How to Keep Clients Motivated

A question from many a new and even seasoned trainer is this:
 
“How do you keep your clients accountable & motivated once external factors/events have ceased?”
 
*Skip to the bottom for 3 key point to this question*
 
A truly great question with only one answer –
 
You can’t.
 
Sad as it seems you personally can’t force extrinsic, internal or consistent desire/purpose onto a person, they must choose it for themselves.
 
Alas when a person no longer wants what they want, it’s over.
 
That ship has sailed and won’t returning to port anytime soon because they’ve gotten what they needed from that little endeavour.
 
One thing you can do as a trainer/coach is to find out what it did for them mentally and emotionally.
 
You see knowing a persons emotional triggers is key.
 
Very few have the mental capacity to do things for the long term or the the greater good at the sacrifice of current and even foreseeable comfort, people are just too weak.
 
Harsh as that sounds it’s more often the case than many would admit.
 
We give up on something because it no longer fulfils an emotional need that demands satiating.
 
Motivation is fleeting.
 
Delving into the realms of neurotransmitters you will find that people are saying it’s because of seeking a hit of dopamine, which might be true, however there could also be a serotonin hit, or GABA rise and perhaps it’s more along the lines of and adrenaline hit.
 
Truth is you just don’t know, we just don’t know.
 
It’s all educated guess work without having someones vitals, bloods and serum levels constantly checked after every smalls action.
 
The best we can do is observe a persons patterns.
 
Everyone has a pattern, one that follows the trigger-action-reward flow (or cue-craving-response-reward, it’s all the same thing essentially, just with different semantics).
 
This is one of inherent flaws with goal setting.
 
Often times it’s based on a short term reward and thus the suffering or perceived pain is minimal and outweighed for the time being, so people can stick to something until they get what they ‘want’.
 
Once that is gone though they will return to old habits because nothing has changed, they haven’t grown as a person, if anything they’ve simply reinforced a poor behaviour that means when they feel bad all they need to is a little of XY or Z to feel better, then they can return to the status quo for another few months of years.
 
Much like an abusive relationship that people stay in.
 
They’re choosing to be there, you can’t get them out because they don’t want to leave as there is something they’re getting from it, a feeling, something they will never admit they want/need/enjoy from it all.
 
^^Sick as that sounds it’s more true than I’d like it to be.
 
To help people stay motivated is not the key to change.
 
A desire to change is.
 
Obvious as it sounds it is.
 
Yet you’ll need to know why someone would want to change emotionally, this means delving into how bad they feel about a situation or themselves.
 
From here it will be about finding out how they want to feel, then way they don’t feel they deserve to feel that way and constantly self sabotage themselves.
 
You can even be direct and ask someone this –
 
Why don’t you want to feel better in yourself?
 
What keeps you in the place you’re currently in and why choose to stay here?
 
Obviously you’ll get all the excuses, some will be logical yet they’re still excuses at the end of the day, however they can all yield understanding and that is what you need to help people.
 
To keep someone ‘motivated/accountable’ is akin to trying to ice-skate up hill, not impossible just really difficult.
 
Instead of trying to create change with insignificant carrots you might needs a significant stick instead.
 
We are more likely to move away from great pain than towards small pleasure.
 
This doesn’t mean bullying people, it does however mean being strong enough in yourself to be honest with people and take the brunt of their resistance (it will be hostility towards you, and potentially even nasty personal attacks).
 
You see before you can help change people you’d first do well to know yourself, like really know yourself.
 
Would you be willing to air all your dirty laundry?
 
All those times you felt like absolute worthless shit?
 
Perhaps even the time you climbed a tree rope in hand and subsequently hand the branch snap and send you tumbling to the floor (yes, the impact and mud brought things into perspective).
 
When a new client comes to you you need to delve deeply.
 
Find out what is really going on mentally & emotionally.
 
Also remember that some people don’t want to change or help themselves, they just want a quick fix to not feel like shit for a while – basically this is 95% of PT and how PT’s run their business, it’s all about the short term.
 
Despite saying they care for people and want to help in reality they just want a pay cheque, and this is cool, however don’t claim benevolent words or to be something you’re not.
 
If money is your goal, be honest about it.
 
If people are what really matter then be prepared to be financially poor for quite a while, on the plus side you’ll be spiritually rich because helping would be your payment.
 
Anyway, that’s a little irrelevant and I’ve begun to ramble, again.
 
Here are three things to remember to keep people moving forwards:
 
1 – Their ‘motivation’ has to be deeply emotional.
2 – Long term change wants to be the focus.
3 – Don’t pander to their bullshit/excuses, nip those int he bud immediately otherwise you’ll lose any chance for real change.
 
Any further questions please leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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