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Finish for fitness coaches [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 29, 2018 9:30:00 AM

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Finish for fitness coaches

This article is based on the book Finish written in 2017. We will look into what you need as a fitness coach to get your business going. One of the main parts of it is to get your projects done. 


Jon Acuff began his career as a blogger and has become a sought-after speaker. Other books from him are Start, Do Over and Quitter. You can also join his challenge 30-day hustle to get things done. He has been listed several times on the New York Times bestseller list.

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Why you should care about finishing


Most people do not finish their projects. In fact, most people do not even live up to their New Years resolutions. These are projects which are completely under their control. You don't need to coordinate 100 subcontractors to eat less cheesecake. Yet, still, people fail and beat themselves up about it. This is to help you to be different from this.


Most people do set goals which are unrealistic. Scientists refer to this as the planning fallacy. This is the main reason why 92 percent of us fail to achieve their goals. People typically reveal a bias toward optimism by constantly underestimating how much time they need to finish.  When they tested students they were given the task of finishing an essay. They were asked to estimate how long it would take to complete. Most of them said 34 days when it actually took them 56 days. This is nearly double the estimates.


When my wife and I discuss our goals we also see the same. It usually takes us longer than expected to realize our full potential. When we moved to Germany we were held up be me getting fired from a well-paid job. When she arrived in Germany it took a lot longer than we thought to get her a job. We also had not anticipated how much a strain this would be on our marriage. We kept on course and things turned around for us. It would have been worse if we had given up. When you are at your lowest it is usually the worst time to quit. 


What happened to me when I started finishing projects? The first big project I finished in the private realm was my first marathon in 2013. Since then I have managed to write a successful blog on the topic and finish two marathons more. Based on this I started to believe that I can do anything I can put my mind to. Since then I have married in Malta, moved to a different country for the second time and our children study in Ireland and the United Kingdom while we live in Germany. It is a rollercoaster ride and I would not miss it. I am getting more and more into doing less with more focus and it gets the desired results. It takes time and patience. The methods explained in this article do work.


How perfectionism keeps you from finishing One of the biggest enemies of progress is perfectionism. Doing things perfectly is admirable. It can also stop you right in your tracks.


You have written 80 percent of your training plan for a client for the new year. Your clients are ten weeks into your 90-day fitness program. But you just can't finish? This goes back to the challenge of perfectionism.


Once you feel something is not being perfect you stop it. This happened to me when I studied. I had a good streak in my first semester. My results put me in the top three of my class. Then my mother died. My second and third semester was a complete disaster and I decided to wing it for the rest of the studies. I quit applying myself because I could not be the best. Looking back I regret that decision.


In terms of fitness, your clients can also fall into this trap. Having one chocolate bar ruins the perfect sugar record for the day. So you might as well write the day off as a failure. Good excuse to stuff your face. These are the moments where you can really make a difference by continuing to be as good as you possibly can be.


Accept that life is imperfect and move on in a positive way. Nothing in life is perfect. No one should go around thinking everything will go their way. Having the ambition to be great at everything is not beneficial. Admitting that you are bad at some things will provide better results. I personally like to think that I am very bad at drawing and very good at using language. I don't even attempt to draw any illustrations for my blog. 


So did you skip the gym this morning? Did your diet go out of the window by inhaling a packet of Oreos? Avoid to beat yourself up about it. Concentrate on getting back on track as soon as you can. This differentiates the champions from the average. 


Another pitfall beside the obsession with a perfect track record is to think about "What if" scenarios too much. When you write a book you might ask yourself 


  • What if the critics hate it
  • What if nobody buys it


Of course, you can not publish it to avoid these scenarios. If you do this, it is likely that you will be bitter and hard towards yourself. As Stephen King once said  “People are extremely hard to live with when they have a talent they aren’t able to use.”


How to overcome perfectionism


A reliable way to avoid both planning fallacy and perfectionism is to cut your goal in half. This will greatly reduce the chance of quitting due to being overwhelmed or biting off more than you can chew.


Jon Acuff runs a “30 Days of Hustle” program, which is designed to help people set and achieve goals. On the ninth day of the program, he asks everyone to cut their goals in half. By doing so, participants routinely find their performances go up by an average of 63 percent. 90 percent of the participants report feeling more motivated as the goal feels more attainable.


This trick is a good one when your work seems overwhelming and unachievable. If you want to write a book, break it down into chapters. If you are struggling to finish a chapter, break it down into subheadings. When you are struggling with the subheadings, break it down into paragraphs. Stephen King manages his impressive input of books with one simple rule. Write two pages a day no matter what.


You also need to practice strategic incompetence. While Acuff was finishing his new book, he had to use strategic incompetence when answering his e-mails. This means that he had to let the work pile up in his Mailbox while he was finishing his book. You have to be ok with the fact that some areas of life will descend into chaos while you will be finishing up another end. This seems daunting at first. Believe me, this is the saner way of dealing with things. You will not feel like everything is a neverending trauma of recurring obstacles. Rather do what you enjoy with focus.


When your ultimate goal and the work it requires are two things you really enjoy, you have a recipe for success. During his “30 Days of Hustle” programs, Jon Acuff found that when participants had a goal involving work they found satisfying, their performance went up by an average of 31 percent. And when they chose an enjoyable goal, this increased their performance by another 46 percent! Another way to look at this is through a simple equation: fun = success. So whatever you do try to find the fun in it. This will make it a lot easier to finish and push through. Some of my coworkers tend to emphasize everything they hate about their clients. They are uncooperative, slow and do not respect their time. In these situations focus on how you can have a positive influence. Make the call or meeting with you the one thing your client looks forward to. Help them. 




Getting things done is about action and a clear goal. Doing something perfect is not a clear goal is perfect depends on the circumstances and is very subjective. Set a clear measurable goal by when you deliver, even if you are not satisfied with the end result. Sth Godin says "Artists ship". This is one of the greatest insights I got from his books. Rather than finding more what-if scenarios, set a deadline and do your best until it arrives. This is how you get finished.


Further reading

Topics: Fitness