5 Simple Accountability Hacks to Get You Moving More
Our bodies were not designed to be still. With much of the workforce sitting in front of a computer all day — our bodies are longing to walk, stretch and move, releasing tight muscles and reducing achy joints, all while keeping your heart and body healthy.
You’re probably thinking: I’ve already heard all of this, but I just can’t find time.
That’s why you need something, or someone, to hold you accountable to more movement throughout the day. Whether you set a timer, keep a fitness log, or tap into your need for friendly competition, use these accountability hacks to get you moving more throughout the day.
1. Use a Fitness Tracker
Fitness trackers make it fun and easy to track your activity. Most will tell you the exact number of steps you’ve taken during the day, as well as how much cardio activity you have done. Some even track your heart rate and sleep quality, allowing you to keep tabs on every area of your health at all times.
They’re also a great way to boost your accountability:
“The best way to start keeping yourself more accountable for your activity level is to get an activity tracker. You can set your tracker to vibrate on your wrist to remind you that you’ve been sitting too long and it is time to get up and move,” says Mandy McClellan, of Fit2Run.
Some trackers will automatically vibrate after a certain period of inactivity, while others need to be programmed. If you’re customizing your movement reminders, make sure there are at least three throughout the day, preferably five or more. When it goes off, take a walk around the block, grab more coffee, take a bathroom break, or just go chat with a co-worker.
2. Set and Write Your Goals
Goal setting is one of the most important steps to moving towards healthier habits. However, it’s important that your goals are two things:
• SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time bound)
• Written down on paper
Both of these make your goal of moving more throughout the day more attainable. When you create SMART goals you know exactly what you have to do to reach it—I want to walk 2 miles, three days a week, after work. While writing them down cements them in your mind, psychologically:
“…If you just THINK about one of your goals or dreams, you’re only using the right hemisphere of your brain, which is your imaginative center. But, if you think about something that you desire, and then write it down, you also tap into the power of your logic-based left hemisphere. And you send your consciousness and every cell of your body a signal that says, “I want this, and I mean it!” Just the act of writing down your dreams and goals ignites an entirely new dimension of consciousness, ideas and productivity to the powerhouse that is your subconscious mind,” explains Mary Morrissey, with Huffington Post.
3. Keep a Movement Log
Much like writing down your goals, keeping track of your workouts and your results is another way to stay accountable for your activity. The process is simple: Every time you make time for movement, you write it down in a journal, online notebook, Trello board—whatever format you prefer.
If you’re trying to lose weight, include other information, like your weight and measurements, on a weekly basis, as well as what exercises you’re doing, how many reps, and for how long. Being able to look back and track your progress is a motivator that boosts accountability:
“Just being able to see in print (or on the screen) that all your hard work has paid off can be the motivator you need to keep you working out on a regular basis,” according to fitness experts at The12minuteathlete.com.
4. Put Money On the Line
Few things motivate us more than money — especially losing it, when winning or keeping it is within our power. Luckily, there are dozens of apps you can use to track your movement and win (or lose!) money along the way. Check out Pact app or DietBet.com.
“The concept is simple (and oh-so motivating): Hit your goals, and you’ll win cash. Miss the mark, and you’ll lose it,” says K. Aleisha Fetters with DailyBurn.com.
You can also start a movement “pool” with your co-workers, family members, or friends. Everyone puts in a certain amount of money at the beginning of the challenge, and if someone falters, they add more. At the end, the person who logged the most hours of movement or longest streak of movement wins the final pot.
5. Sign Up for a Competition
A recent study by Preventive Medicine showed,
“a competitive atmosphere encouraged people to work out more across the board. People who were in the competitive groups went to 90 percent more classes than those who weren’t,” says Mandy Oaklander with Time.com. “Even more surprisingly, when people got social support they exercised far less than they did when they were in competitive groups or alone.”
Long story short: you have a better chance of sticking to your goal of moving more when working out alone rather than joining a group of supportive friends. Competition is one of the best accountability tools.
Move More, Now
Use these tips and ideas to bring more movement into your every day life.
By Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer and content marketing consultant. She’s also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of, HonestBodyFitness.com. Follow her on Twitter (@HonestBodyFit) and Facebook and Instagram (@HonestBodyFitness) for health tips, personal development shares and more.