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02 - Big Sticks & Scare Tactics
Episode 26th October 2022 • Rude Health • Hayley Food Ninja
00:00:00 00:14:50

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How do you prefer to be held accountable?

Do you like the big stick approach, do you scare yourself into doing stuff, or are you a collaborator?

In this episode I talk about how I'm shit at accountability for myself and why that's been of benefit for my clients, the different methods I use to help people move from being held accountable, to becoming accountable for themselves and my special Ninja mind tricks 🤣

In this episode I mention my mentor Sarah Jolley Jarvis, the person who wields the big stick over me sometimes.

She also has an excellent can find that here

If you'd like to know more about my approach to coaching, you can find out here

And if you'd like some accountability around your health behaviours, why don't you join my FREE Facebook group here?


Hayley : Hello. You are listening to the Rude Health podcast with me Hayley Food Ninja, where I aim to bring you all the latest tools, tips and strategies to help you create your own version of Healthy without a kale smoothie insight. Enjoy the episode!

Today I am here to talk about accountability. And the reason I'm going to talk about accountability is I'm a bit shit at it. I'm really great with other people's accountability because obviously that's kind of my job. It would be fucking weird if I wasn't, but I'm not all that good with mine and I think the reason for that is I don't always hold myself accountable in the right way.

Accountability doesn't work for everyone, and it doesn't work for everyone because people do it wrong a lot of the time. I know that when most people think about accountability, they probably think that it's when someone says they're going to do something. Maybe they make a big sort of public declaration and that motivates them to do the thing because they don't want the embarrassment or shame of people going, hey, weren't you going to do that thing? They don't want to be seen as a person who doesn't do what they say they're going to do.

That doesn't really work with me. The minute I say to someone I'm going to do this and publicly declare it straight away, it makes me not want to do it. Not because I'm like, oh, I might be shit or whatever, but just because now that expectation is there and people are expecting me to do it and I don't like being told what to do straight away I'm just like, oh, someone's expecting me to do this. I'd rather do something completely fucking different.

And I guess the purpose of me telling you this is when I realized this, it really helped me working with my clients. Because there isn't one way to keep people accountable.

book from Monday to Friday at:

I think people also think that keeping someone accountable is about policing. But it's not about policing. It's not about making sure someone's just ticking a box and doing that behaviour. It's about helping them take ownership of that behaviour. For that reason, I don't believe holding people accountable is particularly effective. I think helping people to become accountable is certainly what I should be aiming for as a coach.

I coach people with health behaviours and if you can't become accountable for your own health, I mean, that's a pretty serious situation to get into, right? I mean, not with your mates and stuff, right? If you're in a WhatsApp group with some mates, and they're like, oh, let's try and lose weight together. I mean, clearly it's not your job to fucking psychoanalyze them and decide what's the best method of accountability for their personality and situation.

But in terms of being a coach, the thing that I've noticed from working with hundreds of different clients now over eight years fuck me, that sounds like a really long time, doesn't it? Everyone starts off wanting to be held accountable because they don't yet really realize the value of the behaviour that they're being held accountable to.

Does that make sense? That sounds very wordy, doesn't it?

I guess what I'm saying is they haven't yet seen the benefit of doing the behaviour, so they can't take accountability for themselves. So they want to be held accountable to just kind of tick that box. Which is fine because you never get buy in straight away from people like, hey, do this thing. Oh yeah, amazing. I can't wait. Why should they?

They don't know if it's going to work or not. They know that it's good for them to do this behaviour on a daily basis, but you can't expect them to be motivated just by that because they've not seen the benefits yet.

And of course, with what I do, all the health stuff, benefits are really slow to arrive. They're not instant. Despite what dieting industry or the health industry tells you. You can't drop a dress size in a week. You can't do a six day shred, six pack, whatever the fuck the latest thing is, they're not instant.

You don't instantly lose fat in a linear way. I've been having a conversation with a client just this week. Just cannot get their head around the fact that because they've been told by Slimming fucking World in this instance that they should be losing £2 a week.

Or actually, one of my clients was told, you're a big girl. You should be losing more than £2 a week by a swimming world consultant. So that kind of culture or that behaviour perpetuates this kind of like, I should be losing £2 a week.

So it's really hard to get people to stay accountable when they have this expectation that's completely unrealistic fat loss is not linear. You don't instantly have loads of energy and feel great. You don't instantly have brilliant skin and shiny hair and building new muscles, right? It's all really slow to arrive. So you do have to hold people accountable until they start to see the benefits of their behaviour, and then they become accountable because they're more emotionally invested in it.

I've figured out with different personality types, some people like to be held accountable by you leading by example, for example. And I have got a client like that at the moment, actually. So when I'm trying to coach this person, I'm always thinking about my actions matching with the words or the things that I'm asking them to do.

Because some people I don't know why I tend to attract kind of rebellious people. Like, why is she holding me accountable to doing this when she's not even fucking doing it herself?

And obviously there are situations where that's not appropriate, but I do believe that.

I don't believe health coaches should all be shredded and have six packs and you're not about to see me, my gym shark leggings showing my arse off to the camera.

But I do believe that you should take care of yourself. If you are trying to persuade other people that taking care of themselves is a good idea, then absolutely you should be doing the behaviours that allow you to be healthy. Whatever that looks like for you. Doesn't always look like big, massive glutes in gym shark leggings.

Although I have got big, massive glutes I'm quite proud of, actually.

