Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

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Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Beginning any new adventure requires that you set goals at the outset, otherwise, how will you know if you have achieved what you set out to do. Studies have shown that less than three percent of people actually write their goals down, which can ultimately lead to you not being successful with your program. A simple formula to employ when setting the goals for your wellness program involves using this easy to remember phrase, "Think S.M.A.R.T.", that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed.  By including all of these elements into your goal setting process, you can improve your chances of success tremendously.

Specific
Your goal should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen.

WHAT are you going to do? .
WHY is this important to you?
HOW are you going to do it?

Measurable
Establish concrete criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of your goals. When you can measure your progress, you are more likely to stay on track, while experiencing the satisfaction of achieving your goals. Remember if you can't measure it, you can't manage it!

Attainable
If you set goals that are too far out of your reach, you probably won't commit yourself to accomplishing them since subconsciously you know that it will be too difficult. Your goal needs to stretch you slightly while still feeling that you can get the job done!

Realistic
Your goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. Although it should tax your skills and knowledge, but it shouldn't break them.

Timed
Set a timeframe for your goal. Putting an end point on your achievement gives you a clear target date to work toward. If your goal doesn’t have a time limit, there's no urgency to start taking action because you feel you can start at any time.

TIP: Saying "I am going to lose weight", is not a good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal because it is not specific enough, not measurable, or timed.  A better example would be; "I am going to lose ten pounds over the next two months by eating right and exercising. This is definitely a S.M.A.R.T. goal since it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed.

There are a few other things you should consider when setting your goals.  First, you always want to set yourself up for success, not failure.  Therefore, it is necessary not to start off by thinking about achieving your ultimate goal, since it may be too much for you to handle at that time.  That’s why I always tell people “You eat an elephant one bite a time!” For example, when beginning a fitness program, the biggest obstacle to overcome is to just get moving.  To help you out in the goal setting process, the best thing to do is choose short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals.   For short-term goals, it is important to pick several that are relatively easy to achieve.  Reading my posts on this Website is an example of a short-term goal that anyone can achieve.  Setting aside some time during the day to do your 30 minutes of moderate activity is also another attainable short-term goal.  For you to ultimately be successful, each goal should build on the next one.  For example, having a short-term goal of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can lead into an intermediate goal of joining a health club in the next six months, which finally ties into your long-term goal to lose 35 pounds over the next year.

Identify your long-term goal:

1.

Identify your short-term goals:

1.

2.

3.

Identify your intermediate goals:

1.

2.

3.

Are You Ready?
It is difficult to accomplish a successful behavior change if you are not ready to commit to the change process.  If you answer “false” to any of the questions in the following test, it is important that you either consider choosing another behavior which appeals to you, or set a more achievable goal that allows you to answer “true” to all the questions.
1.  Changing my behavior is important to me.
2.  I have a positive attitude about my ability to successfully change my behavior.
3.  I am likely to be healthier or live a better life if I change my behavior.
4.  If necessary, I am willing to spend money to help change my behavior.
5.  I am willing to devote the time required to change my behavior.
6.  I have selected a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
7.  I will identify others who will provide support for my behavior change.

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