Goal setting: one of the most important components to consider for your clients on their path to success. With each client, comes a different story and hopes in achieving different endeavors. Goal setting is the principal tool for helping anyone reach their full potential. The main purpose of setting a structured list of goals is to provide your clients with an anticipated future outcome. It’s sometimes hard for clients to keep motivated when they don’t have a set goal, plan, or target to where they plan to be in the future.
As a wellness professional, you probably have seen a majority of clients come to you with overwhelming goals, frustrated about their lack of progress towards a healthier life. You can use goal setting in your work together, from initial consult to follow-up sessions, that will allow your clients to prioritize their changes and start to see the changes they are hoping to achieve. Making a collaborative effort towards goal setting shows your clients that you care about their progress and future success.
Below are 8 benefits of goal setting for client success:
1. Clearer focus: goals provide direction
For clients, setting a goal establishes a clearly defined and thought-out direction they need to make, which will lead them to eventually achieve their longer-term wellness goals. Having this clear direction allows them to focus on the smaller steps it will take to ultimately achieve success.
Goal setting can be overwhelming for clients, especially when they feel that they have many goals, many conflicting conditions and large end-goals to achieve. With diligent goal setting, and guidance by their wellness professional, clients are able to prioritize their energies with their new focus.
What are S.M.A.R.T goals?
This widely used acronym is used to guide people in setting objectives for themselves. Instead of vague resolutions, like the favorite New Year’s resolutions, goals should be structured with clear milestones.
Specific — The more specific your goal description is, the better chance you’ll actually meet it. You’ll have more motivation to take action if you know exactly what you want. Help your client ask “who, what, why, where, and when” during your clients session.
Measurable — Having a measurable goal will keep you stay on task and track your progress.
Attainable — Is this goal achievable to you? Your goal should be realistic, but also stretch your boundaries giving leeway for more opportunities to conquer.
Relevant — Ask your client “what is the significance behind reaching this goal?” You want to make sure that each goal is purposeful in getting them to where they want to be. Is it relevant to their overall journey?
Timely — Establish deadlines to make the goals seem attainable. Yet, it’s important to keep your client’s deadline flexible and practical. You do not want to install fear and worry in your client’s, so make sure their list of goals are time-bound.
2. Gives your clients a better sense of personal satisfaction
Goal setting can be overwhelming for clients, but after setting their objectives and S.M.A.R.T goals, it’s easier to develop a better sense of personal satisfaction. Setting, then finally actually reaching those goals drives clients to feel like they are capable of getting to all of their goals they had set. Long-term or short-term, this will give your clients a better sense of confidence and self-efficacy.
- Helping clients maintain motivation/courage
- Crossing off goals they accomplished is motivating
- Word usage, more positive construct
3. Helps your clients maintain motivation through the successes AND the challenges
Sometimes, consistently achieving goals is a challenge. Helping clients to see that the path to success doesn’t always look like a clear, linear line, can help them identify the underlying barriers to change. For clients, not completing a goal can feel like a failure, but in truth, these setbacks are a part of long-term success. Talking through the setbacks, and creating new goals to help address these underlying issues, will allow clients to break down their barriers to change and create sustainable change.
Some suggestions for working through setbacks:
- As a collaborative effort, clarify the problem. Define and identify exactly what might be causing the adversity.
- Look at ways to resolve the problem. Sometimes it’s necessary to change the route you are taking to achieve your goal.
- Accept where you’re at. For instance, if your client is trying to lose weight and is feeling discouraged, you might want to shed light on their journey and have them think of this in a more positive mindset. “I’m not where I want to be yet. I’ve been struggling with eating healthy meals and consistently exercising three days a week, but I’m working on it.” Recommend them say this instead of saying “I’m never going to lose weight. I will never understand how to manage my time around when I eat meals and my busy schedule.”
4.Prioritizing changes they need to make via step-by-step action
Prioritization is a hard tool to come by these days; we all struggle with it at moments. Many clients come in for the first time with no idea how to prioritize the changes they’d like to make. Goal setting is an extremely useful tool to prioritize these changes. It gives them a step-by-step action on what they are supposed to be doing.
