I’m not sure how to title this honestly, but in this blog post I’m writing about why emotions are powerful tools for goal setting&reaching, and how to cultivate the feelings to fuel your journey even when you don’t feel like it.
First, I want to talk about goal setting. I don’t think it’s powerful enough to just want to lose weight. There must be a powerful force behind your reason, one that will motivate you beyond the inevitable inconveniences and frustrations and temptations to quit.
Why do you want to lose weight? (Or tone up, gain muscle, etc.)
Because you should? Because it’s cool? Because you want to look better?
Those are fine, but are those motivating enough? Does “doing what you should” make you excited to exercise? Does “being cool” justify all the time and money and energy you will put into your workouts? (And what does “look better” even mean? If you just SMILE you already look better.)
When your workouts get tough, and skipping or quitting becomes so tempting, what do you do? What do you do when you feel like giving up?
You can look externally. For example, there are hundreds of people on social media posting “motivational photos”; you know those pictures of sweaty people with a quote superimposed on the image?
I’m not saying they’re horrible or useless. But how many images does it take to get you back up? What quote will suddenly change how you feel?
If you didn’t know already, external factors are not as motivating as internal ones. So when you define your fitness/health goal, you really ought to take some extra time and “look within” for what that is.
Ways to do this:
- Keep asking yourself WHY until you hit an emotional chord. You’re really going to have to pay attention to this because it may be subtle: a smile, a feeling of lightness, an inhale, or your heart rate picking up just a bit. For example: “Why do I want to tone up? To look good. Why do I want to look good? To feel confident about how I look. Why do I want to feel confident? So I can focus on doing my job instead of being distracted by my doubts of not feeling good enough.”
- Once you have your true motivation, define it even further. Specifically, what it will look and FEEL like. (Feelings are internal after all.) Take some time to visualize this, and think about how your day-to-day life will be different once you’ve accomplished this goal. CAPTURE THIS FEELING; this is what you want to return to when you’re “not feeling it”.
- Fall in love with what you’ve visualized. Love is a powerful feeling, and it can be obsessive. When you fall in love with this idea of your accomplished goal, your mind will keep going back to it. (Think about when first you start crushing on someone; it’s like developing a crush on your goal XD)
For my clients, I may have them develop a “mantra” for the workout, which we revisit periodically to keep the positive energy flowing. For another exercise, I may have them list all the reasons why accomplishing their goal will make the world a better place, and have them meditate on any reason on that list for a minute every day.
My aim is to get a spark going, and help them to do the rest.
P.S. These are all my opinions at the moment of writing. I reserve the right to chance my mind and position as more knowledge and experiences comes in 🙂
For Personal trainers who are interested in reading more about effective goal setting with their clients, I recommend the following article: https://www.theptdc.com/2012/06/your-smat-goals-are-stupid/