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Setting SMART Goals

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.

Setting SMART Goals

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.

Create SMART goals

Discussing goal setting

You may want to start by discussing the long-term goals that your patients may have in mind. It can be helpful to refer to the responses to the Initial Questions about how weight affects medical, physical, emotional, and day-to-day well-being, and their plans or goals for their lifestyle in the future.

Talk about the big picture

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? Health? Travel?

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.

Talk about the big picture

  • 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? Health? Travel?
  • 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

Use the Goal Setting handout and the discussion topics below to create SMART goals with your patients: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely. When you are finished discussing the goals, consider establishing a follow-up plan for future appointments.

SPECIFIC

Guide patients to set specific goals for changes to behaviors or habits for healthy eating, activity levels, or weight management.

What are some healthy eating habits that you feel you can start following?

What are some activities that you would like to start?

Can you begin 1 or 2 of these before our next visit?

MEASURABLE

Ask how they will measure their progress toward achievement or know when they have achieved their goals.

What is the best way for you to track your new habits or progress toward your goals?

ACHIEVABLE

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.

Do you feel confident that this is an achievable goal?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "not at all confident” and 10 being “completely confident," how confident are you that you can achieve this goal?

RELEVANT

Ask about how their initial goals are relevant to their big-picture goals.

Why is this behavioral goal relevant or important to your overall plan?

TIMELY

Place a relatively short time frame on the initial goals and revisit whether they are achievable in that time frame.

When will you begin?

Setting individual patient goals 

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely

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.

What are some healthy eating habits that you feel you can start following?

What are some activities that you would like to start?

Can you begin 1 or 2 of these before our next visit?

Ask how they will measure their progress toward achievement or know when they have achieved their goals.

What is the best way for you to track your new habits or progress toward your 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.

Do you feel confident that this is an achievable goal?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "not at all confident” and 10 being “completely confident," how confident are you that you can achieve this goal?

Ask about how their initial goals are relevant to their big-picture goals.

Why is this behavioral goal relevant or important to your overall plan?

Place a relatively short time frame on the initial goals and revisit whether they are achievable in that time frame.

When will you begin?

Setting individual patient goals 

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely

Goal setting for weight management

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