A Simple Formula for Setting Realistic, Achievable Goals as a Health Coach
After graduating from your health coach training program, you’re excited about all of the possibilities that lay ahead, but you may also be a little unsure about where to start.
All of a sudden, here you are; ready to coach clients, but where do you begin? How do you measure your progress, track success and map out your goals?
While it might be tempting to plan nothing but “success” for your business, that isn’t exactly a “plan.” I think this can be where health coaches can set themselves up for frustration and disappointment.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Instead of being abstract, you’ll want to set clear objectives for the next 12 months. This will help you to be able to outline and define the steps to you’ll need to take to reach your destination (your goals), and then you’ll be able to see if you are on track. You’ll also be more aware of when you may need to adjust your course of action when needed.
What do you want to achieve?
Of course, you want to be successful, but what does that mean to you exactly? Is it reaching a particular income level? Is it impacting a certain number of lives? Is it leaving your current job so you can be your own boss? To achieve it, you’ll first need to define it.
Get a pen, and grab your FREE Step-by-Step Goal-Setting Worksheet as you go through this post. Yes, we can hammer this out together right now.
Ready, set, let’s go.
Why your goals need to be SMART.
The acronym SMART is widely used in business when it comes to defining goals. It stands for (with some variations):
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Attainable
- R: Relevant
- T: Time-bound
Each of these 5 categories are important to include when setting goals because it helps you map out a solid, actionable plan. In order to have a successful business, planning is key; I’m not saying it’s always fun, but it is necessary.
In one to two years from now, where do you want to be with your health coach business to consider yourself successful? To test whether your goals are specific, try to answer the following questions:
○ What do I want to accomplish?
(Example: Do you want to leave your current job to do health coaching full time?)
○ Specific reasons, purposes or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
(Will this allow you more freedom with your schedule or more time to spend with your family? Will it give you more independence and a sense of purpose? Would you be able to earn more money?)
○ Who is involved?
(Will you work on your own or will you outsource some of your tasks?)
○ Identify a location.
(Will you work with clients online or in-person? Or do you prefer a combination of both? The answer to this question will shape your business, as well as your marketing strategies.)
Take your time to think about the answers to these questions. This will help you set the foundation for everything else.
Now that you know what you want, it’s time to quantify it. Some of the questions that might help you determine your success are:
- How much?
Think of your ideal income (the amount you project for your first year, and then your ultimate goal).
- How many?
Hours per week booked with clients. Hours with online coaching (if that’s part of your plan).
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
What are the magic numbers that will reflect your progress and your success?
Set milestones throughout the year and measure your progress.
If you are going to work part-time at the beginning of your career as a health coach, you won’t be able to take on as many clients as someone working full-time in their business.
Set goals that will be a bit of a stretch for you to attain, but not so far ‘out there’ that you will set yourself up for disappointment. Ask yourself if there are other tools or resources you might need in order to reach your goals.
Take the parameters you defined under the criteria “Specific” into consideration. Assess your level of availability and commitment and set your goals accordingly.
As a health coach, you’ll be working with your clients to improve their lifestyle. To be relevant, the scope of the goals you set for them will be around fitness, nutrition and health.
When setting your business goals, they also have to be relevant. A way to test it is by answering questions like:
- Does this plan seem worthwhile? Is it aligned with my priorities and purpose?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match what I’m truly passionate about?
- Will this help me reach other goals in my life?
Think of one of your clients that would like to lose 20 pounds. While they’ll probably want it to happen quickly, as a health coach, you know it’s better to focus on slow but consistent lifestyle changes. Rushing things will do more harm than good. Besides, expecting such a transformation in one month, for example, may create false expectations that will lead to losing motivation. This is the same for you and your goals.
The following are examples of questions that may help you define your time-bound goals:
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Define two or three primary goals for the next 12 months and map out your plan to achieve them.
Goals not only help you decide the next steps and evaluate your progress, but they also help you stay motivated. How can you be excited for something if you don’t know what it is? Likewise, without assessment, you can’t make adjustments.
Goal setting is an important part of starting your health coaching business. I know it isn’t always fun to do, but it will most certainly save you time and frustration, and help you earn more money in the long run.
If setting goals a year in advance seems too daunting right now, start with the next six months. Sometimes, we don’t realize how far we have come unless we put our goals in writing and track our progress.
Investing time in a little planning now will greatly increase your chances of success as a health coach.
Oh, and remember to set goals that push you out of your comfort zone too. The biggest growth can come from the things that challenge us the most.
Great news! I want to make this easy for you, so I have a great goal setting worksheet that will help you with your planning.
Grab your FREE Goal Setting Worksheet HERE
Most “impossible” goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them, and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine. – Don Lancaster