Habits of Fit People: Share Your Goals with Others

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: telling other people about my goals. This is a technique that I've used for years (and still use today) when I'm not feeling motivated to exercise. So how should you do it—and why does it make a difference?

Long before Chris Downie started SparkPeople, he started with a personal goal: to exercise for at least 10 minutes every single day for as many days in a row as possible. Making his goal "public" helped him stick with it. Every morning that he exercised, he posted a number on the door to his office: "1" for the first day, 30 after the first month, etc. Soon he reached 100 days, 365 days, and ultimately more than 700 days of exercise. People noticed. They asked him what the numbers on his door meant. They encouraged him and congratulated him as the numbers got higher and higher. They told him how he inspired them, and one co-worker even started her own workout streak, complete with numbers posted on her door, too! Just imagine if Chris never posted those numbers for others to see; if he had kept his goal (and progress) to himself, would he have stuck with it that goal for two years, if he knew that no one was watching?

There's something to be said about sharing your goals, whatever they may be, with others. Just like writing down your goals makes them "real" and gives them power, sharing your goals with other people means, "Wow, I'm really going to do this!" Your goal becomes official! When you keep your fitness goals to yourself, it's easy to change your plans or back out. After all, no one would ever know. And that is exactly why you should share your fitness goals with others: accountability. When your goals are made public, there's a chance that someone is going to follow-up with you and ask how things are going. That alone is usually enough to spur you into action because you want to save face and not look like a failure.

Of course, you should want to reach your goals for yourself, and in an ideal we'd all be intrinsically motivated and not worry what other people think. But if telling others for the sake of accountability is what you need to do in order to commit to your exercise program, so be it! It's a small step, a simple technique that you can use to your advantage for as long as you need it. In fact, would you be surprised that even I, Coach Nicole, still use this technique today? Believe it or not, I don't always feel motivated to work out or reach for new, more challenging fitness goals. (Gasp!) So what do I do? I set my fitness goals, then I tell others about them—for nothing more than accountability.

Anyone who is my SparkFriend sees my status updates on SparkPeople. When I share my workout plans for that day or a new fitness goal I've set, the reason is kind of selfish. I'm sharing for accountability so that I'll stick with it. I do the same thing on my personal Facebook page. I share info about the races I'm training for, my workout plans and even my progress toward these goals. Sharing, to me, is what makes a fitness goal real. It takes it from a vague idea in your head that you might do, and means you're fully committed! You know it; and now everyone else knows it, too.

Don't believe me? Start using this technique yourself. Share your goals —no matter how small—with your SparkFriends, on the SparkPeople message boards, on your Facebook page. Write a new blog post about them. Tell your co-worker about your plans to train for that 5K this spring. Update your best friend with your progress. Or, like Chris, put a sticky note on your wall or door. Each person that asks you about it will be one more reason for you to stick with your plan, and that can only lead to good things—and a habit of fitness!

Do you share your fitness goals with others? Do you agree that sharing your plans is a good way to stay accountable to your exercise program? Share your fitness goal(s) below right now!

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I share my fitness plan with others not in a bragging way as a lot of my friends dont and I even invite them to work out with me. That’s keeps me accountable and try to encourage them as well. Report
I have shared my workout and weight loss goals in the past and gotten nothing but negative feedback. I am often shocked that people think that if you are not 100 to 200 pound over weight than weight loss and working out is a waste of time for you. I am currently 145 at 5 5. People seem to think my desire to be a 125 to 130 is unhealthy. While I have noticed that with each new year I have gained at least 5 pounds per year since turning 40. I wish I could say sharing my goals has won we supports and even comrades BUT it has been just the opposites. Report
I agree, I do this as well. Not so much with friends, but definitly with co-workers who I eat most my meals with and who constantly joke with me about how I rarely if ever will touch a tasty treat they bring in like cookies or cake. They ask every now and again if I'm still working out, and they all think I'm nuts when I scarf down my food at my desk and go for a 30 minute run over lunch only to return stinky and out of breath from those 100 degree days. Nothing will stop me! (I do bring a change of clothes, I'm not THAT cruel!! Lol) Report
Sharing your goal most defiantly works!!. When I started my diet originally I didn't share it with anyone. I found myself cheating often by snacking at work and eating heavy meals late at home.
However I realized im cheating myself so the next week I shared my diet plans with everyone at work during our lunch brake.

