How do you help your clients and class participants stick to the goals the sat for themselves in January? Motivating them throughout the entire year can be exhausting and overwhelming.
As a fitness professional, do you annually mark your calendar by observing the tide of people in the gym or attending your classes? January brings out all the “I’m finally doing it this year” exercisers and by March at least half have given up. May causes a short burst with bathing suits season approaching but that only lasts for a month or two. Another burst comes in September when all the kids are back in school and worn out parents finally find time for fitness. Here are simple suggestions for helping clients strive for consistency and actually reach their goals.
Remind your clients how exciting it is to see changes in their body as they progress through your exercise and nutrition plans. Being patient is something many people struggle with but reminding them that impatience will disrupt the path to the goals they sat and can lead far from where they want to be.
Haven’t we all said “Well I ate that pizza for lunch so I might as well call the whole day a cheat day.” It takes time and commitment to change unhealthy habits. It may take weeks, months, or even years to truly adapt a healthy lifestyle. Help your clients concentrate on one meal, one workout, one day at a time to prevent their impatience from sabotaging them.
Help them not to dwell on the failures because everyone takes a step backwards now and then. Advise them to try to see failures as a learning opportunity and find an approach to avoid making the same mistake twice.
For example, if you know your client has a weakness for potato chips and that they have confessed to you about eating the whole bag in one setting, help them figure out ways to avoid that pitfall. Maybe you encourage them to not eat from the bag or if possible, do not purchase them in the first place. Challenge them to avoid that aisle in the grocery store all together.
Also, help your client visualize themselves overcoming the obstacle. Whether it is visualizing eating only one serving out of the whole bag of potato chips or refusing to purchase them at all, it will help them to resist that temptation in the future. Psych your client up for success!
Another approach to curbing their impatience is to help your client recognize their successes. Point out all of the small steps you've helped them take toward reaching their goals. Fo example, your client wants to lose 20 pounds but they are getting discouraged because it is taking too long. Help them celebrate their progress by reminding them that they packed a healthy lunch of protein and veggies three times this week or avoided the doughnuts at a meeting or they were at the gym or taking a class an extra time this week. Whatever it is, remind your client how good it felt to accomplish even the smallest step in the right direction.
Those are all serious accomplishments deserving a ton of credit! Once your client has experienced a few successes help them to build on those to achieve their goals this time.