By Stefan Ianev
As a coach, being able to keep clients motivated, or better yet inspired, is perhaps the most important skill you can acquire. That is because it doesn’t matter how good your program is, if the client doesn’t follow it, or they don’t believe in themselves or their goal, they are not going to get the result they are after.
Over the years we have found that there are a handful of very effective practices that you can adopt with your clients to help them stay motivated and reach their goals.
1. Set a true goal
By far the most important thing you can do is help your clients set a true goal. A true goal is one that you would love to achieve simply because that is what you desire, and there are no conditions attached to it. Most people set goals with conditions attached or secondary intentions.
A common example is someone wanting to lose weight in order to feel better about themselves. This forces the person to pursue their goal out of desperation rather than inspiration. Goals set out of desperation are generally not sustainable because the end result is incongruent with the persons current identity. Someone who feels good about themselves to begin with is much more likely to achieve a lasting goal of weight loss if that is what they truly desire.
2. Write down the behaviours they are committed to each day
Each morning, or even better the night before, have your clients write down the behaviours they are committed to following through on for the day. By writing down your intended behaviours for the day you are making a written agreement with yourself which is harder to break than just saying you will do something.
Writing down your intended behaviours and ticking them off at the end of the day also makes you less likely to forget about them and gives you a sense of motivation and accomplishment which builds momentum.
3. Practice active meditation
Active meditation is a type of meditation which incorporates visualization. Each morning have your clients spend 5-10 minutes first thing when they wake up close their eyes and visualize themselves taking all the actions they need to take for the day, then seeing themselves having achieved their end goal. If they can also do it before bed, and once during the day even better!
This practice really helps reinforce the new desired behaviours and shift a persons identity by forming and strengthening new synaptic connections in the brain, while pruning apart synaptic connections linked to the persons old habits, beliefs, emotions, and identity. It literally rewires the brain!
4. Take measurements weekly
Taking weekly measurements such as weight, girths, and skinfolds helps keep clients more motivated and accountable because they have a way of tracking their progress towards their goal. When you are not seeing any visual changes, which can take longer to come about, and you have no other way of tracking your progress, it is really easy to fall offtrack.
In addition, when clients know they will need to take their measurements on a Monday, it helps keep them more accountable during the weekends where most people tend to fall offtrack.
5. Set performance goals
Some weeks the scale or girth measurements may not shift and that can lead to clients feeling deflated or upset with themselves. Setting performance goals in the gym alongside the measurement gives clients an extra means of measuring their progress and helps keep them more motivated in their workouts.
When clients can see their numbers in the gym going up, that is usually a sign that they are responding positively to the training stimulus, and changes in body composition should follow shortly after.