Check Yourself: Accountability Check #1

21 Mar

I turn 31 this Sunday.  Bear with me, things are going to get a little personal.

I know that this is the blog where I give helpful advice on how best to achieve your goals, and how to keep your head about you in crazy derby space, and how to smash your training and nutrition.

I love doing those things.  But it is my birthday, and I’m going to be selfish and write a post almost entirely about me.  And goals.  And derby.  And training.  And accountability.

I had a list of things that I wanted to do by the time I turned 25.  And then when I turned 25, it was like, ‘I really wanted to do those things before I turn 30’.  Now, BAM, 31.   I made some pretty bold proclamations in a post shortly after I turned 30.

I said,

“Thirty is the year that I take that career into my own hands and try to make something of myself.  I am terrified, but thirty is the year that fear doesn’t stop me.  Thirty is the year that I have lots of new things to say to people I haven’t seen since high school. “

BIG PLANS.  Big words.  So, reality check:  How did I do?

Answer: Needs improvement.

I talk a lot about finding the bright spots and celebrating your successes. By and large, I think that’s the best way to keep yourself trying to get better each day. In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, keep moving forward. Don’t dwell on past failures.  Revel in the small wins.

I like to send positive messages.  I compliment people when they do things well.  I work to make my criticisms constructive and to deliver them in the most beneficial way for the receiver.  There is tons of social support in both fitness and derby.  It encourages people to try things they never thought possible.  I am convinced that a large percentage of the amazing things that happen in the gym, or on the track, happen because of a shared community ideal to push your limits and get better.

Positive self-talk and a strong community are great tools to use against your internal fear when it needs to shut up and get out of the way.


If you’re up against a wall (of blockers, or a metaphoric wall), thinking about how strong the wall is, and how you’ll never get through, and how tired you are is NEVER going to help you get through.  Find your people, talk yourself up, and just keep pushing.

So, why then do I mark myself as Needs Improvement if I’m all about positive messaging and relying on the support of your community?

Positive thinking doesn’t get you a free pass.

When you get down to it, positive messaging is a tool.  Community strength is a tool.  Self-help books are a tool.  Education is a tool.  Coaches are a tool.

You still have to take your tools and build something. 

Deciding to do it doesn’t make it so.  Putting it on your to-do list doesn’t make it so.  Even blogging about it doesn’t make it so (sigh).  Only doing it gets it done.

A good friend of mine always tells me to feel the fear, do it anyway.

That’s where I stumble.  And then procrastinate, and then say I’m working on my business, and then find all sorts of little things I can do to feel productive so that I can ignore the really big, scary thing (quitting my day job, so that I can ACTUALLY focus on what I love doing).

Which leads me to refine my steps to goal success:

Celebrate the small wins, but don’t lose sight of the big picture.  If you want to be a first-string jammer, celebrating your awesome blocking accomplishments will help you to be in a good head-space, but you still have to jam some jams.

Have a plan to get where you want, but not a plan that’s so locked into place that you can’t see opportunity.  Being deeply mired in the way that you think something will turn out often closes you off to other potential outcomes which may be even more amazing than the one in your mind.  Just like on the track, have a game plan, but be flexible.


I’m currently reading Small is the New Big, by Seth Godin.  In it, he talks about “Zooming”, which he basically describes as embracing change without pain, so that you can be open to all the opportunities that surround you.  Pain is inherent in change – just don’t dwell on the pain.  Example; a new training program will introduce you to new training stresses and you will be sore.  Do you focus on the looming soreness so much that you never get around to starting the program?  Or do you imagine how awesome you’re going to look/feel/be once you have some mastery of the program?  If you’re a zoomer, likely the latter.

Lastly – be accountable.  Which brings me back to my Needs Improvement.  I can post all I want as a fitness and derby advisor on the internet.  I can train clients every night and weekend, and every single spare second I have.  I can take every course and certification out there.  I can do all of that, and be reasonably happy about where I’m at.

But, if I’m honest with myself – I have to decide if this is my full-time job, and how I want that to look.  I have to put my goals out there and be responsible for achieving them.

In my year-end post, I listed some goals.  I didn’t give them deadlines or touchy-feely reasons, because putting information like that into the public sphere (instead of keeping it inside your head) adds pressure, both internal and external.  Now they get some:

  • Finish my Precision Nutrition certification – BAM.  DONE.
  • (new) Pass my Strongfirst Level 1 Certification – November 15-17, 2013.  I love kbs, I want to be the best teacher and practitioner that I can possibly be.  Strongfirst will help get me there.
  • Develop a solid business plan (which goes hand in hand with really having a clear idea of what I want my business to look like) – September 16, 2013.  This isn’t just a random date.  My day job has a big event every September – this date lets me be involved, not leave them hanging, but clarifies an exit plan.
  • Quit my day job – see above.  Also, maybe quitting isn’t quitting, maybe it’s going to part-time.  Or maybe it is quitting.  Either way, I’m going to take steps each day to clarify what I want, and grow in that direction.
  • Captain the Tramps to a winning season – ending Oct. 2013.  This is likely my last season as the Tramps captain, I want more than anything to totally smash it.
  • Solidify Plan B’s place in TCRG (and amongst other similar B-Teams) – ending Oct. 2013.  We’re a new team, with a new outlook, I want us to help the league grow and make a name for ourselves.
  • Jam a full game as a primary jammer – April 20, 2013 – I’ve never jammed a full game, I think it would be awesome to try.
  • Deadlift double bodyweight – KB training is my focus right now, and will be until after the SFG.  Deads are still a part of my training, but I’m pushing this one back to December 2013 – I’m currently at 195lbs, which is over 150% bodyweight, so I’m on the right track.
  • Find a mentor – ASAP.  Like, yesterday.  Since I’m not super clear on what I want my life in fitness to look like, I am sometimes too quick to look past opportunities.  You know what I’m saying – it’s often easier to know what you don’t want than what you do.  I want to be more open to internships, guidance, any experience that lets me learn and gets me closer to knowing where I might fit in.

Those are my goals.  With deadlines.  And reasons to accomplish them.  Out in the world.

Social support doesn’t just mean cheer-leading.  Sometimes it means asking your friends what they did to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.

So, friends, what progress did you make today?


5 Responses to “Check Yourself: Accountability Check #1”

  1. Abby March 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    i often utilize a version of “fake it til you make it” for those daily goals. So whether it’s practice or running 5 miles, it’s about pushing past the “mehs”, pain, a million other things to be done, and to Just Start. Whether it’s putting on my skates and committing to the warmup, or putting on my runners and committing to 1 mile….chances are once I’m there and in it, my attitude changes and I’ll finish what I wanted to start.
    For longer term goals I need a plan but with flexibility. If it’s not defined/planned out enough, there’s not push to finish. If it’s TOO planned out and lacks flexibility though, and I mess up one time, that’s my out and it’s hard to pick myself up again. Fine, fine balance.

    • How We Roll Fitness March 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      I hear ya – once I’m in it (for the small things) I can stay in in. It’s the big things that are the challenge. Maybe we just need to structure the big things as a series of small things…

  2. Jules H March 22, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I like that you point out life goals, not just fitness goals. I feel like applying our goal setting skills to our life outside sports (what?!) is really beneficial and important.

    • How We Roll Fitness March 22, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Absolutely! The same process carries over. It’s great to be amazing in the gym, but what about the other 23 hours of your day? Goals and focus help keep everything moving in a direction that supports an overall positive lifestyle.


  1. Check Yourself: Accountability Check #1 | Eva Born Villain - March 29, 2013

    […] Check Yourself: Accountability Check #1. […]

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