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Goal setting is often used interchangeably with resolutions, which tends to link this action to the start of a new year. The problem is that most people neglect their resolutions by February, leaving them discouraged and often waiting for that next turn of the calendar year to try again. If this is your approach, you’re likely going to struggle to make any sort of meaningful progress.

If you separate goal setting from resolutions, however, you can shift your thinking around what the former is: an upfront effort to set thoughtful, measurable intentions against a realistic plan that drives forward progress and sustainable success. This can happen all 12 months of the year, regardless of your starting date.

One resource that Life Time offers that can help support you in this is a session with a Dynamic Personal Trainer. During these meetings, a member connects one-on-one with a trainer who will help them discover the best ways to achieve whatever aspirations they have. Trainers approach these sessions very intentionally to ensure goals are tailored and plans are solid and realistic.

Below is an example of a way a Dynamic Personal Trainer might approach goal setting with a client. It may inspire how you go about your own goal setting, while also giving you an idea of the thoughtfulness to expect from a Dynamic Personal Trainer in a session.


The first step is to establish your goal. If you have something exact in mind, great; if not, we can help you uncover it. In this phase, we make sure your goal is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

For example, a lot of times people come into these sessions and say something like, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger.” In order to build a plan, however, we need to be more precise, such as “I want to lose this number of pounds by this date” or “I want to lift this much weight by this date.”

This is also where we’ll discuss your “why,” or your emotional connection to your goal. This is important because when things get difficult — and they will — being grounded in a strong “why” can motivate you to keep going rather than giving up. For example, maybe your goal is to lose 10 pounds, but your intrinsic motivation behind it is that you want to have a better quality of life and more energy for your kids.

We’ll also ask about your experience with and current habits in health, nutrition, and fitness; this helps us build from your starting point and prepare for anything that might be an obstacle.

It’s important to be as honest as you can here so we can create the best plan that’s going to help you the most.


This is where we collect data to help inform our plan. Using our InBody scale, we measure body-fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, and water ratios. I always encourage my clients not to scared of this scale and to think about the numbers purely as a form of data.

We’ll next move onto the workout floor to complete some body-weight movement assessments for movements like squats or a pushup. Again, don’t be intimidated by this; it’s not a pass/fail test. We’re aiming to understand where your fitness is at currently and to determine if you need any modifications or have any compensations that need addressing before you jump into a program.


This is one of my favorite parts. Understanding what your goal is and your exact starting point, I can use that information to share my recommendations for you to get started.

I lay out the plan that, based on my knowledge and experience, is most optimal for you. We also go over what’s included in your membership and what might be an additional cost so we can adjust that plan based on what you’re comfortable with. There are many options at Life Time and we have something that’s accessible for everyone.

If you’re recommended for training, I think about my team and who specializes in what you’re looking for or need at this phase of your health and fitness journey. My job is to connect you with the trainer or coach who is the best fit for you. Sometimes that might be me!

If you’re feeling hesitant, nervous, or intimidated about scheduling an Intro to Dynamic Personal Training session, know that it’s an absolute no-judgement zone. The only thing our trainers are going to think is, Wow, this person is awesome because they’re taking the first step in their journey. We have such supportive trainers who are so excited to meet you where you’re at and help you achieve your goals.

Becca’s Top Tips for Goal-Setting Success

1. Take it one step at a time. I frequently have people who come in blazing, saying they want to overhaul their diet and start exercising five days a week. My response may be “Let’s just start with drinking more water,” and they’re like, “What?!” I could help someone lose weight very fast, but they’d gain it right back. And with goals like building muscle, that takes months. Chunk your goals out in realistic steps.

2. Have a vision of where you want to end up. People come in with a short-term vision and I always encourage them to push it out — if in three months you want to be here, then what about a year? Five years? The people who are ready to play the long game are the ones who I know will be successful.

3. Step into your desired identity. A lot of people approach fitness goals with the mindset of “If I do the training, then I’ll have the result, and then I’ll be this fit person.” Imagine the person you want to be and step into that identity now. I don’t work out so I can be “fit Becca,” I am fit Becca, so that’s why I work out.

4. Keep your expectations realistic. This is your chapter one. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and their journey or use language like “if” — maintain the mindset that you will achieve your goal and it’s going to take time. The process is going to be challenging, but remember that what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you. If you’re ready for change, embrace the challenge and embrace the journey.

5. Celebrate little successes. Did you show up for your workout? Did you sprint 30 seconds longer than you did a month ago? Those are successes! Sometimes we feel like we can’t celebrate until we’ve reached our goal, but the process is the most delicious part of it.

6. Find a community at the club. It’s often said that you become the five people you spend the most time with: If you’re surrounded by likeminded people, it’s going to help you stay the course. Old circles with old habits make it hard to keep to a new routine. People from Life Time have become my best friends. It’s a community that will help elevate you.

7. Remember it’s the majority that gets the vote. Every action you take toward your goal is a vote. So long as most of the votes are in your desired direction, then any instances where you may have gone off plan aren’t going to upset or overturn that vote. One workout did not change your entire body — missing one workout isn’t going to either.

8. Know there’s no finish line. Anyone can lose weight, for example, but what I want to teach you is how to keep it off by making lifestyle changes. Think about it this way: You brush your teeth every day. Just because you brushed once doesn’t mean you’re done. Your fitness is another form of hygiene.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

Becca Rigg

Becca Rigg, NASM–CPT, USAW–L1, ISSA–CPT is a personal trainer and nutrition coach at Life Time in New Hope, Minn.

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