Accountability – When and why to seek help with your fitness goals

Trainer with client on a swiss ball

Have you noticed how motivating yourself can be tricky?  Sometimes the motivation is there and other times it’s nowhere to be found? When we are in a good rhythm with our exercise routine, we can’t imagine why it would disappear! We are consistent, making progress towards achieving a particular fitness goal and we feel great about it. Then the novelty might wear off or life might get in the way and suddenly the self-motivation is gone, and we can’t quiet seem to get into that sweet spot again. It seems to happen when we feel like our goal is really far from being achieved or perhaps we are not enjoying the journey.

I totally get it – it happens to me as well. I’m great at motivating others but not necessarily myself. That’s why I work with a personal trainer to help me to achieve my own strength and fitness goals. We only have so much capacity and sometimes our own interests, hobbies and plans get sacrificed when our work/ life balance tips the wrong way or family commitments take over.

This is when we benefit from seeking help!

There are so many factors that come into play in succeeding at something. If we are really keen to move forward towards a goal, it is worth having tactics planned out for when and if our motivation takes a nose dive. We can outsource some of them by planning for success not just expect it!


This is such a key thing to get help with – it can be from a friend, a personal trainer or a mentor. The accountability and commitment we get from including someone in the process of us achieving a particular goal or ambition can really help.  Have you noticed that in life we are so much less likely to cancel on someone rather than cancel on ourselves? Once we acknowledge this fact we can think about how to exploit this part of our nature.


We can get stuck in the rut of routine on our own – mostly because it works for a while, especially while it’s new. Then that routine becomes uninspiring and our enthusiasm wanes and that contributes to the lack of motivation. When you work with a personal trainer, they will vary the movements and exercise patterns to keep you interested and varied. Part of what you pay for is this thinking behind your workout, not just your time and attention in your session. They are there to keep you injury free, include exercises in your workout that work the whole body, not just the bits you want to blitz. I’ve written about this in more depth in a past blog article – click HERE to read on.


Staying positive on any journey is key. How do we do this when the going gets tough? There are a couple of different ways.

We can start by acknowledging that part of your journey to your goal will at some point get railroaded.  Once you acknowledge this you can come up with a plan to work around it and don’t get too disheartened when it does happen.

Yes consistency is great but an all or nothing approach will most likely hinder your progress. Chatting to a personal trainer when this happens, can help you make plans and adjust sessions as necessary.

When I work with my clients we sometimes adopt a practice of positive affirmations, repeating several times per day a mantra or affirmation that helps programme the brain to focus on positive thoughts and ideas. Mediation is another way of stepping out of a negative mindset, if it creeps in.


Being consistent with fitness is huge. Progress can recede with long times between workouts. Cardio fitness goes a lot quicker than muscle mass, but you might see a drop in the weight you can lift over long periods. Having a dedicated time per week to workout will allow you to progress, see and experience results, feel the endorphins post workout which will help to encourage us to come back to our workouts time and time again.


How could you make a commitment to achieve a particular fitness goal?  Putting your money where your mouth is one way – paying for something is a great way to commit to a goal. No one likes to waste money. Only once have I ever had a gym membership that I barely used. The timing was bad, I had just bought my first house and the novelty of redecorating the house became more of a priority.

Adaptability and Variation

As we know – variety is the spice of life and being adaptable and flexible in your approach is another way to set yourself up for success. When we train in different ways we protect ourselves from injury because we use different parts of the body in different ways.  For example, you may plan to play netball, have two work out sessions with your trainer and go for a run in a week – they will all work the body in slightly different ways.  Constantly learning new movement patterns or lifting things in different ways builds connection in the brain so that we can do that movement again in the future. The variety also reduces the chances of injury, especially if your training rotation includes some mobility, flexibility and core work.

Having a variety of workout styles in your back pocket is also great as you might have tough and cardio workout planned in but then a bad night’s sleep happens. It’s likely you then don’t feel particularly inclined towards that type of session and a mobility and core session is more achievable.

My trainer and I were chatting about this recently and he’s thoughts – which absolutely ring true are that a short workout is better than a missed workout.

At the beginning of each client session, I do I ask my clients how they are. I’m not doing this to just be polite, I want to know how they feel and if they are up for the workout I’ve planned or if I need to make tweaks to the plan as we go to make it achievable and most importantly fun and energising.   

The most important part of the destination is the journey,  don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and directions along the way! Good luck setting and meeting your fitness goals this month and if you would like some help getting started or support along the way – please do get in touch.

Sara McDonnell

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