E-Book Excerpt: How to Help Patients Set Realistic Health Goals

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As a health coach, Christine Arnholt, NBC-HWC, FMCHC, motivates her clients by highlighting their accomplishments instead of the goals they haven’t met. Christine’s job is to inspire health and vitality in her clients by working with them to set their own intentions. Using a functional medicine approach leveraging key modifiable personal lifestyle factors, Christine helps her clients connect with their meaning and purpose, identify what’s holding them back from adopting a healthier lifestyle, and channel their strengths to overcome those obstacles.

During the onboarding process, Christine sends her clients some optional homework. The homework usually includes three activities that get patients thinking about their health goals and give Christine a better sense of their current state of life, health, and what they’re looking for. The assessments Christine usually sends to her clients include:

  • Wellness Wheel: This activity asks patients to plot on a scale of 0-10 (0 being in the center of the wheel and 10 being on the outside) how they would rank themselves in eight key life categories (e.g., health, love, money, etc.). After they are done, they can see how balanced, or unbalanced, the different aspects of their life are and offer an opportunity to think about what they’d like to—and are ready to— work on with the support of a coach. 
  • Character Strength Survey: This survey identifies a patient’s strongest character strengths through a series of questions.
  • Medical Symptom Questionnaire: For this activity, patients fill out a simple form that helps identify a range of medical symptoms. Christine likes to get a "before" and "after" to determine progress.

During their first session, Christine and her client go over what they learned from these activities. Then, Christine would ask them about their health goals, prioritize those they’d like to focus on, and discuss potential obstacles. To end the session, Christine would take her client’s strengths into account, explore how they likes to be held accountable, and help them come up with action items and/or “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals that could realistically be implemented into their life.

About the Expert

Christine Arnholt, NBC-HWC, FMCHC Arnholt is uniquely skilled national board-certified health and wellness coach with a passion for inspiring health and vitality by supporting people in connecting to their innate power and strengths, empowering them to feel their best. After almost 30 years in corporate America in marketing, branding, product development and guest experience leadership roles, Arnholt shifted gears to engage in what she considers her most important work yet: supporting people in creating and living their healthiest, happiest, most vitality-infused lives. After going back to school to learn the science behind the human body, and then going through a year-long functional medicine coaching curriculum, Arnholt launched her company, BrandCraftYOU to inspire health and vitality and empower people to feel their best.

Editor’s Note: This text was originally published in the e-book, Treating Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Medicine. To access the full text, click here.