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Motivation is what causes us to act, and when we act, we create movement, growth, and change; we feel involved, masterful, and significant; we feel powerful through experiencing how we can change the world; and we create more of what we love in our lives.

But how do I become motivated?! And why is motivation important?

At FitAgain we often have clients who join us with a significant lack of motivation. This could be due to trying various unrealistic diets that are demoralising to stick to. The clients can lose interest in fitness as they’re not seeing the results they desire due to inconsistent workouts or not doing the exercise properly. Or they were expecting a quick fix and it didn’t happen. No focus or goal leads to us giving up, motivation plummets and it’s easier to stick to old habits. No wonder you’re left asking yourself “why do I lack motivation”!

Circle of Blame

Sadly the fitness industry is greatly designed for the client to “fall off the wagon”, blame yourself for the failure and do the whole thing again. Therefore, creating a vicious circle of blame.

This then generates income for the industry, meaning clients think they are to blame. Well you aren’t.

Correct coaching will prevent you from going down the vicious circle route and wasting thousands of pounds going nowhere. So how do I do this we hear you ask?

Let’s start with, what is motivation?

We can break motivation broken down into two areas:

Intrinsic motivation refers to the spontaneous tendency “to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacity, to explore, and to learn” (Ryan and Deci, 2000, p.70). When intrinsically motivated, we can engage in an activity because we find it interesting and inherently satisfying. This could be discovering a new sport that interests you, or you try resistance training for the first time, or eat clean meals that actually taste good!

The second is extrinsic motivation. When extrinsically motivated, people engage in an activity to obtain reward, avoid punishment, or achieve a valued outcome. For instance, completing a 5k parkrun and receiving a medal at the end. For others, seeing the numbers on the scales fall and friends and family commenting on how good you look!

Knowing this can be helpful when developing new behaviours, but become a barrier when changing old habits.

Making motivation effective

SDT (Self Determination Theory) suggests that intrinsic motivation is the most influential in predicting long-term changes in behaviour. Therefore the personal trainer’s job of creating a programme which clients enjoy is essential to harness independent exercisers.

However we must recognise that we don’t simply have to enjoy an activity to make a habit out of it.

We all do things daily, such as putting a seat belt on every time we go into the car, but this is not intrinsically motivated behaviour. This is a habit that is formed through repetition.

Every time we get into the car, we are cued to put it on whether verbally (when we were younger) or an indication. This shows that we can make permanent changes through repetition without enjoying the experience. Eventually we don’t even think about it.

Each client must bear in mind both extrinsic and intrinsic methods to help motivate them. Sometimes we can make the exercise enjoyable; for others make the experience enjoyable; for others they may just endure it for the reward!

How to foster habit change

Our job at FitAgain is to provide the right environment, support and guidance. This will allow you to make habits out of the things you don’t like doing but know they have to be done to reach your goal.

We, as personal trainers, are there to raise your confidence to help you keep up these behaviours. Our role is to reward you for the effort you’ve put in and help build lasting changes to your habits. We do this through the power of goal setting.

At FitAgain we really recognise the importance of goal setting and how significant it can be.

What’s goal setting?

Goal setting is when we break down your ultimate dream that seems impossible to reach into smaller, short term goals. Making the bigger goal easier to achieve by taking smaller steps to reach it.

As with with motivation, we can break these goals down into 2 stages.

Outcome goals are what you wish to achieve within a set timeframe. This can also be known as short term, medium term and long term goals.

Process goals are action-orientated behaviours that relate to the outcome goal. These are what our clients focus on, i.e. what they do tomorrow, next day, and the next till we see them again.

Goal setting theory

At FitAgain we believe in the 7 step goal setting theory – try it!

7 step goal setting theory

  1. DREAM BIG! What:

    I want to lose 20kg.

  2. Emotionalise your dream – Why:

    I will feel happy, I will love myself and I will have more energy to play with my children.

  3. Break it down – Outcome goals:

    Lose 5kg on a kick start plan, then maintain weight after.

  4. Add a timeline – Accountability:

    Lose 5kg in November, then 3kg each month after for 5 more months.

  5. Develop a clear action plan – Process goals:

    Eat breakfast at least 5 times a week.
    Complete x2 sessions of resistance training with my personal trainer.
    Run 10 miles in total before Sunday.
    Drink at least 2 litres of water per day.

  6. Assess progress – Review:

    Tick each process goal off a week later.

  7. Reward success:

    Go out for Sunday lunch as an award.

We’ll leave you with this motivational quote to help inspire your journey:

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started!

Fearless Motivation