According to Webster.com, Accountability is defined as:
Main Entry: ac·count·abil·i·ty Pronunciation: &-"kaun-t&-'bi-l&-tEFunction: noun: the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.
Responsibility to account for one's actions is the most important part of this definition. If you are wanting to reach a goal- whether it be to become more fit, or to race in your first marathon, or to qualify for Kona- no matter the goal, you must be willing to take the responsibility to follow your plan for which you set out to reach that goal or accept the consequences if you don't. As a coach, my role is to make sure I am doing the best that I can (i.e. being the most responsible for my motivation and inspiring actions) toward my clients and if they are not reaching their goals, I am held accountable. That is right- I personally hold myself accountable. That is my job. To get you fit and to coach you in a lifestyle that is healthy and will get you the most fit of your life.
That said, you (the client, the athlete, the student) must also hold yourself accountable for your actions. If your actions are not in line with your goals, you must take responsibility for the lack of results. No one else. Ask yourself before you eat that cookie- will this cookie get me closer to my goal? Ask yourself before you go out and drink that 5th beer- will this beer get me closer to my goal? Ask yourself before you skip your next workout- how will taking another day off get me closer to my goal? Be real. Be real and responsible. Get accountable!
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