CHAPTER 3 - BLACKMAIL YOURSELF WITH ACCOUNTABILITY.
Accountability is what keeps me writing. I adhere to my writing because I presume that people will read and follow up with me. This positive pressure that I comply to puts my integrity in check. The blackmailing comes as a self-regulating feedback mechanism I weaponize in my own head. I make it so that if I were to not write, and write without thoughtfulness and care, I’d force myself to feel as if I’ve let people down. I deploy a sense of shame, disrespect, and disloyalty. I regulate myself by making deals and deadlines. If not delivered in a timely and high quality manner, I punish myself with physical training or limit my rewards. It sounds like harsh psychological warfare, but I find accountability with consequences extremely effective.
My recent surge of blog writing is my way of recounting the Equinox High Performance Living Symposium, and holding myself to revising what I’ve learned. Accountability can be powered by a sense of responsibility. I share because I care about my reputation and the legacy I aim to create. I feel a sense of responsibility to pay it forward. Without the duty of reporting to you, my accountable audience, I’m not confident in saying that I’d still be writing as enthusiastically. As a torch bearer in my industry, I feel responsible for reporting on the valuable information gained at the Symposium, and it would be on my shoulders if the information was not relayed.
Accountability works best in environments where you have control over what you do and how you do it. Group fitness classes are so effective because you have full control over your output. You get out what you put in. And you have the social accountability of the class and the instructor’s guidance. This is also why blog writing to me has been a recent source of positive self-growth. I have full autonomy over it and I have an audience. This blog is my sanctuary of wild expression where I am the king of the castle. But what happens to compliance and adherence when you have less control over the environmental factors? Where you may not be the king of the castle?
Let’s take diet for example. Why are we more susceptible to bending and breaking with our diet? Is it due to the natural bearing on social engagements? If so, I’d suggest that you control what you can, and when you must ‘cheat’, enjoy it to the max and don’t feel guilty about it, just get back on the healthy bandwagon as quickly as possible and don’t look back... easier said than done right??? Well, wasting time ruminating on dietary choices is like standing still in quicksand, no decision is the worst decision, you’ll be submerged in no time! Rumination is putting one’s attention on the symptoms of distress and its causes and consequences without offering solutions. Here are some strategies that use accountability to regulate a high performance lifestyle:
Hold yourself accountable to daily thematic diet challenges like ‘Monday vegan day’, ‘Tuesday clean day’, ‘Wednesday no eating out day’, ‘Thursday green day’, ‘Friday water day’, ‘Saturday fun day’, ‘Sunday fast day’. This streamlines focus, it limits rumination, and decreases the paralysis by abundance of choice.
Metcalfe’s Law states that the more users in a system, the more valuable the network. So if you come from a family household, include all members on your daily thematic diet challenges. If you are a leader in your office, include all members on your monthly workout challenge. If you have a tight knit group of friends, include all members on your Lent challenge. Inclusivity is vital. The more the merrier.
Schedule in ‘fun days’ where you explore new restaurants and mind opening cultural experiences with a foodie group … and make that foodie group your fitness crew!
Make an investment out of your “cheat days” so that it becomes something to look forward to and something to learn from. We work well with incentives and here’s an opportunity to be mindful and strategic about it. So if you’re going to cheat, don’t go to McDonald’s, go to Bar Isabel, or Planta, or Union, or Richmond Station, or Byblos. Make it count.
Lunch pals: pair up with a coworker and make lunch for your peer one day of the week. It is much more difficult to feed someone junk and unhealthy food. It puts you in the parental place of responsibility for someone else’s wellness. Some positive pressure is always good in friendly doses.
Weekly or monthly challenges: NOBNOM stands for No Booze No Masturbating for 30 days (random I know! But it’s actually becoming viral in the world of lifestyle design!) Another option for those who don’t have a problem with Masturbation is NOBNOC which stands for No Booze No Complaining. Start the challenge by making it public. Put it out on your social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, nominate friends to do it with you. I can’t guarantee they’ll join or talk to you ever again, but it’s worth a try!
IN A NUTSHELL #3 - Blackmail yourself with accountability. When it comes to your goals, blog about them, post about them on social media, email friends and family about them, make promises to peers in order to stay focused and committed to them. “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results”. Put whatever it is you want to accomplish out into the world, because when held in the head, it doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Put your integrity on the line. Hold yourself responsible. Make yourself a missionary. Carry the health, wellbeing, and future of your industry on your shoulders. Create challenges because without challenges, there is no change.