Goal-Setting Worksheets Your Clients Will Absolutely Love (and Use!)

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Your clients want to eat better and be healthier, but what are the specific steps that they can take to be successful? Goal-setting worksheets are powerful tools to keep your clients on track, accountable and making progress with less overwhelm. 

As a registered dietitian in private practice, effective goal-setting worksheets can make your client meetings feel like a launch session for your client’s dream outcomes. And documentation matters: if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen, right?

Woven throughout this post are a plethora of individual handouts for a variety of different types of goals. If you’re ready for a complete bundle of resources for your private practice, our Private Practice Resource Bundle has goal-setting worksheets, referral forms for your local physicians and so much more! 

goal setting in kitchen

Why You Should Use Goal-Setting Worksheets with Your Clients

A dream without a plan is just a wish. There is something magical about having the courage to make changes in your life, especially around food and nutrition. 

Writing down specific goals not only helps our clients to better remember them, it helps their brains to understand that these goals are possible and that they are on the road to achieving them. 

Having written down goals also helps to filter out the tasks and competing items that are not the top priority just now. For your client, having clarity on what their top priorities are, they will have less stress and decision fatigue each time they specify exactly what they’re working on (and by default, not working on) in between their next visit with you.  

As simple as it may seem, writing down goals really does help your clients to achieve them. 

And as a successful business owner, having specific goals written down for your clients helps you to better monitor and track their progress. Next stop? Their glowing testimonial!

Tips for Goal Setting During a Session

It is human nature to think that we can accomplish more than is realistic, especially with food and nutrition goals. Our clients come to the table with different health histories, different cultural and family traditions and expectations about what it means to be healthy. But, just because we eat every day does not mean that the skills that go into eating well are simple. Label reading, cooking skills, budget management and time management all play a role in eating well. 

One tip is to keep goals specific, measurable and realistic within the time frame before your next meeting. The optimism your client might feel while in your presence during your appointment might quickly wane when faced with new recipes, tasks and goals on their own. Keep goals smaller, especially in the beginning, to help your clients build confidence and momentum. 

It is also important to make sure that your client is coming up with the goals that they’ll be working toward. While it can be very helpful for the dietitian to provide examples of goals and suggestions, the client ultimately needs to be directing which step forward is most important for them. Our motivational interviewing section boosts your skills for how to help your client to craft their individual goals: stay tuned!

How many goals? Just a few. The more goals you make the more likely your client will get overwhelmed and find it difficult to make progress. 

a woman leaning against a counter chatting with another woman fixing a coffee

Types of Goal-Setting Worksheets

There are different ways to set and track goals, and as a dietitian entrepreneur, you get to let your skills shine matching the right strategy to best boost your client’s progress and motivation. Here are a few of our favorites, plus the accompanying, ready-to-go handouts and tools to start using today!

SMART Goal 

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-bound. SMART goals are an effective way to break large lifestyle goals down into smaller, concrete action items for your client. SMART goals are your client’s roadmap toward their success. 

Use our SMART Goal Worksheet to help your client set very specific goals, and ask your client to sign the worksheet to demonstrate their commitment to making changes. This process helps your clients to have trust in themselves as they practice making changes, stick with them and also restart after potentially hitting bumps in the road. Another option for SMART goal setting is the Client SMART Goal Form for Practice Better with integrates with Practice Better software to save you time.

Motivational Interviewing

As a registered dietitian, you are immersed in the science behind nutrition and lifestyle recommendations such as healthier living, lowering risk of chronic disease and effective management of a disease. 

But what actually matters to your patient? It may not necessarily your credentials nor the education that you provide. For many, fears about the chronic disease may feel abstract and far in the future, but being able to walk up the stairs without knee pain or playing with their children without getting out of breath are goals that are both tangible and personal. 

The Exploring Motivation Worksheet helps you and your client to dig into what truly motivates them to make healthy changes. Establishing what motivates your client helps them to be more successful on their path to making nutrition and lifestyle changes. 

If you have clients who are struggling to “find motivation” to do the thing they wish to do, or can’t seem to follow through with their goals between sessions, using the free motivational interviewing worksheet will guide you in having a productive conversation with your client to  clarify what changes are most important to them.

Brush up on your motivational interviewing techniques with the Intuitive Eating & Motivational Interviewing Presentation or the Primer on Motivational Interviewing Video Course – we have the tools to boost your confidence and skills! 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a form of physhological therapy based in the idea that our phychological issues are due, in part, to unhelpful thinking and learned patterns. Since these patterns are learned, new, more constructive patterns can be learned instead. 

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Bundle  – created by a practitioner who is dually licensed as therapist and dietitian – includes goal-setting worksheets for your clients plus training materials (and a video) for you to feel confident with these techniques. 

Pick three daily goals

Do you ever feel like you’ll never, I mean ever, see the end of your to-do list?

Nothing can pump the brakes on progress quite as quickly as overwhelm. Picking the top three goals or tasks for a day (and no more!) can help to promote sustainable progress. 

