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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Expert Advice: 14 Tips to Help Clients Meet Health & Fitness Resolutions

Expert Advice: 14 Tips to Help Clients Meet Health & Fitness Resolutions

Reading Time: 8 minutes


DATE: 2023-01-24

From connecting with an accountability buddy to creating motivational loops, here are 14 tips to help you or your clients stay committed to New Year’s resolutions and everyday health and fitness goals:

  1. Get Yourself an Accountability Buddy 

  2. Make Them Part of a Motivated Team

  3. Let Them Recommit When They Fail

  4. Monitor Progress with Check-Ins 

  5. Gamify Your Client's Experience to Produce Epic Results

  6. Focus on Sustainability

  7. Set Milestones

  8. Achieve a No-Excuse Healthier Lifestyle

  9. Let Go of the “All-or-Nothing” Approach 

  10. Break It Down to Short-Term

  11. Get Eight Hours of Good Sleep

  12. Provide Reminders with Alerts

  13. Set a Plan and Make Realistic Goals

  14. Create a Motivational Loop

Get Yourself an Accountability Buddy 

Professional health and fitness trainers may suggest to their clients that they team up with at least one other person who is also working on a similar goal. Having an "accountability buddy" can be highly effective in helping people stay consistent and dedicated to change. 

A shared commitment between participants creates a sense of collaboration and community, which can help everyone stay focused on success. Suggesting weekly check-ins, celebrating small wins together, or sending inspirations or achievements via text or email are all helpful tools that trainers can recommend for strengthening accountability between partners.

Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder & CEO, OSDB Sports

Learn more: How to Provide Accountability Training as a Personal Trainer

Make Them Part of a Motivated Team

There's always a mix of clientele for a health and fitness environment, and professionals can very well use this arrangement to their advantage. In forming a team with the right mix, professionals can have clients who require motivation to find inspiration from others in their group who are self-motivated and highly driven, while also offering these accomplished performers the satisfaction of inspiring others. 

A win-win arrangement for everyone involved, working in a team, also helps participants ask for timely advice and guidance while finding positive motivation at every step.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Founding Director, Aspiring Families

Let Them Recommit When They Fail

Recommitting resolutions can be a challenge for many clients. Health and fitness professionals should strive to ensure that their clients stay on track in order to achieve their goals. Support, understanding, and accountability can help strengthen motivation and drive commitment. 

A great way to encourage clients is by reinforcing why they set the goal in the first place, revisiting progress regularly, and celebrating big and small successes. Recommitting at each stage of the journey helps them stick with the program, build confidence in themselves, and guide them in achieving their desired outcome.

Jim Campbell, CEO, Campbell Online Media

Monitor Progress with Check-Ins 

Even after you've discussed and documented their objectives, you still have to ensure they are followed through. Plan frequent check-in calls, especially for new clients who are just beginning or are resuming their fitness journey. 

Additionally, make sure you frequently converse with them to keep them inspired and address any queries or worries they may have in between conversations. Continue tracking the development and highlighting their individual bests. Users will see it each time they access the app. 

Tracking an exercise that may be difficult for them so they can monitor their progress over time is a fantastic motivation you may employ. Nothing is more satisfying than progressing from a few kneeling to ten complete push-ups! To help them understand how strong they've gotten, you may send them the graph of their development for a particular activity.

Isaac Robertson, Fitness Trainer & Co-Founder, Total Shape

Gamify Your Client's Experience to Produce Epic Results

One of the best tips health and fitness professionals can use to help their clients stick to their new resolutions is engaging them in creative, active activities. By choosing activities that use the client's interests, motivation levels are likely to be higher, making it easier for them to stay on track.

Incorporating movements, such as game-based activities or group challenges, can help break up sedentary times and add a bit of fun to the equation. Overall, utilizing creative strategies that involve physical activity and focus on an individual's interests is a great way to keep people engaged and committed to meeting their resolutions.

Jimmy Minhas, Founder & CEO, GerdLi

Focus on Sustainability 

Having good intentions is all very well, but those intentions are useless if you can't actually see them through. Therefore, any resolutions you make need to be sustainable for at least six months. 

Let's say you want to increase your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) by walking more; if you were to set yourself a target of 15,000 steps every day, that may be unrealistic and unachievable given your current lifestyle. 

You may execute for a few weeks, but you'll quickly find that it's just too difficult to maintain long-term, and you give up and slip back into your old habits (i.e., barely doing any NEAT). If‌ you were to set a more realistic and achievable target of, say, 10,000 steps per day, you may actually stick to it relatively easily. 

As you keep sticking to your target, motivation to keep doing so will snowball, creating a compounding effect that means this will simply become a habit that you execute on autopilot every day!

Joe Johnson, Owner, 9 To 5 Nutrition

Learn more: How to Calculate and Improve Your Resting Metabolic Rate

Set Milestones

One of my fitness resolutions that I've had a lot of success with is to slowly decrease the fat percentage in my body. My personal trainer didn't just walk me through a far-reaching goal, but set milestones along the way so my journey would have attainable achievements. 

