Getting Down From Everest

By Mike Watson – Two Brain Coaching One-on-one Course Mentor

I’ve always been good at training for something if it’s a big scary challenge or obstacle.

I compete in running and cycling events outside the gym so the vision of crossing a finish line or the fear of not finishing a race are huge motivators for me. They help to keep me laser focused on training to achieve or avoid those scenarios.

The biggest challenge I often face isn’t crossing the finish line.

It’s overcoming the feeling of “now what?” once both my feet/wheels are across the line.

Without the next huge obstacle in place it becomes much tougher to get out of bed early to train or when the weather is less than optimal.

We see the same thing happen with clients in the gym.

The fitness industry has done a great job of introducing a ton of people to fitness by packaging it into ‘challenges’ that generally last 6-8 weeks.

The time frame is long enough to be daunting to some but short enough that it feels like something that can be accomplished.

While this is a great tool to introduce people to fitness, the challenge participant often achieves their goal of gutting it out for 6-8 weeks but then ends up in the same place as me.

Now what?

Much like climbing Everest with no plan for getting back to base camp, these short challenges can set our clients up for short range goal planning rather than long term habit development.

I talked to Psychotherapist Bonnie Skinner this week about how to frame our message about challenges to alter the mindset of its participants to foster long term habit development. I’ll paraphrase a bit and will link to the full interview video as she had so many valuable things to share.

Essentially her recommendation was this. Change the expectation of the challenge from the outset. Rather than looking at a six week challenge or race as the ultimate goal, we should be approaching these scenarios with language and mindset about how the short term obstacle fits into the long term goal.

If we approach the challenge as a be-all, end-all then the feeling of “now what” is inevitable.

What if we speak to our clients from day one about how this challenge is going to be a gateway to other things in their lives? By doing this we set the expectation early that the training doesn’t end when the challenge does. We just get better prepared to do other things!

We would never have a client dive into a workout without a clear expectation of the goal. We should approach goal setting the exact same way, by determining how the goal fits into the big picture of their entire fitness lifestyle.

Full interview with Bonnie here:

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