Setting Healthy Goals This Year: It’s Time to Get S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym to remind you how to set a goal that maps out exactly what you need to do. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

 

Specific. Rather than simply saying, “I’m going to exercise more,” you’ve specified how many calories you’ll burn.

 

To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

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.

Why: List specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health program and work out three days a week.”

Measurable
Your device will track the calories you burn, so you’ll be able to clearly know when you succeed. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask yourself questions such as:
How much?
How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable
Since you’re already burning 1,000 calories a week through exercise, bumping it up a bit should be manageable. To burn 1,250 calories, you’ll need to add about one extra workout. You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Relevant
Exercise is totally relevant to weight loss. So exercising more fits into your larger weight loss plan. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

Time-bound
This is your goal for this week. Period. You can choose to pursue this goal again next week, or you can set a new goal. It’s easier to commit to a goal -- and be successful -- if you do it for a set amount of time. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st,” “before my daughter’s wedding,” etc., then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.