Let’s be honest — with ourselves

Taking a good, hard look at oneself isn’t easy, just necessary.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Recently, a friend and I ventured out to try a new fitness place that offers a trainer. He weighed us and took some additional measurements to provide us with a comprehensive breakdown of our health situation. After the workout, we went over our body composition analysis, basal metabolic rates, and other findings.

While I consider myself fairly health conscious and aware of my appearance, I’ve never weighed myself daily, or really at all. When the trainer showed us our health data it was quite a surprise. Since my wedding two years ago I’ve put on almost 20 pounds, a pretty big number to ignore.

Given this new reality, I began to work with the trainer to set new fitness goals and identify a clear action plan to achieve them. The added accountability of weekly appointments with a trainer should keep me on the right path.

To remain successful in career or business, we occasionally need to take stock in ourselves because it’s easy to get comfortable and fall into a routine. When we reach a certain level of success we can get complacent. After our wedding I thought, “I’m in pretty good shape, I can skip this one workout” or “I can go out to eat again this week because I’ve already reached my fitness goal.” But slowly, without staying focused on getting better each day and keeping a concrete record of progress, we can slip back into old habits.

We must be honest with ourselves and evaluate where we are in order to create an action plan. Sometimes the truth hurts — seeing that number on the scale sure was an eye opener. However, a dose of reality can help ignite your comeback. Are your sales where you want them to be? How about your bank account, your relationships, or your business?



In addition to sober self-evaluation, finding an accountability partner to stay on track can be extremely beneficial. Find a mentor, invest in a business or executive coach, hire a trainer, or find someone else who will hold your feet to the fire. Here are four tips to give yourself a reality check, jump start progress, and help you stay invested.

  1. Take a snapshot of where you are in every aspect of life. Put the results in concrete data points to get a clear picture of your starting point. For example, write down your current income, your monthly sales numbers, your weight, or whatever it is you are looking to measure and improve upon. If you aren’t happy with what the numbers show, use it as motivation.
  2. Set your new SMART goal. Now that you have a baseline, what new goal you are looking to achieve? Remember that SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Once you have a clear idea of where you stand in a certain area, you’ll be able to measure your progress in reaching the goal by whatever deadline you set.
  3. Create your own action plan. Work your way backward from where you want to be to where you are now. Reverse engineer what steps you would need to take and what milestones you would need to hit. Small, consistent steps will compound over time.
  4. Get an accountability partner. Invest in a coach, trainer, or expert to keep you on track and navigate roadblocks to your success. Ask a mentor, friend, or coworker to hold you accountable. Take it to the next level by trying “airplane accountability.” Most people don’t miss flights because they had to pay for their ticket and someone is counting on them to arrive at their destination. Give someone you trust $100. Tell them your goal and your deadline. If you accomplish it and “arrive at your destination,” they give the money back. If you fail and “miss your flight,” they keep the cash. This puts a little extra skin in the game.

Have you found yourself being complacent lately? I’d love to hear what strategies helped you get back on track. Send me an email at Jenna@JennaAtkinsonConsulting.com.

Jenna Atkinson is the president of CONNECT Madison, a young professionals group offering development, community engagement, and relationship-building opportunities to local business leaders.

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