// Breakthrough unproductive behaviours to reach the success and income you deserve

by Heidi Dening

Unproductive behaviours drain you of motivation, time, money and enjoyment of life. Theyaffect you, the people around you, and your income. One bad habit that most people have is that they don’t prioritise exercise into their weekly routine. As personal trainers we are certainly not guilty of this, but we do regularly participate in other behaviours that prevent us from, or hinder our progress in, reaching our goals.

All actions, whether positive or negative, have consequences. Personal trainers have a great ability to identify bad habits that their clients have, and are able to make a plan to help them overcome these bad habits. But how good are we at identifying our own habits that are holding us back? By following the steps below, you will be able to be honest with yourself regarding your unproductive behaviours and make a plan to overcome them, so you can achieve the level of success, and income, that you yearn for.

Step 1. Acknowledging your strength

The first step is acknowledging that you have the ability to be whoever you want to be, and to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Even though habits occur automatically, they have originated from a choice or decision you have made somewhere in your past. When you first had a puff on that cigarette, you were making a choice to do this – a choice that was solely yours, regardless of outside pressures – the habit occurred after you kept making that choice.

Step 2. Identifying unproductive behaviours

Step two is identifying particular unproductive behaviours that you know are holding you back from being a great trainer, owning a profitable business, earning a great income, or enjoying the work/life balance that seems to be so difficult to acquire.

From the list below, tick five current behaviours that you know are holding you back:

• Working too hard, not taking time off to recharge

• Spending too much time with non-money-making activities such as answering e-mail, watching TV or surfing the web

• Not studying, reading and implementing materials learnt at conventions or in the products you bought

• Blaming the bad things in life as the reason for not succeeding, e.g., sick elderly parents, demanding children, incompetent staff

• Poor time management that keeps you in crisis mode

• Procrastination

• Poor money management.

Now, prioritise these ticked boxes from 1 to 5, with 1 being the behaviour you know is slowing you down the most.

Step 3. Focus on one thing at a time

What you need to do now is just focus on the behaviour that you ranked as number one. If you try and change everything at once it all becomes too hard, but acknowledge that these other habits are important as you will need to work on them at a later date. Remember you have the ability to create your future. You have the ability to make changes to your life so you can achieve success.

In the words of the late Henry Ford, ‘If you think you can or if you think you cannot, you are always right’. Once you commit to this, and focus on it, you will wonder why you didn’t start to eliminate your problems years ago. But you must have a burning desire to make this change. The pain of not being able to reach your success due to this bad habit must be high. Do you acknowledge the emotional, physical and personal pay-off that will occur if you fail?

Let’s pick ‘Working too hard, not taking time off to recharge’.

I know this is a habit that all personal trainers have, because we don’t like to let our clients down by not being there for their sessions. Unfortunately we don’t practice what we preach, and it doesn’t take long before the emotional and physical consequences of training clients day after day, week after week, month after month, really takes its toll. We start to get excited when there is a last minute cancellation, we don’t care if a client stops training, and/or we start to deliver sessions that we know are not up to our usual standard. Burnout happens to the best of us and, unless we recognise the signs and accept this as normal, we are bound to die a slow business death.

Step 4. Make a plan

Make a plan to make small changes over time. You may start by designating 30 minutes a day to doing whatever it is that rejuvenates you, whether this is taking a nanna-nap, listening to music, meditating or sitting peacefully reading a book. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose, the point is, it will allow you to feel refreshed.

Next, organise your week so you can have at least one and a half days off every week, then when you are comfortable with this, increase it to two days off. Every six weeks take an extra day – put it in your diary and commit to this without fail. You will be surprised how flexible your clients will be when you explain that the purpose is so you can feel invigorated and give them better sessions and faster results. Lastly, your plan will include at least four weeks of holidays every year. You will book it in at the beginning of every year and you will dedicate this time to yourself.

A major reason that many trainers don’t take time off is that they tend not to get paid for the times they are not working. A number of business steps could be implemented here, but in relation to the above example, if you are refreshed, alive, and performing at your peak while you are working then you will always earn more money, which in turn will allow you to feel comfortable about taking your holidays.

Step 5. Make yourself accountable

The second to last step in this process is to have accountability to someone. You must choose someone who will not let you off the hook if you don’t achieve your goal. Choose someone who will check in with you along the journey and who will reward you (e.g. with lots of praise) when you reach your destination in the designated time, or who will inflict the pain (e.g. no shoe purchases for six months – this is a great motivator for me!) if you don’t. There must be accountability with your plan.

Step 6. Review your successes and failures

Finally, you must review your successes and failures. Remember a failure is just a stepping-stone to your next success. Whatever you do, don’t give up; just ask yourself how you can do it better next time? For example, if you didn’t get to take four weeks holiday in the past year, why was that? Was it because of financial reasons? If so, work on fixing this aspect. Put your prices up; have another trainer who takes your clients while you are away, so you are still making money from the sessions; and develop online products and programs that earn you money without your personal effort and time.

What’s most important is that you just keep working at it until you are able to succeed.

The only people who fail in life are those who stop trying. Do whatever it takes for you to lead a successful, fulfilling and profitable business. Don’t hide behind your bad habits and make excuses for them. Stand up and face them front on, because you only get one chance at life – so make it a good one!


Heidi Dening
Since 1997 Heidi has owned and directed Jump Start Outdoor Training. From working out of her garage, to a studio with 13 staff, Jump Starts’ client retention rates triple the industry standard, while the trainer retention rates are quadrupled. This has earned Heidi the
acknowledgement of being Australia’s most successful businesswoman in the personal training industry. For more information visit
www.jumpstartoutdoor.com and follow Heidi on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HeidiDening