Another method that has proven successful is to invite your client to pair that list of three with a statement of something that they are grateful for. Mindset work promotes progress and satisfaction. We have the perfect Daily Habit and Goal-Setting worksheet for this method. Even better: it’s complimentary!

Weekly goals

For your clients who like tracking several goals, setting weekly goals can be a great approach to enjoy steady and sustainable changes. 

The weekly Goal-Setting Tracking Sheet – lets your client quickly and simply tally several health and wellness goals over the course of a week. Bonus: it includes a space to review the week, including what went well and what barriers popped up. 

Monthly goals

Some clients thrive best with one main goal at a time, no muss, no fuss. Our Monthly Goal Setting Worksheet is simple and straightforward. You and your client set the goal for the month, break it down into the steps for the week and the strategies to get there. 

A dietitian on a laptop pursuing goal setting worksheets to use at her next client meeting

Plan for the year, one quarter at a time

Some clients feel most motivated when they have a birdseye view of the big, juicy goal for the year, and then break that down into quarterly goals and monthly goals. Our Fresh Start Mini Planner is a flexible tool to help your clients do just that! Bonus: The tool is white-labeled so that you can add your own company branding. 

A goal of more, not less 

It is really common for nutrition goals to be focused on less: less snacking, fewer desserts, reducing calories or losing pounds. 

Some of your clients may feel more motivated by a “goal of more!” Perhaps your client wants to take more steps, eat a broader variety of plant-based foods or get more sleep. Can your client eat thirty different plants in a week? We have you covered with the matching goal-setting worksheets to get you started!

Your Patient’s Goal-Setting Workbook 

Some clients may prefer to use a goal-setting workbook on a regular basis rather than a single worksheet.  This goal-setting workbook can help your client to stay on track and engaged from the first session through every follow-up appointment.

The goal-setting workbook contains helpful information that you can explain to each client about goal setting, space for them to journal their thoughts, and goal blocks to record the specific goal you set together each session plus progress toward current goals.

Encourage Your Client to Keep a Journal

Writing things down in a journal can really free up mental space. But what if your client isn’t sure where to start with writing? The 30-Day Guided Wellness Journal is the perfect tool to keep your clients focused on their wellness. Each day has prompts to guide your clients through goal setting, plus mindfulness exercises and inspirational quotes. 

a pink zippered wallet, sun glasses and a journal collected on a table.

Goal-Setting for Clients in Disordered Eating Recovery

If your work is with men and women with disordered eating, your goal-setting worksheets need to be sensitive to their situation to prevent triggering disordered thinking patterns. We have options to support your business and your patients’ needs, starting with gently  investigating their food and movement rules. 

Are the rules that your client has so ingrained that they have a hard time even seeing them? The Food and Movement Rules Worksheet is a tool to gently explore them. 

What I Ate vs. What I Need  is another tool for use in the ED realm. This tool includes the goal-setting worksheet in two formats; in an Excel spreadsheet as well as a Word document. 

And the Nutrition Relapse Behavior Prevention is another goal-setting worksheet designed to help your clients in eating disorder recovery. Use this goal setting worksheet during counseling sessions to help clients see when they may be falling back into old habits, and what steps to take to return to recovery.

For more info, tools and guidance with disordered eating, check out our How to Treat Eating Disorders, 5 Strategies to Support Your Clients Along Their Journey from ED to Recovery blog post. 

Hit the Gym

Are you excited to connect with clients in a gym setting? Our 28-Day Mind on Nutrition Reset Challenge is perfect for you to coach, inspire (not to mention, track) your clients over the course of a wellness month. The tool lets you track points throughout the challenge, so this is a perfect opportunity for a little friendly competition. But the real winner? Your client – for the progress that he or she is making.

Another goal-setting worksheet that is a great fit in the gym setting – or for virtual fitness or sports nutrition counseling –  is our Fitness Dietitian Check-In Sheet. This download is three pages long and includes question prompts to facilitate a conversation with your fitness clients as well as sheets to make and track goals. 

Master Your Mindset

Nutrition, mental health and mindset are all interwoven. Goal-tracking worksheets can help your client to build an understanding of these connections and include all aspects of wellness.

The Nutrition, Wellness and Fitness worksheet is a set of three printable trackers to help your clients set goals with a focus on the ‘why’ fueling their behavior changes.  This one is essential in your practice because it is a great goal setting worksheet  to use as “homework” for your clients between sessions.

Key Takeaways: Goal-Setting Worksheets

As a dietitian in private practice, you know that different clients need different strategies to help them achieve their wellness goals. They will benefit from having the right goal-setting worksheet to keep them on track and accountable. RD2RD has effective and affordable goal-setting worksheets that you and your clients will use – and absolutely love. 

And if you’re looking for a worksheet for your client that you can’t seem to find on RD2RD, we encourage you to make your own and launch a store! We’re always looking for new content and welcome your contribution! 

RD2RD is your go-to for goal setting resources

From worksheets to check-in forms, guided journals, planners and presentations, shop the goal setting collection today:

Goal Setting Collection

This curated collection includes all of the resources mentioned and more. Compare, read review and then download your favorites.  

More to explore

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