The fitness industry is notorious for promoting new year’s resolutions and goal-setting. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it makes for an easy sales pitch – people might feel guilty for all the cookies they ate over the holiday and for the lack of exercise during their winter travels making them ready to get back on track with their fitness goals. What if personal trainers promoted success at the end of the year just as hard as we promoted the resolutions at the beginning of the year? Setting habits and intentions during the last days of the year can set your clients up for the greatest success for the first days of the new year.
How long does it really take to make a change?
You’ve likely heard that it takes 21 days to establish a habit and it takes 90 days to create a lifestyle, but this isn’t an exact science for every individual. Regardless of how long it takes for an individual to establish habits, and lifestyles, the more thorough the approach and the longer the practice, the better the results will be.
Setting the Goal
When setting a goal with your clients, consider these 5 steps.
- Investigate: Have an open and honest conversation with your clients to nail down the “why” or the motivation for setting agoal.
- Identify Behaviors: Work with the client to identify behaviors that aid in achieving their intended outcome. Identify whether the behaviors related to the outcome are also related to nutrition, exercise commitment, schedule, etc.
- Set SMART Goals: Standard goal setting methods encourage Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/reward-based, and Time-defined (SMART) statements.
- Write it Out: Use this table to have your client write out their SMART goals.
- Identifying and Overcoming Obstacles:
- State the final completed goal incorporating each of the SMART goal elements.
- Identify any potential obstacles, barriers, or high-risk situations that may threaten your client’s progress.
- List strategies for overcoming those identified obstacles, barriers, or high-risk situations.
Tools for Success
Once your client has chosen the habit that they want to perform every day, every week, every month, etc., have them record when they perform it. Habit tracking can bring accountability and satisfaction to your client by giving them a visual representation of the habits they are establishing, ensuring their end of the year habits will successfully carry over into the new year.
Here are some ideas for ways to track habits:
- Calendars – This method helps clients commit to and follow through with their plans for the week. This can also be used to keep them accountable for their exercise prescription.
- Spreadsheets – This method can give your clients a visual representation of what it looks like when you increase good habits.
- Journaling – This is a great way for clients to start the day with their goals in mind. Putting pen to paper can be a very powerful tool to help wire the brain for behavior change.
- Apps – Apps like Momentum, Streaks, Productive Habit Tracker and many more are a perfect way to keep reminders for your habits with you all the time and integrate your habits into your tech life.
Start Succeeding Before the New year
By starting New Year’s habits before the new year, your clients can walk through January 1st with goal-oriented habits already established, and the self-efficacy and confidence to accomplish any goal they set for the rest of the year.