So many things in life are easier to achieve when you set goals. Busy day? Write a to-do list! Learning to paint? Aim to be able to do trees in 6 months and paint a landscape within a year. 

You may already be on the goal setting bandwagon when it comes to your personal training business, but if you’re not, there are some important reasons to start. Read on to learn how goal setting can greatly benefit you and your clients and give you greater control over your business’s future.


There are plenty of reasons to use goal setting, but we’ve listed 5 great ones (in no particular order).

#1 Effective planning, clarity and focus: Best not to leave the success of your business to luck! When you have clear goals, it’s easier to develop plans to reach them and it gives you purpose and direction. This can include client acquisition or retention plans, marketing strategies, financial projections, future business aspirations, and more. Goal setting (and follow through) leads to more structured and efficient operations.

#2 Business growth and competitive advantage: Goals provide a roadmap for business growth: Where do you want to end up? What will your business look like? What do you want to achieve on the way? Whether it’s expanding your client base, offering new services, or opening additional locations, setting targets ensures your business evolves and thrives and can help you stand out from the competition.

#3 Flexibility and adaptability: How will you know that things aren’t going to plan if you don’t have a plan? Setting and tracking goals allows you to assess what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to make informed decisions and adjustments to improve your business. This could include responding to changes in the market or your personal circumstances. It’s all about the pivot!

#4 Client engagement and success: Sharing your goals with clients can create a sense of community and shared purpose. Goals provide them with extra motivation and something tangible to strive for. They also give you more reasons to check in with clients and additional ways to connect and strengthen relationships as you revisit, recalibrate or celebrate their goals.

#5 Motivation, accountability, satisfaction: The following applies to your business goals and your clients’ health and fitness goals.

Goals will give everyone a reason to work hard, stay committed, and push the limits. Achieving goals can be very rewarding, which, in turn, fuels passion and dedication.

Goals hold everyone accountable; when you set specific targets, you’re more likely to stick to them and avoid distractions that might hinder success.

Achieving goals can be personally satisfying and fulfilling. It can boost confidence, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment.

Win, win, win!


Someone very clever has made goal setting easy for everyone by developing S.M.A.R.T. goals. The idea behind this is that there’s no point pulling a bunch of random goals out of thin air and hoping something good happens. For example, you may want to be wildly successful as a personal trainer. Great! That’s a lovely overall ambition, but it’s not a usefulgoal. What does success look like? How long will it take? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? What does it look like if you’re veering off course?

This is where S.M.A.R.T. goals are awesome. We discuss these in more detail in our FREE eBook: Actionable Ways To Set (And Achieve) Your Coaching Business And Client Goals

In short, you want to ensure your goals are:


Be wildly successful as a personal trainer. Wildly unspecific 👎

In order to be trackable, your goals need to be much more specific than that (and a bit more bite-sized). 

Be running at least 3 group training sessions per week by the end of February. This goal is much more specific and there are ways you can measure its success. Which leads us to…


Get fitter. 

Earn more money as a personal trainer.

The above goals would be nice to achieve, but how the heck do you know when you’ve achieved them? How do you get started? What are the checkpoints you’ll reach? The below are much easier to measure.

Achieve an extra set of reps on each exercise.

Sign up 3 new clients for virtual sessions by the end of Q2.


Remember we mentioned that goals should be more bite-sized? This doesn’t mean they have to be tiny; you can still be ambitious and they should certainly challenge you or you won’t see growth. Think of achievable as meaning realistic.  

I want a body like Kayla Itsines. Or realistically… I want to lose 20 pounds by my next birthday. 

I want a fitness empire like Kayla Itsines. Or better yet… I want to reach 5000 followers on Instagram before June.


The goals you set for your business should be things that move the needle for your business in some way and eventually help to increase profits.

I will save for an expensive sound system for my workout sessions.

Tunes are an important part of any energetic workout. But will this ultimately lead to more clients and more income? Probably not.

I will save for an outsourced marketing campaign to increase brand awareness and attract new clients.

This is a goal that will help to boost your business and improve revenue in the future.


It might be tempting to keep things free and loose when it comes to when you should achieve each goal, but that’s just because accountability can be a bit daunting. But, you need to accept it for what it is —that little fire under your bum keeping you motivated and aware of your responsibilities.

If your goals don’t have dates attached, they’ll be a lot less powerful and effective.

I will set up my TrueCoach account to streamline my bookings and payments.

Hmm, you won’t want to dilly-dally with that one…

I will set up my TrueCoach account by the end of next month to streamline my bookings and payments. 


In order to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your business and for your clients, it’s recommended that you reflect on the past to guide future plans.

A great structure for this is asking yourself (and your clients) a series of reflective questions to work out what was successful or otherwise. 

  • Did adding weight training to Leeland’s programming increase his strength?
  • Did my videos about holiday season tips and tricks increase my social media engagement?
  • Why has Brooke’s motivation and attendance declined after she started virtual training?
  • How many clients signed up for recurring payments since I introduced it 2 months ago?

You can then use your questions and answers to craft your next set of goals. These can take the form of long term or short term goals.

Short term goals are generally those that you can achieve in under a year.

  • Launch a referral program and land 3 referrals in the next 2 months.
  • Double my clients over the next year.

Long term goals can be achieved over a longer period of time.

  • Afford to hire another trainer in 2 years.
  • Build an extensive video workout library over the next 5 years to build my passive income.

Try the example questions and exercises in our latest eBook to help you reflect and refine.


Once you’ve decided on your goals you’ll need to set up a strategy to help you get started, with specific, planned check-in points along the way. Don’t wait until the ‘due dates’ arrive before checking on your goals. You’ll need to do a pulse check every now and then to ensure you’re on course.

If things aren’t going as expected don’t be afraid to make any necessary changes — after all, they’re your goals and you can tweak them as you please!

Rely on TrueCoach to help you keep many of your goals on track, such as client management, habit tracking, or financial management.

Your clients can also easily monitor their own goals using TrueCoach, and together you can set milestones, form habits, improve their accountability, and celebrate the wins. This sharing of goals and the subsequent journey to complete them will strengthen your relationship with your clients and help build a better fitness community.

For ideas on setting client goals check out:

Our previous blog post: How To Help Your Clients Set Accurate and Attainable Goals

This advice from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA): Setting Fitness Goals is Essential to Long-Term Success


As you can see, goal setting is not only recommended, it’s crucial to the ongoing growth of your business and to the fitness success and ultimate retention of your clients. 

Remember to be specific and strategic and keep the future of your business always at the front of your mind. You’re on an unending, ever-changing path to build the best business you can while improving the lives of others. Now the tricky part is choosing which goals to work on first!

Our latest FREE eBook Actionable Ways To Set (And Achieve) Your Coaching Business And Client Goals  is full of practical advice for setting and achieving goals. Get more detailed info about:

  • Why you need to embrace goal setting
  • Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Setting business-specific goals
  • Reflective question exercises
  • Setting short and long term goals
  • Achieving business goals (with the help of TrueCoach)
  • Achieving client goals (with the help of TrueCoach)

Download it now to start planning and winning. 💪

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Article by TrueCoach

First published: October 27 2023

Last updated: January 11 2024