Ways to Motivate Patients to Meet Their Wellness Goals
Learn how to motivate patients to improve health behaviors. Help them reach their wellness goals with Healthie.
In wellness, creating goals is a powerful tool in helping clients see necessary steps for improving their health. Collaborating with your clients to create goals is an essential process when working together, however motivating your wellness clients to complete their goals is separate endeavor. Immediately the phrase “easier said than done,” comes to mind, as clients often struggle meet their goals consistently. This frustration and lack of success can derail a client’s progress, and can potentially lead to a lost client.
Building in ways to support and motivate your wellness clients to complete their goals will leave them feeling empowered and inspired. Creating a positive environment for clients can lead to greater consistency and success in completing their wellness goals, with greater improvements in their long-term health outcomes.
Here are 5 valuable ways to motivate your wellness clients towards success:
1. Set realistic goals to motivate your wellness clients
You can only stimulate motivation and encourage your clients if you know exactly what they are working towards. Set clear and realistic goals framed around their vision they see for their future selves. There is no such thing as a goal “too small,” and sometimes you need to meet clients where they are. Making large strides in goals, or completing multiple goals may not be feasible for where they are at — and the fallout they’ll experience from not achieving their goals can seriously impair their motivation.
Collaborate with clients to create goals that they can actually achieve at this time. Realistic goals, on the other hand, are specific and attainable. The more specific your goal description is, the higher the chances are of actually reaching it. You’ll feel more encouraged to take responsibility and action if they are realistic. Seeing advancements, even small ones, in a tangible way can create better productivity and motivation for them in their route to achieving their set goals.
2. Create timelines that are achievable
It’s more motivating for clients’ to actually achieve the goals they had set for themselves if the target dates you advised for them are timely. This means keeping your client’s deadlines flexible and reasonable. ‘Timely’ might mean one month for a client but two weeks for other clients, so being able to tailor to all of your clients’ needs is an essential skill to have as a wellness professional.
Creating a clear timeline for current goals, and upcoming goals can also help clients to see a clear path. They’ll know how their current goals will support them in achieving later goals, with all changes leading to their ultimate wellness goals.
3. Talk-through possible barriers of change
Sometimes, your client might not meet a deadline or cannot meet the standards they were hoping to meet. Times like these are when clients feel discouraged the most, and is the time when they need moral support and help from you the most to keep continuing in times of hardship. As you are establishing their goals as a collaborative effort, you want to also warn them of possible minor setbacks or barriers that can keep them from successfully achieving their goals. By doing this, you’re reducing the amount of time your clients’ may feel stressed about completing their journey to meet their goals with you.
When going through a setback, a client may be particularly harsh on themselves, berating themselves for failure.. It’s normal for clients to feel disappointed in themselves if they receive criticism or can’t meet their desired wellness goal. They may even delay or cancel sessions because they are ashamed of their failures, or “don’t have anything new to report.” Motivate your wellness clients by making your expectations clear upfront. Do you always except them to achieve their goals? If not, should they cancel a session? Of course not!
Communicate with your clients by sharing goals are sometimes ongoing. Not accomplishing a goal is normal, there’s no judgement or failure! But it is important to check in especially when goals aren’t being met, so that you can work together to find the barriers to change.
4. Set POSITIVE wellness goals
Always keeping a positive mindset is the single most important component in your clients success rates. Just like there are positive and negative hopes people have, there are also positive and negative goals, and you want to stay away from the negatives because this gives room for worrying, overthinking, and ultimately can lead to failing. Overall, a positive goal creates a sense of moving forward and change. A negative goal, on the other hand, gives the opposite impression.
Negative goals look like this
- “No eating any sweets.”
- “No more refined grains.”
- Don’t skip the gym.”
- “Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages.”
Setting goals with a disparaging tone can create tension and resentment. This ultimately can undermine a client’s progress. Rephrased for a more encouraging outlook, positive goals sound like:
- “Have a healthy treat once a week.”
- Incorporate more whole grains at dinner meals”
- Include a 30 minute workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.”
- Save alcoholic beverages for the weekends and ask for alternatives to the sugary additives.”
You want to construct a goal where the image is focused on what you do want to achieve instead of saying words such as “no,” “not”, and “never.”
