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A new way to set goals

What does health look like to you?

All too often, as trainers and coaches we come across people that have an image in their mind of what their “best, healthiest, fittest, and happiest” self could look like. These people graciously seek out our knowledge to help them achieve this *higher self* and both coach and client jump into the personalized plan with heart eyes, high hopes, and excitement.

When talking with other trainers, I find that the frustrating piece of this is that the “end goal” is (more times than not) not achieved. This is frustrating for both parties; as trainers, we know we have the tools to help our clients achieve this state of health that will hopefully bring with it happiness, confidence and ease. As clients, you are putting in effort as well as monetary investments, and not getting the result you are seeking.

At SpeciFit, we pride ourselves on providing plans that are 100% individualized to a client’s goals. So we are left a little confounded- are our plans incorrect? Is the client doing the work they say they are? Can we do more (send more reminder texts, provide more programming, add more diet limitations) to get clients rolling in the right direction?

Where I believe the disconnect lies, and what we will cover in this blog series, is that initial goal setting. We encourage clients to make SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time oriented)- but I believe goal setting needs to go much deeper than this. If a client sets a goal to lose 10 lbs in two months, we can easily provide a plan that will help the client get to that goal. No problem, right?

Wrong. We can provide accountability, workouts, nutrition coaching, reminders, cheerleading, amongst anything else the client thinks they *need* to get to that goal. However, if the goal doesn’t actually work for the client, it will never happen. And it is important that both the coach and the client can see this fault in the goal itself, and not in either person.

“How can a goal be wrong for a client if it’s what they want?” Glad you asked!

The actual process, the “plan” that the client will need to adhere to in order to get to this goal can be the limiting factor. In the example above, the plan will probably include meal prepping, exercising regularly, saying no to some social things that will involve unhealthy choices, cutting down on alcohol and/or sugar, going to bed earlier, drinking more water, etc.

It’s possible that the client wants to lose 10lbs, but does not *want* to do one, two, or any of the things I mentioned above.

In your head right now you just said “haha ok well then they won’t reach their goal.” Right? Right. That’s exactly it. And the flaw here is not lack of discipline on the client’s part, it’s that the actual goal (losing 10lbs) does not have enough real value over other things in the client’s life. Therefore, the client doesn’t *want* to lose 10lbs, because the client doesn’t *want* to take the steps to lose 10lbs. This is like saying a client wants to run a marathon but does not want to do 1, 2, or all of the training runs. You’d say to that client “well you probably shouldn’t run a marathon then.”

Even if a client is willing to do all of the steps to lose 10lbs, once they have reached that goal, are they willing to keep some of the lifestyle changes that will be essential for keeping that 10lbs off? Or will it creep back in a couple months’ time, leaving the client feeling deflated, discouraged, and confused?

At SpecfiFit, we also pride ourselves in taking a slow and steady approach to both fitness and nutrition habits. Building habits into a client’s life one at a time shows the client that the habits can be manageable over a long period- but it also can show both the client and the trainer that perhaps that particular habit change isn’t going to work.

In the next blog post, we will talk about making time for your health because I don’t care who you are, if health is your priority, you have time for it. Maybe not as much time as myself or your partner or your neighbor, but you have it. Until then, consider what health looks like in YOUR life. Remember that it may not look like anyone else’s; particularly those you follow on social media. Write some notes down on what the intersection of healthy and happy looks like for you- and we will see you here next week!

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