Motivation and the Process of Change: Step 3

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14570368_10154537968423607_8530988642847079589_nWe have asked the question: Are Your Clients Ready?
We have taken essential steps to get our Clients Internally Motivated.

Now it is time to discuss goals. We know that helping client set goals and keep those goals is a big part of our jobs, but how do you really make those goals stick….and work?

Step 3. Help Your Clients Set SMART Goals

Try having your clients write down anything they have ever thought of achieving with regards to their own individual health and fitness. Ask them which goal, if they achieved it, would make this year unbelievable? The only rule with this wish list is that none of their goals can be related to their body. Have them stay away from listing a goal such as losing 10 pounds or 4 inches off their hips. Keep this list positive and focused away from body image.

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Many clients take this approach – ‘As soon as I lose the weight/get fit, then I’ll start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do”. But try helping them take this approach…..set the goal and in the process of training for the event or activity they’ve always wanted to do and along the way they will lose the weight and get fit! And it’s such a positive, motivating focus.

Haven’t you noticed that when someone succeeds at a goal such running a 10k or completing their first sprint triathlon…they inherently look towards the next goal? So, they want to attempt a half marathon, full marathon, a challenging hike, biathlon etc. It’s a positive spiral. Whereas with weight loss, it’s a negative spiral.  They lose the 10 pounds but they are still not happy.  They then desire to lose another 5 pounds and get rid of this fat and so on and so on. Some of our clients who have had the most ‘perfect’ bodies have been those that struggled with their body image the most! For all these reasons, try to keep the focus away from Body Image and instead focus on behaviors, events and actions. 

Helping your clients set realistic goals is the key to success.  But it is not enough for them to say, “I want to get into shape”.  Effective and realistic goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward-based and have a Time frame.  Here are some examples of SMART goal setting:

  • Hike the Grand Canyon for 1 week this May
  • Run on the treadmill for 10 minutes 3x/week by November 3rd
  • Resistance train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until December 31st
  • Train for and complete the Half Marathon on September 10th
  • Exercise on the cardio machines for one hour without stopping by February 1st
  • Work out with a personal trainer 2x/week
  • Sign up for the Scuba Diving course that starts March 1st
  • Drink 6 glasses of water every day by June 1st
  • Eat 5 small meals/snacks every day by March 1st

Each goal is clear, easy to measure and has a deadline. You will also notice that none of the goals that I have suggested include anything about body weight or size. Deciding to lose 10 pounds is an “Outcome-oriented” goal.  As we mentioned, we prefer to use “Behavior or Action-oriented” goals.

But don’t stop there. Successful goal setting requires two more things. Be prepared to reassess and reevaluate your clients’ goals on a regular basis and have them reward themselves once they have achieved a goal. For example, have your clients treat themselves to a massage, a new outfit or a trip. Then set your clients’ sights on the next goal. Have your clients go back to their goals and attach a reward to each one. Be sure that the reward is motivating enough to encourage your clients to stick to the plan.

Yours in health, fitness & business,
Sherri McMillan

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