Take Responsibility for Yourself

“Even if it’s not your fault, it’s your responsibility.” This quote by Terry Pratchett has been on my mind for a while now, and it’s our quote of the week in this week’s Viking Lore. The essence of it is personal accountability. When you take responsibility for your path forward, you have empowered yourself. No one is coming to save you, so buck up and take the reins yourself.


Numerous conversations about metaphysics and religion show an overwhelming aversion to this idea. Many people are afraid of personal responsibility because it requires tearing down the masks we’ve built for ourselves. True self-honesty is HARD. It’s much easier to play the victim, make excuses, and place the blame on something external. And it may be comforting for some to pray to a higher being for salvation from their current predicament. Even if that higher power presents a solution, I guarantee it’s going to require effort on your part. The outcome will be the same – self-empowerment through personal responsibility.

Moving out of the metaphysical and into the practical, let’s look at some real world examples of personal responsibility in the fitness world. Many people struggle to lose weight. Their weight gain may not be their fault. It might be the result of pregnancy. Maybe they bought into the low fat craze of the 90’s, or some other misinformation they thought they could trust. Maybe they went into the world of investment banking, or became surgical residents, where they routinely work 100+ hours per week, leaving little time to focus on their own health and wellness. Maybe they really do suffer from a thyroid disorder.

There are numerous reasons why people can gain weight. The question is, what are they going to do about it? Blaming the [insert reason here] isn’t helpful. Blame never solves the problem. Identifying the cause MAY be helpful in finding a solution if it’s something we can change. In the instance of weight loss, our own habits are often one of the primary factors preventing our success. And it may be difficult, but that is something we absolutely can change. And this is where personal responsibility, and some self-tough love, come in.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken with who give me some version of “oh, I eat good. Meat and veggies, mostly.” Right. And those 4 nightly glasses of rosé fit into which category? Fruit, I guess, because wine comes from grapes? Many people also insist that they get enough protein and drink enough water. When we have them track both of those things, it becomes immediately apparent that they are woefully under on both.

There is a reason that macro/meal tracking is associated with an immediate improvement in nutrition (provided that food is being tracked honestly). When we are holding ourselves accountable, we automatically self-correct. We eat healthier BECAUSE we are tracking, and we feel ashamed of logging the gluttonous feast we might normally have on a Saturday night.

That brings us to the next delusion many people have when it comes to fat loss/nutrition. Many coaches push the 80/20 rule. For sustainability in any nutritional approach, this is a great rule. It means that the client is 80% compliant and can indulge a bit 20% of the time. Most people seem to think this means they can be 100% rigid during the week, and then go off the rails on the weekend. Breaking this down on a daily basis means they are compliant 5 out of 7 days. This is 71%. To be 80% compliant, they would need 6 out of 7 days. ‘

Or, assuming we go by meals, and assuming 3 meals per day (21 per week), to be 80% compliant, 17 meals need to be on point. As we’ve established, most people go off on weekends, and are getting 15 out of 21 that are complying. And then they wonder why they aren’t making progress. Again, they fail to take responsibility.

The point of all this is not to shame, and it’s not to discourage. The point is that with a little self-reflection, and brutal self-honesty, YOU can determine why you’re not making progress. Are you really being compliant with your coaches’ guidance, or are you forgetting to record that little, 100 calorie Snickers bar you have every day with lunch? Are you training with intent most of the time, or do you find yourself mailing it in more often than not? Are you really having 1 serving of bourbon, or is it a Coach Erik sized pour? These details matter.


When you’re willing to look honestly into your own habits, you can make accurate assessments about where you need to improve. This is what self-responsibility looks like. Remove emotion from the equation – it only serves to cloud your judgement. And frankly, this is the benefit of working with a coach. We can hold up that mirror for you to see yourself, and we don’t judge. You shouldn’t either. It’s just data. Finally, reframe your thinking. Self-reflection and accountability shouldn’t be scary. Yes, it can be difficult. But it empowers you to get the results you want. To me, that is overwhelmingly positive. See you in the gym.

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