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  • Amy Sotis

"Where have you been? Come to class!"

“Dude, where were you?? I expected you to be there….” Accountability to others is somewhat of a love-hate relationship. If you’re accountable to someone and you’re doing well in it then you’re not embarrassed when they follow up with you.

But, on the other side of the coin, if you’re AWOL and someone asks you your whereabouts via text…crickets chirping….

Here’s the thing, I’m going to spend a few minutes trying to encourage you to enter into accountability with people for your own good and regardless if you’re “doing well” in it or not. However, you may glance over this and think to yourself, “oh yah, that sounds good, I’ll do that someday”, and then you quickly click on the next thing and forget all about your resolution. So, to combat this, right now as you read this, decide WHO you want to ask to keep you accountable and then IMMEDIATELY send him/her a note (or multiple people) and inquire if they are interested. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be a paid relationship or “official”. It doesn’t have to be a big deal per se. But, what it does have to be is mutually beneficial and encouraging toward your goal.

Accountability can be “official” like the accountability I give to people who are in one-on-one nutrition/wellness/weight loss counseling with me; or it can be “unofficial” like the example I’m about to give.

I have people who keep me accountable to things and I didn’t even ask them to, it just happened naturally by means of shared interests and passions. My good friend Tammi Braund is an elite athlete, wife, mother of six children, and holds a job at a wonderful local bike shop. She is busy. However, she knows the importance of fitting in running and training even in spite of an uber-busy schedule. How else are you going to be able to run marathons unless you train? I have only ever run half-marathons, but still, you have to train. Of late, I have let busyness creep in and crowd out my normally-stellar weekly work-out regime. Tammi is lovingly determined to not let me over-prioritize work to the detriment of my own fitness goals. Here is a sampling of texts I have received over the past few weeks from her (used with permission):

  • “Are you coming to class today? Don’t stress…it is what it is. Exercise will reduce your stress.”

  • “Are you coming to Cardio Blast? I need a partner.”

  • “Want to go for a bike ride with us?”

  • “Get to cardio class my friend”

  • “Yes I’m going to bother you. You going to spin class tomorrow?”

  • “Stress isn’t fun. That being said…you coming to spin class…it will help”

Tammi post-marathon win with Amy

We all need people in our lives that will push us to be the best versions of ourselves! Let others keep you accountable, and in turn, be that for someone else too. A quick shout out to having a fitness/gym community around you. When you regularly attend classes or events you get to know like-minded people who push and challenge you. If one day you fall off the bandwagon and stop coming, you want people to notice and care! By the way, this is a major philosophy toward overcoming addiction in the AA program - sponsors - people who take the time to follow-up with you and ask if you are doing ok. I would suggest that you don’t just sign up for a gym membership and go to the gym and work out….go to classes and get to know the regulars and be present and accountable to those weekly classes.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This is a foundational text for Christians regarding community with one another in their faith. I have led a women’s class at Grace Church in Osceola for 4 years and the relationships with those women definitely keep me accountable to love and good works and also encouragement in the blessings of our Christian faith. I go to a small enough church that if all of a sudden I stopped coming, people would “notice” and reach out to find out if I’m okay. This is accountability.

You want this in your life! It is so helpful. Just knowing that people care and are watching out for you is empowering and emboldening. Never use accountability to beat someone over the head with their “failures” - use it as an opportunity to just let them know that you are there for them in whatever way you can help, and leave it at that.

When it comes to health and wellness goals, don’t be afraid to seek people out. But, if you don’t feel led to do this, you can always enter into a “secret accountability” where you challenge and push yourself toward your goals watching and modeling your behavior after another person’s whom you admire. I have a couple of people who keep me accountable who don’t even know it. Basically, I have watched their habits and lifestyle, found it to be encouraging and profitable, and I make choices to model my life after theirs in ways that I want to grow in. I have a friend whom I’m always just about one step behind when it comes to physical fitness - you better believe that I watch closely what this person does in training - because one day, I just know it, I’m going to beat them! This is a form of accountability!

In a different realm of accountability, for 16 years I’ve been married to a man who gets up early, sacrificing precious sleep, to read and pray - this inspires me in countless ways. He keeps me accountable without saying a word - just by living an exemplary life before me.

Jamey Sotis, my spouse (the bike isn't heavy but he still looks cool)

At the Luminaries Building in St Croix Falls, we have been doing a lot of renovations over the past few months and countless decisions have needed to be made. I have a business partner, Bill, who is not a “yes man” and keeps me accountable in my decision making - without that accountability, I probably would’ve made a lot of foolish choices. Yet he's kind in all his suggestions. This is accountability.

Luminaries Building St Croix Falls WI

Luminaries Building in St Croix Falls

The people you surround yourself with are most likely the people whose behaviors will look like your own. Perhaps you want to become a super-fast cyclist, then you’d better hang around people who are super-fast cyclists. Maybe you want to become a health foodie, then you’d better invite some people over to dinner to show you how to cook. Maybe you don’t have anyone to exercise with and just need one friend who will go for a daily 2 mile walk with you in your neighborhood. Perhaps you want to learn a new trade, then invite people into your life that are experts and ask for help. You’d be amazed - most people love to share their skill and talent with grateful recipients. This is real community and mutual edification.

Luminaries group retreat cycling outing

(bike with those who are faster than you and you'll get faster!!)

I have so many undeserved friends and family members that keep me accountable in a non-formal way by checking in with texts, phone calls, messages, and my favorite - in person! I have been blessed by this and that makes me want to give back in the same way to others to love and serve.

Life is a beautiful thing. Let’s embrace all it has to offer by opening ourselves up to others and inviting them into our lives. Be accountable to someone and hold others accountable who need your help. Receive that blessing and then be that person for someone else; giving blessings in return.

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