I've started reading Richard Wiseman's "59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot," which is billed as a "myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community." It's a brisk, enjoyable read. Citing research studies rather than just making shit up like most self-help gurus, Wiseman offers tips that "can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy."
I especially perked up when Wiseman discussed motivation and accountability. One of his points (summarized in one of his recent blog posts) advises that one proven way to achieve goals -- fitness-related or otherwise -- is to:
Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support. For example, write down your resolution on a large sheet of paper, sign it, and place it somewhere prominent in your house. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about your resolution, and ask them to provide you with helpful nudges to assist you in achieving your goal. Either way, do not keep your resolution to yourself.Wiseman's not the only one saying this, either. As 6 Changes puts it:
1. Commit as publicly as possible to creating each new habit.
2. Log your progress daily, and very publicly.
These steps are extremely important — without them, you’re liable to drop your new habit at any time...You need to be all in. You need to tell everyone. You need to be completely committed, or you’re wasting your time.So go all in. Don't keep your fitness goals to yourself. Post about your daily progress on a blog or message board, or tell your friends and family about what you're striving to achieve. And don't let them down by giving up. (Of course, this only works if they're not asshole saboteurs looking to derail you from your fitness goals to make themselves feel better.)