Do you often find yourself setting up fitness and nutrition goals only have them fall through because you lose your motivation along the way? PT Operations Manager at Vision Personal Training, Gavin Aquilina shares how you can keep your mental game strong to keep your goals active.
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Finding your ‘why’
Every journey begins with a single step. But your chances of succeeding on that journey are heavily dependent on your mindset as you prepare to take that step. What is your end goal? What do you want to achieve and how? Answering questions like these are the key to finding your way. So before you start, make the time to ask yourself, “Why?”
A common goal among those engaging the services of a personal trainer is simply to lose weight. If one of my clients says that their goal is to lose five kilograms in 10 weeks, I use this information as the gateway to finding out why this is so important to them.
The reality is that discovering the ‘why’ behind goals is anything but simple. Looking good and feeling better are outcomes – results of a goal achieved – but not the reason behind your desire to achieve that outcome. Each person’s own individual ‘why’ is rooted in their emotions. So ask yourself – what emotions are driving you and will they be enough to get you over the line?
Understanding your emotional body
When delving deeper, you are likely to discover that your ‘why’ relates closely to the desire to grow your confidence in yourself. For instance, you might want to feel better about your body when you’re stripping down at the beach. You want to be able to trust that your body is physically capable of playing with your kids. Maybe your only desire is simply to be able to keep up with your grandchildren, so you don’t miss out on enjoying time with them while they’re still young. Perhaps you want to get your health under control so you can live more independently and age gracefully. But why do you want these things?
Where does your ‘why’ come from?
The first and most common category is ‘hurt’ – pain can be a powerful driving force and can easily drive people to want to change. If someone is hurting emotionally, their ‘why’ comes easily. If you no longer feel comfortable in your own skin, or have discovered that you don’t look or feel like you did when you were younger, then your ‘why’ stems from the ‘hurt’ category. If your hurt is that you aren’t happy with the way you look in a bikini, then your ‘why’ is that you want to feel more confident at the beach and enjoy the moment with your friends and family instead of being overcome with insecurity. Does this sound like you?
If not, then perhaps your ‘why’ comes from the second category – ‘needs’. Different from pain, the ‘needs’ behind a goal can vary hugely from person to person. Perhaps you are at risk of developing diabetes, or you are pregnant and want to give your baby the best chance of being healthy. If this is the case, then your ‘need’ is to improve your health, and the ‘why’ is to give your child the best possible start in life.
The last category is ‘want’. Give yourself the opportunity to visualise what you would love to achieve if there was nothing holding you back. Are you looking to challenge yourself, or is there something you want to prove to yourself that you can do? For me personally, participating in triathlons gives me the satisfaction of being able to finish a gruelling physical challenge. Achieving that goal gives me the confidence I need to accomplish whatever I put my mind to, and that’s my ‘why’ in a nutshell.
Fine tuning your how
While a ‘why’ will vary between people, it is still your own personal motivator for when things get tough and you’re considering throwing in the towel. With the right ‘why’, establishing goals and completing sessions with your personal trainer will be that much easier.
But how do you maintain the clarity and consistency of focus to push through a challenge that is begging to slow you down? Keeping your ‘why’ at the forefront to remind yourself that the payoff is a far greater reward than the sacrifice it takes to achieve it, is a great way to start.
Six ways to stay on track
Invest in a personal trainer:
A personal trainer will:
– Remind you of your goals,
– Hold you and empower you to hold yourself accountable,
– Push you to achieve something you may have never thought you could,
– Provide support when times get tough, and
– Offer you a variety of different tips and tricks to make lifestyle changes for the long haul
Start with an action plan:
Think about your goals, your fears and your ‘why’. As a personal trainer, I like to drill down and ask the difficult questions to help people get the most out of their sessions. But it’s also important to feel empowered when talking about your goals, so don’t set goals that you don’t want to achieve.
Write it down:
It’s a good idea to keep notes in multiple places so that it’s always present in your life. Try sticking notes in places like the fridge or your computer monitor. Really think about where you’ll benefit from having reminders of your goals – if your ‘why’ is to feel comfortable in your own skin, place a reminder on your bathroom mirror and practice positive self-talk. If it’s about cutting down unhealthy snacking, leave a note in the pantry reminding you to stay strong.
Add a mini-mantra to your morning routine:
It’s good to get into the habit of beginning each day with a positive mindset. Remember, you are creating a positive change for yourself, and you need to appreciate your body for where it’s at and how far you’ve come. Celebrate the wins, no matter how small.
Share your thoughts and goals:
Vocalising your goals to your personal trainer, friends or trusted family members is a great way to stay accountable for your progress. Embrace your studio’s online community – everyone is on their own journey and it’s important for you to understand that you will be supported, no matter where you are.
Reset and refocus:
It’s so easy for old habits to resurface, remember to always look forward and don’t let the past drag you down. Carve out some time to find the same emotional kick you had when you first started, and refocus on your goals. Never give up!