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Three Easy Pieces: The Mechanics of Motivation

The Secret Sauce

Most of us struggle with motivation from time to time, and it can keep us from performing at our best and reaching our goals. When we have to motivate others as well, it can be an even greater battle. Psychologists have devoted a great deal of research to the science of motivation, and they have identified three essential elements that must be present for optimal motivation to occur.
When you feel in charge of your activities and you perceive that you have options and choices, you are more likely to feel motivated to carry them out. There is something in human nature that makes us want to have a say in what we do and how we do it. When autonomy is absent and you feel you have to do a specific thing in a specific way, you may feel reluctant and unmotivated to perform. When it comes to motivating your clients, the same premise holds true. Enabling clients to participate in the planning and execution of their training program and giving them options may be key in keeping them motivated.
If you think you can’t do a thing, you are essentially correct. In order to be motivated, you must believe you are competent to perform well at an activity or assignment. Yet being good at something begins with mastering basic skills. When working with clients, it is important that you identify gaps in knowledge and physical ability that need to be filled before the client can achieve competence. Then bridge those gaps with education and skills training until a level of competence is achieved. Once they feel confident of their abilities, they will become motivated to put them to use.
3. Relatedness
In order to stay motivated, you must be able to see the value in what you are doing, and to relate it to your overall goals. For example, you may ask your client to complete a daily food and activity log, but they may feel it is a waste of time if they don’t understand how it relates to their long-term outcomes. As a trainer it is up to you to help them connect the dots, to show them how their daily behaviors add up to achieving results.
To stay motivated as a fitness professional you need to see your clients succeed, and professional growth and education will equip you with the necessary tools. To better understand what makes your clients tick, consider a certification in Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Personal Training. Learn more about working with children or senior citizens with Youth Fitness or Older Adult Fitness certifications. Or keep your gym members motivated and coming back for more with our Fitness Management certification. At W.I.T.S., your success is our success!
References and Credits
Scientific American: Three Critical Elements Sustain Motivation

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