February 23rd, 2011 by Digestive Detective
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the IDEA Health & Fitness Association Personal Trainer Institute in Alexandria, Virginia. This annual event brings together the best minds in fitness to share insights and education for the industry. Top level professionals and those aspiring to elevate their abilities gather to learn from one another so they can then impart their new-found lessons to their clients and businesses.
I attended a variety of workshops on functional training, corrective exercise, flexibility & joint integrity throughout the 3-day conference. My final session was entitled "Motivational Strategies for Client Lifestyle Change." Typically the very last session of the conference is scant in attendance as many professionals opt to leave early to catch flights back home; however, this session was jam-packed. The reason why this particular lecture was so well-attended is simple: creating lifestyle change with clients is CHALLENGING. Developing motivational strategies that elicit positive change in a person's life is dependent upon many variables:
- Their stage of readiness
- Mental/emotional drivers
- Support systems at home
These are just a few of the primary factors for change and many more can exist depending on the individual. The key to seeing real results in any goal you seek to achieve boils down to one thing: COMMITMENT.
Commitment is King
Commitment carries us through if and when motivation changes (and it will). There are several types of commitment that may drive you to adhere to a goal or program:
Survival relates to our basic instinctive drive to avoid life-threatening/life-altering health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Family can create commitment when you consider that in order to truly be there for your family, you must be healthy; that you will be happier and better for them when healthier. Work can really imply not only our occupations, but any tasks we want to achieve with the idea being that the better health we possess, the more we'll be able to accomplish. Lastly, and most importantly, well-being points us to where our deep commitment should be - to that place where we can be healthy and feel well every day as a result of our habits.
You Can't Hit a Target You Can't See
Commitment is essential, but without a specific, action-oriented goal, it leads us to vacillate or feel unsure about what we truly want to achieve. To set a specific goal or target, look into the future towards what you WANT TO BE; what will your newly acquired health, strength, energy, etc. afford you the opportunity to do and be? Set the long-term goal of what you want to be, and then as your short-term goals, set ACTIONS. The actions you set are part of the process of how you eventually reach your more long-term goal. Short-term action steps provide feedback and small victories along the way so that you can enjoy the process and feel rewarded.
As you set forth the actions you plan to accomplish, also write down the possible problems/obstacles that could arise and their solutions. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym every day after work, what will you do if you have to work late? If your aiming to get in that weekly yoga class, what will you do if it gets canceled one week? If you commit to not eating sugar, what will you do/say when offered that piece of office birthday cake? Write out all the potential barriers you can think of and plot out alternative solutions IN ADVANCE; that way you will be well-prepared when the obstacles come your way.
Enjoy The Moment
One of my mentors Todd Durkin sent an email this morning describing an experience he is having with one of his clients/athletes. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Todd, he is one of the top personal trainers in the country and trains a number of professional athletes including Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. He is in the process of preparing one of his up and coming athletes for the NFL Combine. The potential rookie is in good hands with Todd, but even more so as he is surrounded by current pros who have lent him advice throughout this training. Their number one piece of advice as he prepares for the intensive combine: "Relax, don’t make the test bigger than it is, and enjoy the moment."
I think this advice can apply to each of us as we strive to stay motivated and committed towards our goals - don't stress about where you are, and enjoy the PROCESS of creating a healthier, happier you. Stay positive, focus on your best effort EVERY DAY and know that every day counts.
"Habits rule the unreflecting herd." - William Wadsworth