Set yourself and your patients up for success in long-term weight management.
Setting SMART goals can make a difference in your patients' weight-loss journey
A discussion about goal setting is a way to help your patients connect their goals with the changes they can make for better weight management. Align with your patients on realistic and individualized goals as a first step toward creating sustainable, long-term changes.
Talk about the big picture
It’s important to understand your patients’ ultimate goals, and asking the following questions can help you do just that.
Ultimately, what do you want to achieve? If you think about the big picture of your life, what do you want it to look like?
Do you have a certain amount of weight that you want to lose?
Considering your ultimate goals, we can work together to take the first steps toward what is realistic for you to achieve for health and weight.
SMART goals: goal setting for weight management
Guide patients to set specific goals for changes to behaviors or habits for healthy eating, activity levels, or weight management
Ask how they will measure their progress toward achievement or know when they have achieved their goals
Discuss how confident they feel about achieving their goal—this is a chance for a reality check to revise the goal if patients don’t feel confident that the goal is achievable
Ask about how their initial goals are relevant to their big-picture goals
Place a relatively short time frame on the initial goals and revisit whether they are achievable in that time frame
Establish a family-oriented approach to weight management1
Encourage Open Communication
For patients who are open to discussing weight management in a clinical setting, encourage them to have honest discussions about their goals with family members as a next step.
Consider Home Dynamics
If a patient isn't comfortable sharing with family members, remind them that they can include friends or like-minded online communities in their support network instead.
When building a patient's weight-management plan, consider how food and activity are rooted in family culture to set more effective behavioral goals.
Goal setting for weight management
A handout to help set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) weight-management goals with your patients.
See what the experts think
The reality of weight regain
1. Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioral modification for the management of obesity. Prim Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.