You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!
All right, y’all! So, in the past couple episodes, I talked a lot about my new routine, why I implemented it, and what I changed, and now, I want to talk about my plan for keeping it going, and (it’s almost the end of March) how I have stayed diligent and dedicated to this routine thus far. And so, I want to talk about accountability in this episode, and I want to talk specifically about external accountability.
A lot of us kind of shit on external accountability. We’re like, “Oh, I want to hold myself accountable. I want to be internally accountable,” and self-accountability is a whole thing. I did a whole Change Academy workshop. It is absolutely a thing that we need as humans. But there is nothing wrong with bringing external accountability into your life when you need that type of support. And so, I’m gonna talk today about three types of external accountability that I’m utilizing in order to stick with this routine.
So, number one: one source of external accountability that I am using is from my community. And by community, in this case, I don’t mean my Instagram community or my BBA community. I specifically mean from my team at work. So, one of the things that happens in behavior change that’s interesting is when we communicate boundaries and when we communicate expectations, we are more likely to stick with them.
So, I knew that one of the main obstacles to this new routine that I was creating would be that I would try to delay my workout in the morning. I would just try to say, “Oh, I’m gonna go later. Oh, I’m gonna go later. Oh, I’m gonna go later.” So, what I did was I sent a message out to my team, and I said, “Hey, team. I’m shifting my schedule. I am going to have office hours every single day from 12:00-1:00 PM. So, if you need me–,” we actually have a Monday meeting at noon every week now that’s a stand-up kind of check-in meeting for everybody, but if my team needs me, I have promised them that I will be online from noon to 1:00 PM every day except for Tuesdays in order to be there for them.
And so, for me, that functions as a sense of community accountability because I have to get my butt up, get to the gym, and get to WeWork in time to make that 12:00 PM meeting. So, that is type of accountability number one. If you are trying to change things up in your life, I would ask yourself: “What types of community or social support might I need to integrate, communicate with, or rely on in order to hold myself to this goal?”
Type number two is financial accountability. So, as you might know if you’re following me on Instagram, I had made it a goal this year to triple my savings, and that is absolutely still a goal. But I realized that in an effort to triple my savings account, I had essentially sucked the life out of my budget. I was so concerned with saving every single dollar that I had gotten rid of sources of support that were really valuable to me. So, when it came to this decision of do I get a WeWork membership (which is expensive) or not, my immediate thought was if I am paying for this deluxe WeWork membership, then I am absolutely going to be financially obligated to show up because if I’m paying that much for something, I sure as hell must be using it.
And so, I just wanted to touch on that because, first of all, I know that I have a lot more financial wiggle room than other people, so if you don’t have any financial wiggle room in your budget right now, then this conversation is not for you. But if you are not a person who’s living paycheck to paycheck, if you are a person who has a little bit of autonomy over where your money goes, I would encourage you to ask yourself how you can spend money in places that embody the person that you want to be.
The person who I want to be spends money to go to a gym. The person who I want to be spends money to have the support of a coach. The person I want to be spends money on herself. She goes and gets her nails done. She has moments where she is gonna get a coffee even though it’s expensive and she has coffee at home. That is the person I want to be, and so, my resources are a reflection of who I’m going to become. So, that is the next thing that I would encourage you to think about, which is why I ended up getting the WeWork membership.
Accountability type number three is emotional accountability, and this is sort of related to community, but this is when you know that your behavior, in some way, is going to make someone happy. We specifically want this to be an approach goal (like you want to make someone happy or make someone joyful), versus an avoidance goal (you want to avoid disappointing someone).
So, I have set up this system where when I get home from work, Zoom walks into the main room, and I absolutely lose my mind, and I’m like, “Zoom!” And I give him all these pets, and I play with toys. So, he’s so excited to see me, and then I immediately clip on his leash, and we go for a walk, and I did that for the first eight-ish days of this routine journey, and lo and behold, he got used to it. And so now, he runs to the door the second I’m home. He’s really excited, and unless it’s down-pouring outside, I am so motivated in that moment to clip on his leash and go for a walk because I know how happy it makes him.
So, those are the three types of accountability I would invite you to consider and I would invite you to get more of in your life: financial accountability, emotional accountability, and community accountability. If you’re looking for a place to have a little bit more community accountability and be around other people who are engaging in change, please make sure you check out Change Academy. This month, our workshop is all about how to create an effective workout routine, not in terms of the physiological stuff, but how to become a frequent exerciser. So, I hope to see you in there!
PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.bodybrainalliance.com/change-academy to learn more!