When starting an exercise program we are asked what our goals are, as a personal trainer/movement coach in the past the most common responses I would get are;

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Tone Up
  3. Increase Strength
  4. Increase Fitness

What is the biggest killer of achieving these goals as identified by clients? Not prioritising the time. If a goal was that important to you, don’t you think you would prioritise the time?

My question to you is, could it be that these are not your true goals?

In order to get right to the heart of goal setting, it is important to go a little deeper into why you want to achieve these goals.

Sure this may sound like a clique way of looking at goal setting, the number one reason people sabotage their fitness goals in my experience is that they can not see how achieving those goals will benefit them in the pursuit of the life/lifestyle they want to lead. The time will not be prioritised because you can not see the bigger vision of how investing in your body will ensure you are able to that live a full, happy and rich life that most people are after.

We get one body. That body is the vehicle that allows us to live a life that is full of experiences, doing the things we love, with the people that we love, continue to work to generate income to live in the things that are most important to us, create and birth children, the list of how your body serves you is endless.

I have been on a major personal development journey this year, where I have been going deeper to uncover who I was, what was important to me and where I was blocking myself from being the best version of me.

Which then lead me to a discovery of how all of the things I had learnt about myself, and the tools I had learnt, could be applied to goal setting when embarking on a fitness journey, to ensure that we are making it a priority and creating long lasting change.

I developed a program that I run through with coaching clients called Finding Your Movement Purpose.

The program combines techniques, counselling theories and my coaching experiences from the fitness industry. It allows you to delve deeper into what is important to you, live in the things that light you up – your values and how your body can will allow you live this out. When we can see the bigger vision, and how investing in our bodies health feeds into our goals outside of fitness this is when we will see a commitment to goals.

How can we apply this to ourselves?


Here is an easy way to apply it and pull out some goals that are closely aligned with you and what you want to achieve.

  1. Miracle Question – Solution Focused Therapy Adapted Approach

The miracle question allows you to start to think outside of the square in regards to new possibilities outcomes of the future. (reference – http://www.aipc.net.au/articles/solution-focused-therapy/).

I have adapted this concept and ask a question, that has been asked of me in other personal development forums, I have found it to be the most beneficial and revealing of what a client really wants, what is important to them to get a feel of the ideal lifestyle that they want to lead so I can see how they need their body to be performing;

Question: “I want you to imagine that you have woken up, the day before you had been to see your doctor and they have just informed you that you have six months to live. You have also been told that for this last six month period of your life would have no restrictions, other than time. You have been told to sleep on the question and upon waking to get a piece of paper out and plan out your next six months. What would you be doing with your time, who would you be spending it with, what would your relationship with self and others look like? Really go to this space emotionally and spend 4-5 mins just feeling your way through and write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind, get detailed.”

 Remember there are no right or wrong answers, this is about YOU.

As an example through this process, a kind client of mine has allowed me to share her experience of this. Her original goal was weight loss – her reason for not yet achieving it was not prioritising the time.

Example of Answer:

Spend it traveling with my closest family and friends, take my Dad to New Zealand, go and see the history of the world, go and volunteer some time in a third world country, go to tropical beaches, try all of the things that I would normally be too fearful to try like skydiving and bungee jumping.


  1. Identify the areas that stand out as most important to you.

Out of this, it will become very clear of what is most important to you, this is important because this is a part of what your makeup is.

Example of Answer:

  • Travelling
  • Leaving a legacy/giving back to community
  • Adventure
  • Family and friends
  • Education


  1. Write down all the ways you would need your body to perform in order live in those areas most important to you?

Once we have a clearer vision of what is important to you – this is where we can go deeper into how your body will need to serve you in order to live out those things.

Example of Answer:

“I would need my immune system to be strong, I would need my body to be pain-free (particularly knees and back), I would need to be stress-free”

Interestingly, in this case, these are all the things that my client is struggling within present time. Her stress overwhelms her as her life is packed with full-time work, part-time university, planning a wedding and family commitments – it has been a very stressful and emotionally charged four years for this client. When the stress consumes motivation goes out the window, and she turns to food and sitting down to study to try and combat the stress she is feeling.


  1. What do I love that my body can do? Find where your body is already performing.

Here we are able to celebrate and bring it into the present time, where our body is already performing, and having a focus on what it can do and not how it looks.

Example of Answer:

“I love that I am able to identify the messages that my body is sending me, then am able to seek help to give my body what it needs instead of pushing it beyond its limits and creating more issues for myself’


  1. Make a detailed list of what your body will NEED to DO to live in those things most important to you.

 Here is where we look at some TRUE goals, now this is not to dismiss the original goals listed we will get to how those original goals fit.

Example of Answer:

  • I want my body to be pain-free
  • I need the tools in order to remain pain-free
  • I want to know how to destress quickly


  1. Choose two goals that you want to focus on.

 It’s very easy to have too much to focus on chunk it down into one or two goals that you want to focus on now.

Example of Two Goals to be Focused on:

My client wanted to focus on having the tools available to remain pain-free, and how to de-stress quickly.


  1. Chunk it down into actions that can be applied.

 This is where you can get really specific around what action is going to be taken for the two goals chosen to work on from the step above.

 Example of Action Plan:

  1. A mobilisation program that can be applied during her day to help here combat a rather sedentary job and the study commitments. Will allow for the body to be nourished with movement, promoting hydration to dehydrated and compressed tissue allowing for more efficient and less restricted tissue.
  2. Have a focus on really good movement preparation before a session, to ensure the body is ready to move and not being slammed with exercise that the body isn’t ready for.
  3. Use games based exercise within the sessions to improve connection, decrease stress but get that intensity feeling, promote laughter and permission to have fun.
  4. Breathing strategies to be given as homework to help down regulate the sympathetic tone and up-regulate the parasympathetic tone to improve relaxation and decrease stress – can be done anywhere in any situation, will also help relax pelvic floor which is hypertonic.
  5. Have two – three sessions booked in with a movement coach to ensure time for self is invested in, allows the mind to switch off and download emotion instead of bottling up what has come up for her during the week – more likely to move if something is booked in, one less thing to stress about.
  6. Understand movements that will not aggravate existing injuries, like avoiding endurance running until the body is moving efficiently.
  7. Have meals prepared so that body is being nourished – referral to a nutritionist.


  1. Connect it back to original goals.

Here is where it gets interesting, we have now gone full circle, but we have a deeper understanding how perhaps the original goals are going to be a by-product of focusing on the ‘true goals’.

In terms of this client, when chronically stressed the body is inflamed, cortisol is high, poor food choices are made, less movement is done, more pain is felt and sleep is inhibited – all contributing to the inability to lose weight.

By having strategies around reducing stress, ensuring sessions are booked into attend and is held accountable, having tools that will help her remain pain and restriction free, knowing what movements are suitable for her to reduce the likelihood of injury, and who she can go see in terms of allied health professionals to help her on the journey to weight loss will help her promote weight loss as a by-product of wellness and commitment to long-term change.

This is a great way to delve that little bit deeper into the goals that we are conditioned to list when asked what we want to achieve from a fitness program. This process will help you come to an understanding of perhaps where the blocks are for you in achieving those goals meaning long term change can be achieved.

Originally posted on www.ptonthenet.com


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