I have a quote taped to the inside of the notebook by which I live my life. That quote, by Robert Heinlein, reads, "In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it."

I need that reminder daily. And so do our clients. I believe that our number one job as personal trainers is not to design great workouts, or even to teach our clients proper form. It is instead to help them fixate on a healthy goal that means something to them and then to push every excuse or perceived obstacle out of the way so that they attain that goal. That is the most effective way to create change, boost self-esteem, and convert them into lifelong exercisers.

But mostly, when you help a client fixate on a goal and then achieve it, you have given them purpose. You have elevated them out of the hum-drum of their daily lives (and often bad habits), and given them a reason to be better. You have unshackled them from a meandering existence and helped them become somebody that they, and others, can believe in. You have helped them become somebody better than they imaged they could be, even though it was they who set the goal.