Setting SMART goals is a method that is used in creating a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. The SMART criteria help to incorporate guidance and realistic direction in goal setting, which increases motivation and leads to better results in achieving lasting change.
When setting healthy lifestyle objectives, a goal of aiming to walk for 30 minutes, five times per week, for a period of four weeks is a SMART goal, while an overall goal of simply wanting to be healthier or having less stress is too vague and does not incorporate the SMART criteria.
SMART Goal Setting
Taking some time to recognize your objectives and use the SMART criteria listed below will help you put more detail and direction into setting your health and lifestyle goals:
1. Being specific helps to incorporate the method into the goal, not just the outcome.
2. Create your goal as an instruction whereby you tell yourself what to do. Try creating a statement for your goal, such as “I want to lose 20 pounds by increasing my exercise to four times a week, reducing sugar in my diet, and controlling portion size.”
3. Start by stating the objective you wish to meet as specifically as possible. If your plan is to lose weight in order to have more energy, a goal of “lose 20 pounds” is more specific than simply saying “my resolution is to lose weight.”
1. Adding quantifiable or measurable criteria to your goal will allow you to measure progress as you work towards achieving your goal.
2. Being able to count off the numbers as you progress will feel good, and measuring can help keep you from cheating. The goal of “lose 20 pounds” can be gradually measured by a scale, and exercising four times per week can be tracked on a calendar.
3. Consider creative methods of tracking your progress. If you want to reduce stress, devise a stress measure for yourself, like the number of times you get upset every day. Keep a log and record each stressful reaction.
4. Measuring results can help you adjust your goals as you work towards meeting your objectives. When it comes to stress, you can watch for trends, such as situations that cause you more stress, so that you can avoid them or respond differently in the future.
1. Break large goals into smaller goals and spell out the process required to achieve your objectives.
2. Do not set yourself up for failure by selecting unattainable goals. For example, setting a goal to lose that 20 pounds in a two week period is both difficult to do and unhealthy to achieve. Goals should be ambitious but not impossible. Choose a goal that you are confident you can reach, but that will challenge you to follow through with smaller, more attainable actions required to achieve it.
3. Make sure that the process is also realistic so that you can achieve all of the individual steps that you need. If you don’t have time, supplies, or the right location, make adjustments to your methods and goals.
1. Each step of attaining the goal should make sense. If you want to lose weight, be sure to select a type of exercise that you enjoy. Zumba, jogging, cycling, and swimming are all exercises that can help you lose weight, but not everyone considers each of these enjoyable. Pick the method that is right for you.
2. Goals should be inspiring enough that it motivates you to succeed. If you are not determined to meet your goal, obstacles will be very difficult to overcome.
3. If you don’t care about the goal, you are unlikely to work on it. For example, if your goal is to eat vegan to lose those 20 pounds that are weighing you down, but you don’t actually enjoy vegan foods or truly believe that it will produce the desired outcome, then you are far less likely to achieve your goal of losing 20 pounds.