When we met for the first time, we discussed what I was looking to get out of a personal trainer and what my goals were for my body. He listened to me and detailed 18 milestones over six months that would mark the path toward my goal of having less than 11% body fat. 

This has been incredibly helpful for me. I wasn't just given a goal and left to follow a leader on the way there. I had these milestones to look forward to. Some of these milestones were fat percentage markers (I started at 27% body fat), but some of them were cool mini-goals, like doing 10 pull-ups or running a mile in under seven minutes. I would recommend any health or fitness professional structure their client plans with milestones.

William Varney, Product Strategist, Megaphone Marketing

Achieve a No-Excuse Healthier Lifestyle

Don't let your New Year's resolutions fade into the sunset, especially the health and fitness ones. Determine to eliminate obstacles and excuses that will stand in your way. 

Keep moving from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep. Challenge yourself to get at least 10,000 steps a day. Take a walk around the block a few times after you wake up, and stick to this walking pattern throughout the day, during lunch, coffee breaks, and after dinner. Make it your daily habit to do this, and you'll be on your way to successful, healthier living.

Nick Wallace, Co-Founder, President, & Chief Farm Officer, 99 Counties

Let Go of the “All-or-Nothing” Approach 

Many people start their health and fitness journey feeling unstoppable and highly motivated. No pain, no gain. No excuses. They are going all in, let's say. On the surface, an "all-or-nothing" approach doesn't seem so bad, as it pushes you towards perfection. But that's a trap, and it kills long-term progress. 

Perfection is unattainable. The first failure on the way to success often discourages people from working towards achieving their goals. How does it look in practice? Six workouts a week, or never at all. Eating "perfectly" or keeping the floodgates open. There's nothing in between. 

Health and fitness professionals should inform their clients about the negative consequences of such black-and-white thinking. It can be a great help in sticking to the new resolutions. The key is to find a balance. Explain to your clients that they should think in terms of "better" or "worse," not "good" or "bad." It's crucial to be determined and make better health and fitness choices most of the time.

Agata Szczepanek, Community Manager, LiveCareer

Break It Down to Short-Term

Don't set long-term goals. Even the most diligent person can get disheartened when their fitness goal seems like a distant dream. Instead of overwhelming a client with the lofty end goal, break every step down into a micro-goal. 

These smaller milestones should start off easily and get progressively more challenging. That said, they should all be readily achievable with effort. That achievement should be duly celebrated as well, even if just in small ways. Minor victories help clients pave the way to large success. Keep things small and doable, and your clients will have a much easier and more enjoyable time sticking with their resolutions.

Max Ade, CEO, Pickleheads

Get Eight Hours of Good Sleep

We all know that sleep is important for our health and fitness. It helps us to recover from workouts; it helps us to feel energized, and it helps us to stay focused. 

I used to run 10 miles a day consistently, and I could not do that without getting a good eight hours of deep sleep. The best tip that health and fitness professionals can use to help clients stick to their new resolutions is to focus on sleep.

Marc Werner, CEO & Founder, Ghostbed

Provide Reminders with Alerts

Alerts are a great way to keep things at the top of people's minds and nudge them toward doing something. For example, an app like Headspace will send me an alert when I haven't completed an exercise, and it will make a difference in making me do it, even if I'm in the middle of a busy day and feel like I don't have time. 

I love getting that alert to tell me I haven't used the app yet on that day, and it kicks me into action. 

If health and fitness professionals/companies can do this to their clients to keep them motivated, nudge them to do a workout, or remind them to complete their own activity, then it can make a difference. You could do this through whatever channel the client reacts best to, including email, text, phone calls, and so much more. I'd recommend health and fitness professionals do this for their clients in order to help them stick to their new resolutions.

Shaun Connell, CEO, Credit Building Tips

Set a Plan and Make Realistic Goals

New resolutions are amazing, but sometimes we start with our giant goals. Instead, try breaking them down into smaller, bite-sized goals so it keeps you motivated to continue as you are starting something new. Also, try making a plan either on your calendar or drawing one out, but instead of saying, "I will work out tomorrow," block off time on your calendar for it and set reminders.

Amanda Diver, Physical Therapist, Rowing Doc

Create a Motivational Loop

As someone who has studied psychology, one of the most important goals for people trying to achieve any sort of long-term behavior change is forming a motivational loop. As the name implies, forming this type of loop helps keep motivation high by allowing clients to recognize their progress and prioritize their experience. 

Instead of focusing on a distant goal, fitness professionals can help clients create short-term goals and celebrate accomplishments along the way; this will remind them why they embarked on this journey and how far they have come in such a limited amount of time. As clients experience this motivational loop, they become more likely to stick to resolutions and reach desired objectives or outcomes.

Haya Subhan, Management Executive, Sheffield First Aid Courses

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