“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
(Stephen Covey)

So, have you ever asked yourself the question  – “Why do anything?” At different times in our lives we will have varying answers to this same question just as we, at different times on our fitness journey, will also have various reasons for participating in other fitness activities. This part is the “why” behind “what” we do, and what we call “priorities”.

In the fitness industry today, after consulting thousands of coaches, who in turn have consulted with a great number of individuals, we know there is one thing for sure, not everyone has fitness as their top priority. This is most surprising to new fitness coaches as they begin to discover that other’s priorities are not the same as theirs. This is also one of the biggest personal growths of a fitness coach, to understand that everyone is unique and has multiple reasons, other than the coaches, to be getting fit.

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We teach coaches to ask seven basic questions to start determining individual client’s priorities. These answers are important in order for us to know and plan how our fitness training will best serve and align with those priorities. Actions and behaviors dictate priorities. The old cliché saying our “actions speak louder than words” and this somewhat true.

Getting all fitness clients into this mindset with these seven basic questions as an investigation into
what they do will reveal what matters most.

The seven questions are:

1.      What areas do you consider to be your personal space(s) and what is common to all those spaces?
2.      You have 24 hours in a day, besides sleep, how do you spend your time?
3.      What is it that you are doing that makes you feel most energized and alive?
4.      Where in your life are you most organized?
5.      What engages and captures your attention and focus the most?
6.      What goals have you set yourself that show signs they are coming true?
7.      What do you love talking to other people about?

During each question we ask the person to jot down a few points. This allows the person to become aware of their thoughts, clarifying them and being as authentic as possible in their answers. Once all the answers are taken down, there are themes around most of the answers and what the client’s priorities are. For example, personally my top priorities are: teaching and learning, moving and creating. Looking deeper into
one of my answers you can see where the themes come from. Take question #7  for example – my answers are: athletic feats, behavior change, personal purpose, fitness performance and fitness balance. If you look into the rest of my answers to the questions, it is not hard to see the same theme carried throughout, albeit in different words.

It is important to ask yourself these questions and maybe ask others to get a feel for why people do what they do. Once you have this achieved it is much easier to align your goals, projects and it makes clearer sense of things.

When fitness coaches ask clients to consider what matters most to them, it is pretty easy to then start talking to them about where fitness can fit into their priority framework. Once someone begins to understand they do not need to ‘love’ fitness, (as it does not drive their behavior) but they can just ‘enjoy’ it, as it leads them to  focus on what does matter most to them and more often than not they see the light. Clients are able to then understand how to ensure they use fitness as a vehicle to help them with those things that do matter to them – as it does drive their behavior.

Asking these simple, open ended, action based questions clarifies and allows one to
consider what matters most in fitness and life. Go for it, try it and see what
you come up with!

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