it) it takes it out of the realm of me-centric want and makes it a committment to another person that needs to be fulfilled. I am not saying that this is logical, I am just saying that this seems to be the case a lot of the time. I also think that this is a particularly female thing; to do things for others or to put others ahead of one’s self. So the trick is to use a little self manipulation; to be accountable to another person for something that–while you want it–you wouldn’t do without that sense of doing it for another. I am sure there is some fancy psychological term for this that I haven’t learned yet. When I discover it I shall let you know! I am really interested if this resonates with anyone else or if I am just particularly warped in my sense of self.

What I do know is that once I got out the door and felt the warm breeze on my face and found my pace, the run felt awesome and I didn’t regret the sleep I was missing one bit.

My post-run stretch found me wondering why this was ever a difficult thing for me to do. I enjoy running and I love the way I feel after a run. It is getting up and out the door that can be the issue–the choosing to start.

Starting is really the hardest part of anything that we want to do because of the risk. If we never start we can never fail and sometimes that feels like the safer option. It may prevent discomfort for the short-term, but it will also keeps us from the wonderful feeling of success when we do something we have never done before and also from the lessons that we learn when we crash and burn and don’t succeed. Many times the things we learn in failure are far more valuable the goals we attain, yet we don’t have that chance for either if we never start in the first place. I find that a little shove is sometime necessary to start; just like a good push to start the toboggan down the hill. Having someone hold you accountable is that little shove in the right direction.

What areas do you need to be held accountable? Think of that project that you keep meaning to get started or that fitness or weight loss goal that you want to attain, write it down and then make it public in some way. There are many ways to hold yourself accountable: tell a friend, join a group, write a blog (Cathy over at Kiki Project uses her blog to keep herself accountable to her no diet coke goal). It makes a huge difference. I like this article on goal setting–particularly the tip about setting performance goals and not outcome goals. Keep the focus on things that are within your control and you will have more success!

What is your goal? Post it here and we can keep each other accountable!