I instantly knew there is no going back now. if I get caught in the office kitchen snacking from our goody cupboards or eating unhealthy things (our company makes sure we never go hungry and stacks our fridge with health food and also frozen foods and a goodies cupboards with cookies) I was sure my coworkers would look at me with pity or comment about my "so called diet" .
I'm proud to say I didn't cheat since my announcement and people are noticing my salad choices

Thanks for sharing the Tip, I will defiantly use it for my workout goals!

very true. sharing your goals make you determined to achieve them. Report
I really like the sticky note idea! I was so excited about, I didn't even finish the blog post before I have found colourful sticky notes and posted them on my wall! But then of course after all the excitement, I finished reading the rest of the blog post.

Also after every work out I track on my Fitness Tracker, I click on the option below the tracker to post my exercise to Facebook.. I've already gotten some feedback.

At first I was a little embarrassed to post this information to facebook because I am currently doing the P90X workout.. but then I quickly found out how many other people are doing that workout on my facebook.. people I actually know, not just people I virtually know on Sparkpeople. Report
I live in a high rise,,,and on my door is posted on a sticky note (after Chris's idea) the # 27. People DO ask me "Whats that number about?" And they are just starting to notice. I am SURE in time,,,,they WILL keep me accountable. I've told them my goal is to make that # 700. I've also told friends and family who are also taking notice and my excerise partner who keeps her eyes on it when she comes over. :) Report
I shared my goal of doing an olympic tri last year. I truly believe if I had not told everyone, I would have chickened out and not done it. I had to go thru with it and for awhile kicked myself for telling people!!! But it was the best thing I ever did, kept me working towards and completing the tri. Report
This is a great idea. In fact, I do this somewhat now but I am going to take it up a notch. I am going to display 2 or 3 daily/weekly goals at my house where others will see it everyday. I provide daycare in my home so I have parents, usually Moms, walk in every day (M-F). Only one Mom knows I am on SP and I have invited her to my Fit n Fun monthly meeting at church. We are all on SP.

I only joined SP this past Oct. and have logged onto SP everyday since Dec. 27 and started several other goals/streaks on Jan 1. I am going for a 365 day streak on all of these!!!!! I know this will be the first year EVER that I will keep this stubborn-reoccurring 40+ lbs. off for more than 6-7 months.

