This article is written by Michelle Yandle, Manager of Partnerships and Programs at Melon Health.
For most people wanting to make changes to their health, they succeed in making those changes for a short time but often struggle with integrating them into their lifestyle for the long-term.
At Melon, we believe that in order to make lasting change, one must begin by finding their motivation, unlocking the WHY behind their desire to change. Helping someone identify their values and create goals based on those values will help our patients to do so.
The purpose of the personal values-based goal is the “why.” It’s unlocking a reason compelling enough to set action in motion. It’s the “why” that person wants to get healthy and feel well that will drive change. This is the crux of our coaching methods and it is crucial to understand if we are going to help others begin to help themselves.
Many of the people that we work with will already have a clinical goal that they agreed on with their doctor or nurse, losing 5% of their total weight within 16 weeks, for example. But helping them identify a goal that has meaning to them will help them stay motivated and on track as it will serve as a reminder of why they want to get well and propel them forward.
It's not enough to simply want to “lose weight” or “be healthier,” we need to help them explore the reasons WHY do they want to lose weight? WHY do they want to get healthier? What will change? How will their life be improved?
Perhaps it’s so they will have more energy to play with their children or grandchildren.
Perhaps it’s so they can keep up with their friends when going on a hike.
Or, maybe it’s simply to feel energized for some upcoming travel.
Motivation will be different for everyone, much like our values are.
So, how do we help someone to create goals that values-based?
For some people, the following simple question is enough for them to begin to identify a personal, values-based goal:
Why do you want to become healthier?
For others, explaining the difference between values and goals may be necessary in order for people to describe what they really care about. Going through this process can give someone focus and direction. It also enables people to understand themselves and what drives them a little more.
Another type of questioning that might initiate some value-based goal creation could be to ask the following question:
What are you looking to achieve from doing this program?
A value-based goal-orientated answer might look like this: “I think of myself as a kind, open, enthusiastic person but over the past few years I have been really distracted and haven’t been able to be these things as much as I’d like. I want to be more healthy so I can spend time with my grandchildren and run around with them without getting too tired. “
Values are how we’d like to be, the qualities we bring to our behavior. Goals can be completed. To be healthy is not a value it’s an outcome or a big goal. The value might be self-care and self-development.
Being able to sift through the “shoulds” and begin to unlock goals that drive and motivate us will allow for our patients, (and ourselves) to begin to drive their own behaviors and begin to help them – help themselves.
Are your patients meeting their health goals?