Everybody needs a kick in the butt sometimes. Or at least I did. I was coasting along, constantly promising that I would start exercising tomorrow, next week, after school starts, after Thanksgiving. And then along came Kennedy. My kick in the butt. Because my 13-year old daughter Kennedy was like a fierce little pit bull that locked onto the idea of her mom getting healthy. She locked on, and she wouldn’t let ME let it go.
First, she began asking me what my exercise plans were for that day. Then, she began asking me if had actually followed through with my plans. When the answers were usually “not today,” she began to get a bit more aggressive. “Let’s go for a walk,” became a common request, to which I usually said something like, “not right now.” Because I had stubbornly decided to dig my heels in and refuse to exercise. Because I didn’t want to be pushed. But even a stubborn donkey can respond to a swift kick in the butt occasionally. And eventually, so did I.
A few days before her birthday, Kennedy brought the dogs to me. They were already on their leashes, and her birthday request was that I walk the dogs with her. How could I say no to that? So we took the dogs for a short walk that turned into a 3-mile event. And I was reminded of all the things I loved about being active and being outside. The sun. The wind. The sounds. I talked a bit more about this special day here.
And that was it. The switch was flipped. I came home from that walk and began to make plans. But for the first month, I still needed that kick in the butt–that pit bull–to hold me accountable and make sure I was following through with my plans.
Everyone needs a little accountability
Choose the right accountability partner
I believe that we all need an accountability partner, at least in the beginning, until a new lifestyle becomes a habit. Make sure it’s someone you’re going to show a little restraint with. This is me trying to delicately suggest that your spouse might not be the best accountability partner. At least, my husband did not make a good accountability partner for me.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t good at following up/nagging me to exercise. It means that my response to said nagging was not (ahem!) very positive.
My daughter, who is a cross-country runner, eventually became my unofficial “running coach.” We trained for a half-marathon together, and in March of this year, we completed the Dallas Rock n Roll half marathon. Together. Read more about that here.
It’s a partnership–but YOU have to be the strongest partner
A health and fitness journey is YOUR health and fitness journey. Not your accountability partner’s. Not your husband’s. Not your wife’s. It is not your best friend’s journey. It is YOURS. And you have to do this for you. You cannot rely on your accountability partner to give you the motivation to continue. That has to come from something inside of you–an inner strength that you must cultivate.
But…sometimes you still need a kick in the butt
The reason you need an accountability partner is that, no matter how strong or motivated you feel, we all have bad days. And an accountability partner can gently remind you of your goals. Your partner needs to be persistent. A good accountability partner will tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear.
Show some restraint
So find an accountability partner that works for you. And don’t bite their head off when they are just doing their job. Be thankful that you have people in your life that care about you enough to be a stubborn little pit bull, and to give you a swift kick in the butt, when you need it the most.