The CBT-Fitness Formula to Achieve Goals

goal setting

When it comes to helping clients achieve their fitness goals, taking a simple approach often works best. 

Goal setting is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help transform your client’s lives. At CBT Meets Fitness, we use a simple 6 step approach when setting fitness goals with our clients. 

Here is our exact CBT-Fitness Goal Setting Formula you can use: 

1. Decide exactly what it is your client wants

Most coaches fail to do this with their clients. They often fail to take the time needed to ask thought provoking questions. It is true, most clients you work with will want MANY different things, but at the same time, not one thing in particular. 

A major reason for failure in fitness is that most clients think they already have goals. But what they actually have are NOT goals at all. They have wishes, hopes and fantasies. 

I hope to lose 10lbs.

I wish I could fit into my summer bikinis.

A real goal is something clear and specific. How do you know if your clients have set real goals? Have them pretend they are explaining their goal to a six-year-old child. 

2. Write the fitness goal down 

A goal that is not in writing is a wish or a hope. It is said that goals are “dreams with deadlines.” When you have your clients write down a goal, they take the goal out of thin air, and make it clear and tangible. They are able to see, touch and read it. Their fitness goals now exist, whereas before it was merely a figment of their imagination. 

Only 3% of people with a fitness goal have clear written goals. By doing so, they can accomplish ten times as much as the average fitness transformation client can over the course of their fitness journey. The clients who have written goals often accomplish more with their fitness in one year than the average fitness transformation client accomplishes in five or ten years. 

There is real value in writing goals down. Each goal your client writes down and each time they write it, they are actually writing and programming into their subconscious mind. Once they have written down the goal, their subconscious mind accepts this as a command and begins working to bring this goal to them twenty-four hours a day, whether they are awake or asleep.

3. Set a deadline 

A deadline acts as a ‘forcing system’ for your client’s subconscious mind. It gives their mind a target to aim at. from the time they write down their goal and set a deadline, they will be more motivated to take the steps necessary to achieve it. 

A written goal with a deadline activates the Law of Attraction. Your clients will begin to attract into their fitness life people, ideas, resources and opportunities to help them move faster toward their goal. 

What happens if your client gets injured / sick or something unexpected pops up and they can’t achieve their fitness goal by the deadline? Simple – have your client set another deadline. Many things can happen that can set back the accomplishment of a goal. That is not a problem! Just have your client set another deadline!


There are no unrealistic fitness goals, just unrealistic fitness deadlines. 

4. Make a list

Have your client write down everything they can think of that they could do to achieve their fitness goal. Include the people, knowledge, skills, and resources they will need. Have them continue to add to their list until they feel it is complete. 

Making a list about specific fitness goal(s) will increase your client’s belief that the goal is attainable. It motivates and keeps them focused. 

5. Make the list a plan 

First, organize the list by creating a sequential checklist. 

Have your client write all the steps, one after the other, that they will have to take to achieve their fitness goal. Have them work from a written checklist. This will increase the speed at which they achieve their fitness goal by five to ten times. 

Then, organize the list by priority

  • What does your client see as most important? 
  • What does your client see as least important? 

Twenty percent of the items on their list will account for eighty percent of their success. Get them to dig deep and figure out what they are! 

6. Take action right away 

Have your client take one action step on their plan, RIGHT AWAY! Have them do something every day to move them toward achievement of their most important fitness goal. Never miss a day, seven days a week. 

Why do we want them to do something every day?

It will trigger the ‘Momentum Principle’ of success. It is hard to take the first step, to get going on a fitness goal, but after that it does become easier. They will develop more and more momentum. Clients might not be able to see the entire process, but they can always see the first step. 

As a coach, it is best to try out a new process on yourself first. Spend some time developing your present fitness goal(s) based on this exact formula!

Picture of Jill Bunny

Jill Bunny

As CEO of CBT Meets Fitness, Jill Bunny provides the vision and leadership to further our mission: to improve mental health & fitness worldwide through excellence in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She manages internal operations and oversees the creation of new programs. She also manages the expansion of existing programs to increase access to CBT training and certification programs for health & fitness professionals in North America. She holds a degree in Kinesiology, from the University of New Brunswick, along with Functional Medicine certification from IFMHC, and CBT qualifications from the University of Laurier, Penn State & Beck’s Institute in the US.

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CBT Meets Fitness is the bridge between psychotherapy + fitness.

We are comprised of educated professionals specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for things like depression, anxiety, and numerous other psychological concerns pertaining to weight loss, athletics, as well as dieting & exercise. Our experts use clinically-proven methods, which make us the premier online CBT fitness treatment centre in North America. At CBT Meets Fitness, we are proud to serve women & athletes across the globe with evidence based skills to help with the missing mental piece of health & fitness transformations and athletic success.

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