We’ve all experienced the struggle of sticking to something new. Whether it’s reading more, eating healthier, walking daily, or getting to bed earlier, ensuring ongoing success requires changing our behavior. And let’s be honest, this is easier said than done.

As a certified health and wellness coach, you know that a commitment to consistency is one of the most important factors when it comes to achieving goals.

This is where your support and guidance as a personal trainer is essential. Firstly, you can help your clients to plan and form the healthy habits they need. Secondly, you will be the one cheering and correcting from the sidelines, providing the accountability your clients need to keep them on track.

The psychology of habits

Sure, it takes work to form new habits, but breaking existing habits is the real challenge! Your clients may already have deep-rooted behaviors that slow or derail their health and fitness progress. The reason these are so tricky to change is that they are hard-wired into our brains because they are formed through repetition.

Often, we don’t even realize we have these habits and don’t think (or want) to analyze the reasons behind them. That’s where the insights of a health and wellness coach are vital as you can help your clients to identify the three elements that produce habits.

These related elements can cause ‘habit loops’, of which there are two types. Bad loops involve unhealthy behaviors such as eating junk food or smoking to release stress (the reward). The good kind involve behaviors like deep breathing or meditation to achieve the same reward.

Making habits stick

As a certified health coach, you can nurture and strengthen your relationship with your clients by helping them form (and stick to) new habits. Here are just a couple of suggestions:

1. Find the best environment for growing a habit. It’s far easier to be consistent when we’re constantly reminded of our goals.

2.  Embrace the reward system. When we present our brains with a shiny reward, we receive a hit of feel-good dopamine. That feeling is then linked to whatever behavior produced the reward and we try to replicate the feeling. Thus, a habit is formed! The key is ensuring that the reward helps the fitness journey and doesn’t hinder it.

3. Put it on repeatHabits can take up to nine months to form, which means repetition is key. Repeating a behaviour builds importance and gives it space in our minds.

Your role as a trainer

As a health and wellness coach you’re already a pro at helping clients to develop health and fitness plans with specific, measurable goals and realistic steps to achieve them. Not to mention holding them accountable to following through. The same goes for setting habits.

Be realistic:  Your clients are more likely to be consistent and form habits if the goals are small and achievable. Once they get into a groove, they can build on it. They also need to know that forming habits and seeing results can take time – let them know that patience and persistence will lead to success.

Reach for your personal trainer toolkit: No matter where your client is on their health journey, you have all the resources you both need with TrueCoach.

Track progress: Seeing the results of hard work is a powerful motivator. Track and share data and achievements together using TrueCoach. You’ll know where they need help and they’ll be encouraged to stick with you.

Adapt and explore: Offer creative solutions to fitness blockers. If a client has kids and can’t always leave the house, you could assign them workout videos to complete at home.

Remember: good habits = consistency = health and fitness success! With your expertise, guidance, and support, your clients can develop and maintain the behaviors that will set them up for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. Find out more about the three elements of habits, including habit-forming strategies for personal trainers, by downloading the TrueCoach eBook:Habit-setting and Personal Training: Secrets, Strategies and Tools to Help Clients Achieve Their Goals

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Article by TrueCoach

First published: March 31 2023

Last updated: January 11 2024