Thanks Nicole for the idea of posting something for others to see. Joan in Ohio

Thank you for the encouragement to share our fitness goals with those around us. I have just started letting others know my goal and the progress that i have made. It makes you be more comitted to followeing through.
I have also done this with my goals for my weight loss. It works in every area of your life! Thanks! Report
I probably need to share more. I'm always afraid I'll slip up and put the weight back on. Report
So true. I have shared my goals on SparkPeople, Facebook & in person. Report
My goal this month is to repeat the whole 28day bootcamp workout challenge wthout stopping this time despite any obstacles that may arise. Report
I do share my goals - not consistently yet but I am getting there -- it does helps for sure Report
I do share my fitness goals with others. I share my triumphs and also my not so great moments. Report
I'm going to have to give this a try and see if it really does work. Report
I use my status to keep a running tab of how many days I've exercised. I'm up to 31!!! I feel incomplete now, if I haven't put it up. Report
I shared my exercise goals with my daughter,every day without fail she is holding me accountable. Yes sharing is working for me. Report
Well, my only goal at the moment is to do an hourly ceili dance class every week. I tried zumba once and HATED it. This I like. Report
Hmmm interesting idea,,,,, I think I'll post my streak of 10 mins on my door to my apartment. I live in a highrise and I KNOW people will ask "What does that mean?" It will hold me accountable. NEAT ! Report
this is interesting. I've recently seen research similar to this: sharing successes through blogs/journaling, etc helps increase weight loss through accountability Report
I've told people before that I am trying to be healthier or that I was on a diet but never anything specific. I think I allowed myself room to give up by doing that. I didn't actually make myself accountable for anything. I think that was a good idea with the numbers..I may try to do that too. I'll post mine on the refrigerator!! Report
I have never really made fitness goals. For certain, I have never shared any with others. A lot of good points for doing so were shared in the article. Thanks for more insights to consider in my fight for fitness. Report
You are so right! Last year, I started the C25K program but didn't have the app on my phone. So I eventually quit because I didn't have anyone keeping me accountable. This past September, I downloaded the program on my phone and would post my workout to Facebook after each one. This really kept me motivated on those days I didn't feel like doing it. I knew that everyone on FB expected to see my C25K post and that got me out of the house! I even had several people email/msg me about how I was inspiring them to do the program too! It felt great to have all the feedback from my FB friends! And now I've started the B210K program and posting it to FB, which I'm sure will keep me motivated on these cold winter days! Report
It works! There's a lot to be said for accountability... it keeps me going. Report
Yes it is important to share our goals. I do that with my sparks friend Connie and with my best bud Dennis. I shared when I did a 10 k on my treadmill and when I did 8 miles. I also plan on doing a 15 k so I will share that. I also share weight loss successes and struggles. We are on this journey together. Report
I absolutely agree with this idea. Since I've decided to run a half-marathon, I've really talked it up with my friends and family and all over Facebook. I've even started a running blog that lots of people know about. My thought process was that if lots of people know I'm doing this, I can't not do it! Report
I don't believe Chris Downie did 700 days of intense workouts. He did 10 min. of exercise for 700 straight days. Some were probably more intense than others but on the days he wasn't motivated he made sure he did something to keep himself moving. This article is quite timely for me, I drifted away for about a week and just started again last night. I need this motivation. Thanks! Report
One of my most successful efforts at improving my eating and exercise habits involved sharing my goals with others in an unusual way. I had been working incredibly hard (70 days in a row, usually 10-14 hours per day) and not eating right or exercising. I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present and I bought a small pair of diamond earrings for myself. Then I told everyone around me at the office that I was only allowing myself to wear the earrings if I was "being good", i.e., meeting my healthy eating and exercise goals for the day. Soon enough, people were checking me out and saying things like "I see you've been good, Emma. You're wearing your earrings. Or "Have you been bad - I don't see you're earrings." Of course, there were a few people in the office who didn't know the story and were wondering exactly what "being good" meant and why it was associated with diamond earrings - they might have jumped to the wrong conclusion :) It was a great motivator, though, and I've used it again from time to to time. Report
So true!!! I started publicly logging my 7 daily goals 11 days ago!!! Plus I posted my years fitness minute goals on Facebook! Report
Sharing fitness goals really is neccessary. Even writing them down is a huge step in the right direction. For me the hardest part is establishing goals because I want to make sure I'm accomplishing them and don't want to fail. Report
Yes! I am a strong believer in sharing my goals and my struggles with other Spark People! It is amazing how everyone is so supportive, but not only that, I do feel accountable! I don't have a problem with exercise anyway, but posting it on my Spark Page or keeping track with my Fitness Tracker, just makes it all the more real! I know it's real because so far I've lost 45 lbs using this amazing program! Thank you Spark Friends, Chris and Nicole! You guys are wonderful! Report
Sounds like he developed a healthier lifestyle by becoming more active over all, he could have been doing things like bike-riding or walking and not heavy duty training every day. The whole thing is to get up off the couch for a better cumulative effect. We should cheer his efforts! Way to go! My tips of being fit are on my blog: http://fitandfabulousblog.com Report
I definitely need to share more, but I tend to bottle things up instead. I just shared my intuitive eating challenge on my Sparkblog, and my inspiration is Coach Nicole who got fit without obsessing over numbers (no offence meant to anyone who tracks calories, exercise, etc). Making it public means ditching this challenge will mean embarrassment because I've given up. Report
haha, not to speak for sparkguy, but I'd imagine there were a fair share of lighter days of activity, like walking, I don't think anyone could go 700 days straight of marathon training or something considerably grueling. I actually feel a little less DOMS if I stretch, walk, or do something simple but still gets me moving on rest days. Report
So Chris Downie did not take rest days. Interesting......... Report
This is sooo true!! :) I've also just started sharing a wee bit of my weight loss triumphs on FB - it was a lil tough coz i know that I'll be more accountable and people will expect a change - but Im doing it coz I know its gonna help! :) Report