As fitness instructors, we all look forward to the new beginnings, new habits, new energy, and transformations. Our clients come in with shiny new resolutions and goals. A we have the rewarding job of helping them succeed at their health and wellness goals.
Fast Company and other smarty-pants resources suggest using SMART goals. The best place to start is helping your client shape their resolution into a SMART goal which means it needs to be specific, measurable, assignable (Hey, guess what? You get the assignment), realistic, and time-related.
1. Is the goal moderately difficult, not too easy and not too hard?Research suggests that people are most successful when they pick a moderately difficult goal to achieve because they tend to put the most effort into it. If the goal is too challenging or too easy, they will put in less effort.
If you’re supporting someone who has pick a goal that is not challenging for them to achieve, ask what is their subsequent step after they reach the this “first step”? Conversely, if you’re helping someone with an extremely difficult goal, try breaking it down into smaller goals that are realistic and achievable.
2. Suggest the goal be solidified with the reasons or intentions behind it.
They should be very clear about why they want to reach this goal. Ask them how success will feel? Ask with success, what opportunities will open in their life? Ask who else will benefit from their achievement- A spouse, child, employer? If they can’t express what is driving the change, chances are they will not have the commitment it takes to succeed.
3. Determine a timeline for success.
If their goal is to run a marathon, there’s certainly a clear event date. But what if the goal is a harder-to-measure lifestyle change like eating healthier? What will be the end date? Often open-ended goals become lost in our hectic lives. Helping a client create a timeframe will help them stay on track. Have them calendar their plan out, with their goal labeled at the end of the timeline. Add their in between goals as notes to your own calendar so you can check in with your clients about their progress when you see them and help them re-evaluate their progress and next steps.
4. Identify the signposts that signal you’re on track.
These are the smaller achievements that your client needs to reach on their way to their big goal. If the goal is to lose 10 pounds, the smaller goals can be 2, 5 and 7 pounds, or they can be increase in muscle mass, work with a Dietitian, and be consistent in working out.
5. Identify yourself with your goal and with the signpost achievements.
Motivation teacher Anthony Robbins believes that change does not last long term unless the changes become a part of our identity. So in order for your client to achieve their goal, they need to begin to see working towards the goal as a standard by which they live.
6. Set-up reminders that signal memory of key motivators.
Reading a sticky note or a calendar reminder can help your client tap back into the intention behind their goal and keep them moving towards it even when they want to throw in the towel. Throw out a few suggestions based on your client’s habits of ways they can remind themselves of why they’re putting in all this effort. It could be as simple as changing the wallpaper on their smartphone.
7. Plan to eat the goal like it’s an elephant.
The key to achieving long-term goals is baby steps and taking it one day at a time. Don’t let them rush it and burn out. Openly discuss burnout, overtraining, and make sure they understand the need to go slow, one bite of the elephant at a time. (Not that I would condone eating an elephant...elephants are awesome!)
8. Suggest they partner up with like-minded people.
Chances are that someone else has struggled or is struggling to achieve the same goal. Look into finding and setting them up with a buddy that is on their path. There are endless clubs, support groups, and online forums available. Interacting with like-minded people will tip the odds of success in their favor.