Posted on October 24, 2018 by Jenny Cromack

small wins for motivation

Maintaining motivation in your training can often be hard. This will cause us to go through peaks and troughs in our desire to go to the gym. The focus on one specific “holy grail” goal that will be (hopefully) achieved in 6 weeks or whenever it may be, can often feed into our drooping motivation. When working with my clients I try to encourage them to find multiple ways of achieving. These can be tiered in levels of importance to them or by their symbolic meaning, but in essence we are creating a list of potential small wins for motivation.

What Are Small Wins?

“Small wins” for motivation are basically alternative evaluative measures or goals that can provide us with a sense of achievement. For example, if we had a client with a goal of loosing 14lbs and we simply held that one goal it becomes restrictive. Even if we apply goal setting principles and our top tips, the goal context can still be a limitation or threat to our motivation. If our client does not hit their weekly, monthly, or final weight target this will only make them feel deflated and question their future efforts. Small wins, however, will provide alternative “avenues” for the client to evaluate their progress and achieve success in other areas.

For example, with our weight loss client we would have our final and weekly weight goals. We may then add in small wins during each phase or session of training that may include performance-based targets. These could be target weights each week for  specific lifts, split times for a run or a row, or simply a subjective exertion rating for the session.

What Do Small Wins Offer?

Providing opportunities for alternative, multiple, small wins offers the following to our clients:

  • multiple opportunities for success (which can only be good),
  • a safety net to counteract a failure to hit one of our main targets,
  • less restricted focal points for training,
  • reduced risk of disappointment,
  • increased motivation pull.

What to Consider

When planning client goals and small wins you will need to consider the following:

  • make them meaningful for the client – no buy in, no motivation,
  • have small wins from different contexts (e.g., weight vs. performance)- otherwise this isn’t an alternative avenue,
  • make it clear that these are evaluative resources – tell them you are monitoring the weight lifted for example and show them,
  • re-evaluate and shake up your wins every so often to avoid staleness

Go get your own small wins for motivation and keep those training desires high!