Bensky’s Accountability Chart

Dr Bensky on accountability, support from family, and the shared lifestyle challenges we all encounter.

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to 2024!

Something powerful happened to me a few months ago, and I want to share it with you.

I was on the phone to a patient and asked him how he was going? He responded,   “I’m doing really well, my energy levels are much better and I’ve still got Bensky’s Accountability Chart going in full swing.”

A wave of emotions swept over me. On the one hand I was thrilled that something I had suggested to him was having a profoundly positive impact on his quality of life. 

On the other hand, I was embarrassed for not having kept up my own advice. I feared him asking about whether I had been keeping up with my charts, and why I had not published any more Youtube videos?

It never ceases to awe and amaze me how complex and richly layered we are as human beings. The joys and vexations of being “human” are deeply fascinating albeit mind-blowingingly frustrating.

Mid 2023, my mother was keen to encourage me to do some more regular exercise. She saw that the challenges of trying to set up a new general practice were having a significant impact on my own self care. And so, she offered to pay for me to have a personal trainer a few times each week!

Her intention was to create a greater sense of commitment and accountability for my own health. The routine of having a PT knock at the front door for a work-out was a way of “forcing” me to exercise.

I thanked Mum for her care and concern and countered her offer with an alternative. I would set up an “accountability chart,” where I would commit to exercise for at least 25 mins, 4 times per week. Instead of mum paying the PT, if I managed to do this for 4 consecutive weeks, then I would “earn” a reward.

Although it wasn’t a lot of money, on more than one occasion, you would find me on a Saturday night on the treadmill, making sure I got in my fourth and final session for the week!

As I sit here and reflect on this it still seems so confusing.

Why should a small reward have an impact on whether or not I do something that is really important to my wellbeing? 

Why can’t I simply put into action those things that I know to be important?

Over the coming months I intend to explore these questions further to try and get to know myself better. But in the meantime, I also want to exercise more consistently so I can be healthier.

To this end I have recommitted myself to a simple accountability chart. I have picked a small and manageable goal of 25 minutes of continuous exercise, four times per week.

Being someone who tends to be “visual,” I have printed 4 weeks worth of charts to display on my consult room’s wall, and will always have 2 more weeks of charting ahead of me so I never finish my chart.

I have also set up an incentive program so that anytime one of my children exercise with me, they get a small but meaningful prize.

You might be asking yourself, Russell, why are you telling me all this? My simple answer is that I like to share what I am learning.

King Solomon wrote “there is nothing new under the sun”. My challenges are not new, not to me, and not to others. We all grapple with issues of motivation, consistency and accountability, some more than others..

I am of the view that the more we talk about these issues, the better it is for all of us. By creating opportunities for collective dialogue and support, we are all more likely to succeed!

I look forward to seeing you at the practice, and having the opportunity to talk to you about how we can work towards being the best version of ourselves.

With Enriching care,
Dr Russell Bensky