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

Becoming active is a life style change that can be extremely challenging and intimidating, especially if you don’t know where to begin.  It is important to remind yourself of your goals, be patient, and stay on track.  Setting S.M.A.R.T goals can help you be successful in both long term and short term healthy living.

(S) Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. A specific goal contains the following information:

Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints of your goal.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

  • Example: A general goal would be “Get in shape.” A specific goal would be, “Join the YMCA tomorrow and work out three days a week.”

(M) Measurable: Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. Measuring your progress helps you stay on track, reach your targets, and experience the satisfaction of achievement motivates you to continue achieving your goal. Ask yourself,  “How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?”

  • Example: If your goal is to be able to squat 95 pounds (how much) ten times (how many) by the end of week three (when), you are addressing the three questions critical in measuring your goal.

(A) Attainable: Determining your goals allows you to figure out ways to reach them.  Goal-setting will help you develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to make accomplishing the goals attainable.

 (R) Realistic: A goal must represent something you are both willing and able to do. A goal can be both high and realistic.  It’s up to you to be honest with yourself and judge what is realistic for you.

  • Example: If you have never run before, don’t set a goal to run 10 miles by the end of the week. Give yourself time to reach your goals in a safe and healthy manner.

(T) Timely:  A goal should always have a time frame associated with it otherwise there is no sense of urgency to accomplish it.  Setting a goal to complete 10 push-ups “someday” doesn’t work.  Setting a specific date to accomplish the 10 push-ups is much more realistic and attainable.

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