#CoachYourself: Build good habits through Rewards & Accountability

Today’s #CoachYourself tool for coaching ourselves actually comes from a coaching client of mine 🙂

At the end of each session, I usually give coaching clients an exercise or, if they’ve created an action point for themselves, I ask if they’d like me to hold them accountable for doing what they said they would do. Most say yes 🙂 One client went beyond a yes and even created a system on how I could hold him accountable exactly – which is what I’ll be sharing with you today.

Since then, I’ve actually adopted this awesome accountability system with other coaching clients and it’s worked beautifully so far. Perhaps it’ll work for you too.

Building good habits through real rewards and real accountability

I respect hard, smart work and I’ve seen time and time again the great things that can come out of it — especially when that work is aligned with a sense of purpose 🙂 But let’s all be honest and admit, sometimes we need a reward outside of simply accomplishing a goal. This is actually something I need constant reminding of.

There’s all kinds of sweetness in life and giving ourselves the reward of fully enjoying that sweetness can actually be a way towards being where we want to be. Two birds with one stone.

How does my client’s system work?

  • THE GOAL: Make it small, make it doable

This kind of system works for small changes we’d like to make in our lives, like waking up early, starting a yoga practice, or starting a journaling practice. It could also be something you’d like to stop doing, like smoking, eating a certain food, or going on social media.

If you’ll notice, all the examples I wrote down consist of very small tasks that can be done (or abstained from) on daily, every other day, every three days and so on.

If you don’t have specific actions in mind but you do have a larger life change you’d like to see happen, it could be a good idea to ask what the smaller components of this life change is. For example:

a) If you’d like to save a certain amount of money – part of that would be spending less. What could you abstain from buying every day that you don’t really need?

b) If you’d like to write a book by the end of the year, what are the tasks behind writing a book?

c) If you’d like to grow your blog, what are the small tasks to do that? Possibilities are writing, posting on social media, visiting and interacting with other blogs and the like. How often should you do these things?

  • BE SPECIFIC: We can make it easier on ourselves to push our butt into action if we have a plan.

So you already have an action that you’d like to do or to abstain from.

Set yourself up for success by planning how exactly you’re going to do that.

If it’s something you’re going to do, perhaps it would be good to have a schedule or time of day when you do this action. How often are you going to do this? What materials do you need to do this? What are the things that you should research before really embarking on the task? How can you eliminate things that distract you from what you’d like to do? Can you place yourself in a space that makes it easier to do? Who do you surround yourself with? Who needs to know about this effort? How long are you going to do this for?

If it’s something you’re going to abstain from, can you place yourself in situations and environments that will help you avoid whatever it is? What can you replace the habit with or rather, what can you do instead? What’s your plan of action when you’re truly tempted to do it anyway?  Who needs to know about this effort? How often are you going to abstain? How long are you going to do this for?

Write this down before you start anything. I support just doing it but, going all out and going cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. If you know you’re one of those people who need a backup plan for their backup plan, be specific.

  • HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE: For everything we do or don’t do, there are repercussions. Knowing that, we might as well create our own “repercussion.”

Let’s say you’re going to read a chapter of a book a day, everyday.

It’s possible that in the amount of time you give yourself to finish the book, you won’t miss a single day. In that case, congratulations!!!

However, it’s also possible that thanks to just being human, you’ll be too busy, you won’t be in the mood, or you’ll lose your drive. Do this enough days and your good habit will remain just an idea.

Stop yourself from losing day/s by creating your own productive repercussion. Examples:

a) For every day you miss, you could “pay” for the missed day by setting aside a certain amount of money and put it in a piggy bank. At the end of the time period you allotted for your activity, you can give this money to a charity of your choice, or spend it towards something important to you. You lose money for not doing what you said you would do, but in the end it goes towards something good.

b) For every day you miss, you could promise to do something you really need to do but have been putting off – like cleaning out your closet, cleaning a part of the house, cleaning your email inbox or anything else you don’t usually like to do.

c) For every day you miss, you could donate an hour or two of your weekend towards volunteering for somewhere or someone.

I’m sure you’ll think of something more creative than that 🙂

  • REWARD YOURSELF!!! : Self explanatory 🙂

Staying with that, reading a chapter a book a day – let’s say it’s a Sunday and every single day of the week, you sat down to read a chapter. Today is the day to reward yourself!

For the people I’ve worked with, their reward was always a Sunday massage 🙂

I haven’t done this system exactly but, after months of hard work and intense saving, I rewarded myself with a week-long retreat to Palawan. Do what makes you feel free and happy and of course, rewarded ♥

 

A picture from my Palawan retreat: The beautiful glamping tents at The Birdhouse

  • An extra step: ALLOW SOMEONE ELSE TO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE

Let someone else hold you accountable. Aside from creating your own “repercussions,” having someone who knows what you’re up to and can check up on your progress is a great way to stop yourself from slacking off.

If you’re going to read a chapter of a book a day for example, you can send your accountability partner a picture of the first page of the chapter and when you’re done, a picture of the end of the chapter. Of course, this will be an honesty-based system and it’s up to you to be truthful to yourself.

One of my roles as a life coach is as an accountability partner – indeed, that’s one of the benefits of having a life coach 🙂 If you’re serious about forming your good habit and you’re curious about life coaching, I invite you to get in touch with me. I’d be so happy to work with you (SEE: Get Life Coaching)

 

 

I hope this helps.

If you’re looking for more tools that can help you coach yourself, check out the other #CoachYourself tools. Thank you for your time!

 

Let me know if you have suggestions or questions.


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