Anyway, so some people are motivated by seeing you lead by example and me giving them examples and telling them stories about when I've decided to do this behaviour on a regular basis, or telling them stories about a client who is similar to them, who did something, is in a similar situation and did a similar kind of thing and got amazing results.

Those kinds of people are motivated by those stories, those examples and possibilities. It gives them a little glimpse into what their life could be like. It's not always motivating for me to tell people that, hey, I do this thing because for some reason, a lot of people put you on a pedestal as a health coach, right? They think, oh, wow, well, Haley is super healthy and fit and whatever. Like, spoiler alert, I'm fucking not. Not at the moment, anyway, because I walked 50 km on Saturday, which I might do another podcast about, actually. Let me know if you'd like me to do a podcast about that experience. My toe has a brilliant story to tell.

So, yeah, people aren't always motivated by me telling them. Not initially, anyway. Not at the beginning of their journey. They're kind of like, oh, yeah, but you're super healthy and do XYZ. And then later on they realize that actually it is attainable for them to have a certain level of health. So, as I said, those kind of people are motivated by stories and inspiration from other people and the possibility of what they could actually be. So that's one method that I use.

Now, some people just want a big stick. Now, my mentor, Sarah Jolly Jarvis, who has an excellent podcast, by the way, called Selling Without Sleaze for all new business owners out there.

She is pretty amazing at what she does, so go check her podcast out.

But we have a bit of a joke that sometimes if I'm procrastinating about things, she gets her big stick out. So she is kind of a big stick accountability person, but it's what some people require. They just want to be hit over the head with a big stick. And told that they're naughty for not doing certain things like a schoolteacher which you might think is a bit weird.

But actually I find that that type of accountability generally tends to work for people who have a lot of responsibility. So they are maybe quite a high performer and they're quite focused but they have such a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, in their business and in their life that actually when it comes to being coached they just want to be held to account with a big stick as in just JFDI mate, just do the fucking thing right? It works for those sorts of people but those sorts of people are also very self aware so they know that in the first instance that's what they need to get them going to build some momentum and the big stick is what is required initially but those people very quickly learn to take on that responsibility for their own actions and actually own that accountability.

So that's the second type of accountability.

So another type of accountability is people who want to do it in a collaborative way. So they want to be held accountable but they want to decide what they're going to be held accountable to. Obviously with my guidance and obviously I prefer that because that is better than me telling people what to do. I'll tell people what to do if I have to but it's much better when it's collaborative, there's more buy in and then you're working with them to decide what's the behaviour that they feel they can change right now, what are they capable of, what is their capacity like right now?

It's also a really good way of trying to find out what's important to them, what are they prioritizing. So that's another personality type with other people and again this is normally very early on in the journey people want to use fear for accountability.

It's not my favourite thing to do but some people do require a short sharp shock. They want to be told what the consequences of their current behaviour are.

So I can think of a situation with a previous client where they had a lot of health problems, they were very overweight, they were not very physically active, they were in their late forty s and there were potentially quite a lot of consequences in terms of heart health and this client was prediabetic as well.

So showing those people the consequences around longevity I mean longevity for their health and then the knock on effect on their business if they get sick they need to take time out of their business and usually these are people who are doing everything themselves, right? So when they go bang the business goes bang too right?

They know obviously these are smart people that I work with so they do know what those consequences are but they're either in denial or they've disassociated themselves from it.

But yeah, these people basically want to be kind of scared into accountability. And let me just say, none of these methods are right or wrong. They're just right for a particular person at a particular stage in their journey. If first of all, they get motivated by the big stick, they're not always going to be like that. We hopefully move on from the big stick to collaboration or from being scared into looking at the consequences, to collaboration, to ultimately becoming accountable rather than being held accountable.

So those are the ways that I motivate people or what some of my clients like to call my ninja mind tricks. I couldn't possibly comment. I have a client, actually, who calls me a sneaky little ninja quite often because she's very similar to me. I don't know why I'm being all kind of shrouding. Her a mystery. You can go and listen to a podcast that I did with her recently, an episode. It's my client Jofo. Now, she doesn't like being told what to do and she doesn't really like being held accountable. She's like me, oh, you want me to do this? Yeah, fuck you. I do what I want. So we're very similar. So I know that motivating her with a big stick, for example, is just going to be like, no, that is not going to work.

So yes, I do use sneaky little ninja mind tricks, as she calls them, on her. I am trained in CBT. I've done a bit of NLP, although I don't really use that much too much anymore. Motivational interviewing, lots of different techniques, a lot of behavioral change techniques, a lot of mindset stuff to kind of suggest causes of action to her. And then apparently she just ends up doing them by accident. She didn't even know that I'd suggested them. I mean, I don't know if that's completely true, but I'm just going to go with it and say, yes, Joe, that's exactly what's happening.

But I guess in conclusion, to say that it's really important to recognize that accountability in its more traditional form doesn't work for everybody and it doesn't work in the same way. It won't have the same outcome. And in fact, it's a journey that starts from being held accountable right through to becoming accountable for your own actions and then those actions become a part of your lifestyle because you see the benefits of it and it's just something you do. So that's it for this episode.

Thank you so much for listening to one of my weird little solo episodes where I just sit in a room and talk to myself. I would love to know what you thought of this episode. How do you keep yourself accountable? Do you need someone to help you do it? And which of those methods do you think works best for you? I will be back next week with another guest and until then, take care of yourself.



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