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Gaining Confidence and Motivation Using this Goal Setting Approach

During the initial coaching sessions, the primary focus is learning the client’s goals, habits, and health journey. Throughout the conversation, the Health Coach assists the client in identifying their priorities. This serves as the foundation for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.


During the first few meetings, Stephanie expressed her desire to incorporate physical activity into her life. She currently leads a sedentary lifestyle due to lower body mobility issues, and experiences low energy levels.


Stephanie also shared feeling unmotivated. She explained that her lack of success with exercise does not stem from a lack of effort, but because every exercise routine she tried made her pain worse. This made those physical goals unrealistic and unsuitable for her. Stephanie aspires to embrace a healthy lifestyle, encourage movement within her family, and engage in activities without experiencing physical discomfort or breathlessness as limitations.


The Health Coach listened to Stephanie’s past experiences and objectives. Upon understanding her desires, the Health Coach asked insightful follow-up questions to refine Stephanie’s vision and goals. They began working on her vision, which included brainstorming actionable behaviors and strategies to create her action plan.


By using the SMART goal tool, they developed a plan for her first week. 


Goal: Include exercise in her weekly routine.



-       Walking and contacting a physiotherapist to book an appointment for her lower body pain.


-       Minimum of 3x/week. for 20 min. (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday).

-       She will schedule the walking reminders in her phone and use a calendar to track her weekly walks.


-       Walking doesn’t increase her lower body discomfort.

-       Stephanie can walk outdoors and has access to an indoor walking track.

-       Appointment with a physiotherapist to assess her lower body discomfort.


-       Adding weekly exercise will increase her energy. Allowing her to include exercise with her family without feeling like she must miss out on opportunities.


-       In one week, she would like to see consistency.

-       As she moves forward, she wants to see growth in that consistency (over the course of the next 3 months).

-       She would like to be consistent with walking 3-4x/week and have lowered her lower body discomfort in order to incorporate strengthening exercises in her weekly schedule.


In the future sessions with the Health Coach, they established a weekly schedule to facilitate consistent progress. During these sessions, they reviewed Stephanie’s action plan, and addressed barriers. This included her “all or nothing mindset”, low motivation, and reduced confidence. She faced these challenges while working on maintaining her goal of walking three times a week. The Health Coach provided feedback, support, and expert guidance, helping Stephanie cultivate a solution-oriented mindset. Together, they collaboratively devised strategies to overcome potential challenges, empowering Stephanie to navigate her health journey with resilience and determination.


As the sessions progressed, Stephanie changed her perspective, and learned to embrace setbacks as valuable opportunities for growth and progress. Guided by the Health Coach’s support, Stephanie quickly learned that her ability to bounce back from a setback is a powerful tool that helps her stay consistent. She was able to progress towards her objectives and achieve meaningful success in her health journey.


By: Gabrielle Babineau

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