Stress and Accountability
by Emma Ware
This article is a further continuation of last month’s discussion on stress. (Click here to read Part 1.)
As I mentioned previously, taking personal responsibility, being accountable for our choices, and being truthful to ourselves decreases stress.
Since stress breaks down our ability to be productive, decreases our ability to stay healthy, and impacts our relationships, why would we not want to make choices that eliminate or greatly reduce stress?
It’s not always an easy fix, but here are some ways to work towards that goal.
Let’s begin with the importance of self-honesty. All too often, we are at war inside ourselves, our goals butting heads with our habits. You alone know what your weaknesses are, and you alone can make the decision about what your goals are worth to you.
To begin your journey of self-honesty, try journaling the place you’re currently in, and where you’d like to go. Then write out what you’d have to give up, as well as what you’d have to do additionally to make that goal a reality.
For example, if you’re trying to create a more honest relationship with yourself around food, then begin a food journal. Write down what you ate when, and how you felt afterwards, both emotionally as well as physically.
After you’ve compiled some data for a time, go back over your reflections, and from that space you can make an honest choice about what feels right for you and how you want to live your life moving forward.
To implement the changes, create a yes and no list for yourself— foods that you allow yourself to eat, and those that are currently off-limits because you know they don’t make you feel good, and aren’t helping you reach your goals.
Post the list on your fridge, and give a copy to a close friend or significant other whom you trust and can rely upon for support. An accountability partner can help you stay motivated and true to yourself during challenging times.
If it’s better time management that you seek, invest in a daily planner or an hour-by-hour planner. Use it to schedule and plan your day, and make sure to include time to relax and unwind with a friend.
When the day is too short to complete all the items on your planner, you have put too much on it. Shorten the list. Admit to yourself you are asking more of yourself than is reasonably possible, as that level of honesty is personal accountability. If possible, delegate some of the tasks.
Now let’s discuss the habitual pattern of worry. We need to decide if what we worry about is within our ability to change or fix. If the thing we are worrying about is beyond our control to change or fix, then we must make the choice to release it and move on. Personal accountability demands action, not procrastination.
Making healthy choices requires discipline. Lack of exercise, overeating, not getting enough sleep, recreational drugs, alcohol, smoking, the list can be overwhelming.
But choosing to be accountable can and will lead to success in every area— one decision at a time.
As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before making changes to your health routine.