You might be putting out the effort to “get fit”. You also might not be seeing the results you are looking for. You’ve tried over and over and over, and seem to always end up at the same spot… no change. Well, maybe you fall into one of these traps that The Gray Institute cleverly wrapped up into one article. You can find more information about them at

Here’s the article:

-Top 10 Approach Problems-

As professionals serving the health-fitness-wellness industry, we’re seeing very little return on our investment of time and energy spent trying to help our clients reach their health and happiness goals. Problems need solutions!

The roots of this reality are embedded within the traditions of our approach. Culturally, we’ve been conditioned to chase symptoms, and deconditioned to think for ourselves. As a result, weight gain simply means someone needs to eat less and move more, and we rarely look beyond the superficial to understand why things are the way they are. Our clients need us to be more than cogs in a machine!

We can no longer wait for permission to explore the GAP between our client’s intentions to improve their quality of life and the lackluster outcomes they often achieve while under our care. 

Intentions –> GAP <– Outcomes

Embedded within the GAP is the resistance that keeps our client’s from becoming whom they ought to be. Resistance presents itself in the form of discouraging thoughts, fear-based emotions, protective behaviors, limiting beliefs, painful experiences, and poor self-image. These challenges cannot be solved on the gym floor, through a perfectly balanced diet, or with eight hours of sleep per night. In fact, they require that we develop a new set of skills so that we can create an environment that facilitates healing for The Whole Person: MindBodySpirit┬«.

We can help minimize the GAP and become a part of their solution by understanding the difference between a Traditional and Mind-First Approach®

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller

Traditional Approach vs. Mind-First Approach┬« 

1. Addresses symptoms vs. Addresses root causes

Clients naturally present with symptoms they’d like to resolve. Take anxiety; for example, we can guide people towards meditation, but unless we understand anxiety’s relationship to control, a long-term resolution is unlikely.  In short, chasing the symptoms will never rectify them. A Functional Behavioral Specialist (FBS) strategically peels back protective layers of dysfunction, to address symptoms at the level of causation. 

2. Suspends joy vs. Prioritizes joy 

Both the client and professional have been conditioned to suspend joy until one’s goal has been achieved. Unfortunately, few have the wherewithal to delay gratification and remain committed to the daily denial of comfortable habits to reach said goal. A FBS leverages joy on the front-end of the engagement by stating the very nature of the client-professional relationship as a success, in and of itself. 

Client’s desire to improve QOL + Professional’s willingness to help = SUCCESS!

“If we can’t associate joy with the process of self-care, I just don’t see the point.” Michael Rizk

3. Starts with self-improvement vs. Begins with self-acceptance 

Change has subtle undertones of self-rejection. Change says: “Who and what and where I am is not good enough.” Though, no level of self-improvement will ever make up for lack of self-acceptance. When the pursuit of a goal is an attempt to accept oneself, that goal cannot be achieved by any amount of effort, only surrender. A FBS delays physical, tactical efforts to help clients engage self-acceptance practices that transform the striving to reach one’s goals as an expression of their inherent worth. 

4. No-pain-no-gain vs. No-pain-all-gain

Unfortunately, self-care is still associated with the phrase no-pain-no-gain. So long as this association remains, self-care will always be perceived as an obligation. When you feel like you “have to” do something, the emotional energy released dramatically reduces the capacity for and possibility of long-term transformation. A FBS reframes self-care as an opportunity, something you “get to” do, and the chain reaction speaks for itself. 

5. Criticizes behavior vs. Questions beliefs

Client’s claim to self-sabotage once progress is made and professionals encourage them to “get back on track,” “fail forward,” and “remember their WHY.” While well-intentioned, so long as the conversation remains at the level of behavior, an alteration in self-expression is doubtful. A FBS is taught to see behavior as a statement of what someone believes about themselves, and are committed to engaging the conversations that help their clients redefine their limiting core beliefs. 

6. Holds people accountable vs. Teaches self-accountability

When client’s hire a professional to help them reach their health and wellness goals, part of what they believe they’re paying for is to be held accountable. However, this tactic fully disempowers the client as it shifts the focus to the professional, and forms the foundation for a co-dependent relationship, minimizing the possibility of independence. A FBS recognizes the most important relationship anyone has is the one they have with themselves, and to that end, positions client’s to practice self-accountability, pivoting on self-honor, integrity, and respect. 

7. How to succeed vs. How to fail successfully

All the talk around success invariably takes power out of the NOW and places it into the future. Rather than teaching clients how to succeed, a FBS helps clients develop the crucial skill of failing successfully. Getting back up after a fall IS success, and makes reaching a goal merely a matter of time. 

8. Takes action vs. Balances action with contemplation

Taking action, for all intents and purposes, is the ultimate indicator as to whether or not someone is “serious” about and committed to reaching their goals. Action is great, but it’s not the most critical step in making a change, awareness is. A FBS integrates contemplative practices that balance the energy associated with taking action. Looking inward before moving outward is the missing link to the sustainability of healthy effort.

9. Emphasizes outcomes vs. Overly emphasizes effort

A client interested in weight loss will work hard dieting and exercising, and at the end of the week, will step onto the scale to see if their efforts “worked.” More often than not, they’re disappointed with what the scale has to say, feelings of defeat quickly set it, and the spirit of “let’s do this” becomes “why bother.” The problem here is how success is being measured. A FBS reframes success as effort, not the outcome, as effort is within the client’s control. What gets measured, gets managed!

10. Provides resources vs. Develops resourcefulness

Seemingly, we still believe that equipping clients with more resources will somehow get them where they want to be. This is the whole give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish concept, applied to health. A FBS intuits that beauty can emerge from constraining situations and helps clients develop a spirit of resourcefulness, making the most with what they’ve got. Not only do clients learn how to be successful with less and less, but they apply that to happiness too. 

If you’d like to play a more significant role in your client’s transformative process, working from the inside-out (Spirit–>Mind–>Body) to position them for success far beyond their encounter with you, please join us this fall for the 2-day, Functional Behavioral System workshop in the following locations: 

September 21st-22nd in Chicago, Illinois

October 12th-13th in San Diego, California
In the meantime, we’d love to have you participate in the industry-changing conversations we’re having in our Functional Behavioral System Facebook group. To continue receiving these messages, please be sure to follow the Gray Institute and Condition for Life.