Help your clients best use their resources. Setting goals can help you prioritize because there are never enough resources to do everything with. Place your resources behind each goal to determine what you really want to do.
One helpful resource for goal tracking and monitoring is Healthie’s goal-setting platform. Clients can conveniently login to their client portal on desktop, or mobile app, and see their goals for the day. They’ll receive periodic notifications prompting them to check-off their goals. As their wellness provider, you can collaborate and create the goals with your client, right in their client account. Track their progress by periodically reviewing their goals, and quickly identify goals that they are struggling to accomplish consistently.
5. Gives your clients a realistic timeline when their goals should be achieved
Time is a fickle thing. In order to make the right decisions, you must slow down and take a deep breath. After figuring out your top priorities is when you can bring time management into the sequence of events. Realistically, it’s hard to set a standard when something should be completed such as a book, a food journal, or when you should eat your next meal. Goal setting can of course help with this. If you set a realistic timeline for all of your clients goals, they’ll feel more motivated to accomplish it in that timeframe knowing it is written down.
Some goals don’t need a time limit because it can easily cause stress for your clients and hinder their overall performance and joy. Target dates vs. deadlines are something to be careful of when helping your clients during goal setting.
6. Clearer understanding of expectations
As a wellness professional, you want your clients to have a clear understanding of what their expectations might be when they are using your services. What do they want as a future outcome from the help you are providing them with? It’s impossible to build consistent expectations when you don’t define them clearly during your sessions. This means it’s time for goal setting! Help them set goals to identify what their expectations are.
Depending on the goals your clients want to set, try recommending to take small-scale steps in reaching their long-term success. Too high of an expectation can give your clients a reason to feel disappointment or failure. In many cases, this gives reason to why goal setting can be so beneficial for your client’s journey. Set goals tailored to each of your clients to help them successfully achieve them in a timely fashion, and will to minimize any feelings of discouragement. Most things in life that are worthwhile take a lot of time and effort to conquer. It’s important for you to emphasize this to your clients, giving them a more empowering mindset about their own self image.
7. Prevent your clients from feelings of being overwhelmed
Goals help us all in one form or another slow down and figure out why we are performing certain actions. Slowing down is important for the brain to connect your actions and goals. When clients don’t see improvement right away, they become discouraged in fulfilling their destination. Instead of thinking of a minor setback as “bad,” tell them that it’s education for future improvement and therefore “good.” As their wellness provide, you can help clients sift through these overwhelming thoughts and find a better strategy towards change.
8. Clarity to decision making
Goal setting can often be used to help drive follow-up sessions and conversations with clients. Gauging how your client feels about their progress, can be even more enlightening than the goal itself. For example, a client can be successfully achieving their goal, but upon further investigation, they report that they don’t feel like it’s an accomplishment. They may not be able to celebrate the little steps towards progress that they are making, and minimize their efforts. This self-doubt and negative self-perception can undermine their progress in the long-run.
Some goal-related questions that you may want to ask your clients during follow-up sessions:
- “How do you feel about the progress that you’ve made so far?”
- “Does this activity get you closer to your goal?”
- “What about this goal gives you a sense of happiness and purpose?”
- “Do you think that setting goals will help bring you to the place you want to end up at?”
When your clients can openly and honestly answer and discuss these questions is when you know they have more clarity concerning the benefits of goal setting.
9. Gives your client a lasting purpose
Goal setting can help one identify themselves as a meaningful component in life. At one point or another, everyone wants to have a mission in life; to feel like they have a purpose. As a wellness professional, you can help create this sense of long lasting purpose in your client’s lives. Goal setting will give your clients a desire to make healthier changes with greater success. If you center their goals on their purpose in life, they’ll foremost believe in themselves to carry out their to-do’s and also live a happy life.
Setting a list of goals provides a clear vision for your clients, which helps drive client success rates with your services. Clients are faced with a boatload of options, and having a written goal makes it easier for them to face their obstacles.
Developing collaborative plans and goals with your clients is significant to their future success. Reward your clients’ when they meet their goals, to demonstrate how happy you are for the hard work and motivation they have been putting in to reaching their full potential.