For instance, lets say your client is struggling with consuming too many snacks at night before they go to bed. Instead of setting a rigid goal to avoid salty & sweet snacks 7 days a week, allow them to have one mindful indulgence once a week.
Ultimately, you want your clients to always feel motivated to achieve their goals. So, the goals that you and your client set should be consistently positive.
5. Use motivational interviewing with your wellness clients
Motivational interviewing is a counseling method that helps clients resolve doubtful feelings they might be encountering about themselves, and find intrinsic motivation your clients need to change their wellness behaviors. The premise of motivational interviewing lies in a practical process, taking into account how difficult it can be to make small and big changes to their lives. Use this approach to support and push clients through their challenges. Motivational interviewing can be exceptionally beneficial for clients who are currently in an unmotivated or underprepared state.
How does it work/what to expect?
Typically, this counseling technique is short-term and is often combined with other forms of intervention including stress management training. There are two overall parts. The first is to increase your client’s motivation. The second part is for that specific client to actually commit to change. In a supportive effort, you want to encourage your clients to talk about their need to change and their own reasons for wanting to. Part of this therapy includes having clients talk out loud about their change. Hearing themselves actually express a commitment out loud has shown to help improve a client’s ability to make those changes. Your job is easy: Just sit back and listen to them speak. Then, reflect their goal of change back to them so they can hear, from another person, their specific reasons and motivations.
5 Stages of Readiness to Change
Under motivational interviewing, wellness professionals follow 5 stages to help motivate wellness clients to make change. The first step is to assess which stage of “readiness to change,” your client is currently at. Work towards moving them through the different stages, until they are finally ready to make lasting change.
Clients in this stage aren’t ready to think about making a change in their life yet. In this stage, you have the opportunity to motivate, and educate your patients about why change is necessary to their health and lifestyle. Gather history and listen for any discrepancies about their goals or choices so you know how to go about treating them. Instill hope in them by telling personal or success stories when one makes a motion to change. Once they can understand that change is necessary, and beneficial, they’ll be able to start considering making a change.
In the contemplation stage, clients are considering a lifestyle change, but are not ready to make a commitment. Both you and you client should sit down and explore both the positive and negative aspects of the lifestyle choice they are trying to implement. Use techniques like reflective listening to help your clients disconnect between stated goals or concerns. Finally, gently encourage direction of change by reflecting back what your clients have told you.
In the preparation stage, clients are preparing for action to change in the foreseeable future. Here, you can really discuss more about your business and or products you have. Offer a menu of choices, including online resources, group sessions, pamphlets, and more. In this stage, you want to also discuss and identify any barriers to change.
In the action stage, clients are actively implementing a plan for change, with the help from you of course. Here, you are tracking your clients’ progress. Seeing their results and progress will help them keep motivated.
In the maintenance stage, your clients are maintaining healthy lifestyle changes they made. You can continue to track any gains associated with change. To prevent relapses, help identify any people or things that could stand in the way of your clients success, that can also deter their motivation to keep up the incredible work they have been doing. However, of course you can’t avoid all life situations that are difficult. In these cases, build skills with your clients to prevent relapses.
Ways to Use Healthie for Goal Setting
Leveraging Healthie as a way to collaborate with your clients and promote your services is one way that can help drive client success rates and overall, grow your wellness practice. Thanks to Healthie’s Goals Feature, wellness professionals can create time-specific, detailed goals for each client. The client portal allows patients to check-off completed items, receive reminders of their goals, and view the progress they made on their journey to any of their goals they have created in Healthie.
For clients, the goals platform is an engaging tool that will help maintain their focus + motivation. Through their desktop or mobile device, clients can:
- View their wellness goals
- Monitor their progress with daily goal completion rates, and ongoing goal streaks
- Check off completed goals and subgoals
- Receive in-app reminders to complete their goals
- Message their wellness provider with any questions re: their goals or challenges to completing
Learn more about Healthie’s Goals Feature here
Remember, there’s a difference between setting and actually achieving a wellness goal. If your client is struggling with the motivation aspect of meeting a goal, center their consults around it. When they’ve finally achieved a goal, praise them! You want your clients to be absorbent of their achievements and take time to reward themselves properly. This will build their self-confidence and actually prove that they can manifest anything they put their mind to.
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