Any change that we as human beings want to see in our lives must always start from within our own minds. We must first choose what we want & then take the necessary action towards achieving what we desire. This goal setting is fairly easy for most people but the consistent action it takes to achieve our goals is much harder. When someone decides to work with a personal trainer they have already made up their mind that they are ready for a change. They may want to lose weight, gain muscle, prepare for a half marathon or a combination of things. Their goals have been partially set. The training manuals will then tell personal trainers to assist their clients in setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, & Time-Bound). This is a great way to map out a path to success, to motivate and help them take the necessary action towards achieving their goals. But what happens when their motivation starts to fade and their will power is constantly being tested? Motivation is great to get things moving and it is almost always high in the beginning of any process of change. Will power is another useful tool that we can call on when we need it but will power and motivation are not sustainable. Our motivation and will power come and go like the ocean tides. So what else can we call on to help achieve the goals we set for ourselves?
We must go back to our own minds and search within ourselves for WHY we want to achieve our goals. I’m not talking about our superficial why (extrinsic goal to lose 15 pounds for a summer vacation). This can be obtained by using the traditional methods above but what happens once we achieve this goal or fail to achieve it? What other desires or wants do we have in life? Maybe we have kids and want to continue to live a healthy lifestyle to set an example for our children, to teach them about the importance of nutrition and exercise. This is an intrinsic goal that can provide lasting change unlike the short term extrinsic goals.
We as personal trainers must ask our clients thought provoking questions to help them reveal their true WHY, their driving force. Lasting change comes from this place, deep in our character, our principles. Once our WHY is revealed and in the forefront of our minds then we are living with PURPOSE! This driving force will help us take the necessary action towards achievement when our motivation and will power have diminished. I like to think of it as an anchor or a beacon light that helps guide the way. Something we can always grab onto for guidance when the inevitable resistance comes our way. (fears, distractions, setbacks, etc.)