Many of us have a view that motivation is something we are born with. Or that it lies entirely within us.
This understanding of motivation as a “personal trait” leads us to think that whether the client will be able to engage in a regular activity or not, depends almost entirely on his personal potentials, abilities and strengths. Not on external factors and circumstances.
When they have a client who does not adhere to the program in front of them, these personal trainers will often place the responsibility or guilt entirely on the client.
Assuming that commitment to exercise is influenced only by personal factors, they often write off that individual as lazy, incompetent, or unmotivated. However, the degree to which a client adheres to health regimens such as exercise, in addition to personal factors, is influenced by many environmental and situational factors. Some of these factors may be beyond the client’s control.
Motivation as a shared responsibility
Others may be factors that the person is not even aware of. Instead of simply shifting the blame for not adhering to the exercise on the client, you need to view motivation as a shared responsibility that you share with the client.
It is also useful to view the motivation process as something dynamic. Different clients in different phases of the program may need different strategies.
For example, the types of strategies used to increase program commitment or attendance during the initial “critical period” of practice, when a large number of participation difficulties usually occur, may be very different from the strategies most useful for helping the client over a longer period.
Since motivating the client is one of the most important and difficult responsibilities, the ability to address the motivational needs of the client in a lasting and effective way can be the greatest measure of a coach’s success.
Tips for building motivation
Initially, form realistic expectations with the client. The client’s belief in what exercise can and cannot do, as well as previous experiences with exercise, can affect motivation.
Today, unrealistic expectations are widespread. If I exercise, I should get rid of all the extra pounds in a month or two. Or If I exercise regularly, I can eat as much as I want. Social media and magazines encourage these. When left unfulfilled, such expectations can lead to frustration, disappointment, or even excessive exercise. This is often the reason for giving up. Research what the client expects to achieve at the beginning of the program. In this way, you can help him build realistic expectations.