Motivation Articles

Write Your Own Contract for Success

A Simple Way to Make Yourself More Accountable

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You know that keeping yourself accountable is a key to weight loss success. Even with all the information in the world and all the right intentions, you won’t get very far if you let yourself off the hook when it’s time to actually do what you should.

There are two very effective ways to increase your accountability. The first is to get other people involved. You can “go public” with your goals and plans, letting friends and family know what you’re trying to do and how you're planning to do it. This method allows you to ask for support or the occasional friendly push if they see you backsliding. Better yet, you can join group or Team challenges with other people who are trying to accomplish the same things you are. It’s a lot harder to let your team down than it is to slack off when you’re the only one who will know (or care) about it. You’ll find lots of great challenges, supportive groups, and Teams here on SparkPeople.

The second approach involves directly challenging the excuses you choose not to stick to your plan. We all have our favorite excuses: I'm too busy. I can’t find time for myself. I'm just not motivated. I'm too stressed out right now. I'll do it later. I can’t control myself. You may even view these as legitimate reasons instead of the excuses that they really are, and have probably persuaded yourself that this is the way things are, and that you can’t do much about it.

But no matter how difficult your circumstances may be, this is the hard truth: The only way to succeed is to take personal responsibility for making things work out the way you want them to. And that starts with owning your own decisions and not using excuses to let yourself off the hook.

One good way to avoid rationalizing and increase your accountability to boot is to make a contract with yourself that identifies the excuses you use most often, and specifies what you will do instead of giving in to them. When you put this on paper, in the form of a written contract, you create an effective tool that you can use whenever you catch yourself making excuses. Here's how to start.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • HOMBUNDA
    This article is so helpful. we share many things, many struggles with the author. It is also well written and the first voice adds in a lot of credibility. Am confident that reading this article today has changed my weight loss journey. Thank you very much. - 11/5/2014 3:14:36 AM
  • Love the article. This is such a great site. Thanks - 10/5/2013 5:18:09 PM
  • I'm so glad a SparkFriend recommended this article in her blog! This is just what I need to get back on track next week. - 9/15/2012 11:02:25 PM
  • This was the perfect article for me to read, and I had recently been paying attention to the ways that I have allowed myself to sabotage my goals and the contract is a perfect way to hold myself accountable and stop blaming everything and everyone else for my mistakes. Thank you so much for your insight and wisdom, and I congratulate you on your personal and professional goals. - 2/5/2012 1:22:21 PM
  • Thank you Dean. Your articles are the main reason that my lifestyle changes have lasted longer that the usual 4 hours & I have hit a 22 pound weight loss. I am very grateful that you are here. Keep up the great work. - 7/15/2011 1:41:35 AM
  • As usual, Dean. A great article! I love your writing style and common sense advise. - 5/3/2011 6:24:50 PM
  • Dean, love your articles!! Please write more!! They are common sense and just the reminders we need!! Thanks for a wonderful job!! - 11/5/2010 12:36:15 PM
  • MSJULES022165
    Precisely what I needed to "run across" today. Thanks! - 7/22/2010 1:46:10 PM
  • Thank you for that contract. I am such a visual person and it's easy for me to get inside my head and mess myself up. I realize my self talk is hindering me and I am choosing to not exercise or eat too much. I am writing up this contract now and will post it on my fridge and office as a reminder of my goals. - 4/14/2010 11:05:04 AM
  • Just the technique i need to learn about! Dean, you are wonderful as usual! - 2/24/2010 10:14:28 PM
  • Wonderful article. It makes sense to put your goals on paper and sign your contract to help make us more accountable for our weightloss. I will definitely be sharing this article with family and friends. - 11/8/2009 2:33:30 PM
  • Excellent article. I love the contract, and will be sharing this idea with friends and family to use for their specific challenges. I am glad I selected this article today. Thank you. - 8/14/2009 11:44:45 AM
  • tell a lot of people your goal, and write it down, then you will feel more accountable. - 3/8/2009 12:09:04 AM
  • Great article. I've been a Sparker since October 07, and I will never ever quit. I love the support I get here every day. - 2/23/2008 2:32:51 PM
  • I wish I would have seen this article 6 months ago, even though my sparkteams are great I know ultimately my course of action depends on me! Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

    CindyS1962 - 1/9/2008 4:04:27 PM

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