smart goal

T: Time Based

1. When will you achieve your goal? You need to choose a time that is realistic but not too far off into the future.

2. Saying “I will lose 20 pounds in three months” is good, but saying “I will lose an average of 2 pounds every week, for 10 weeks” is better for motivation as you track your progress.

Get Started With A Template

Use the following sentence as a template to set your SMART goals:

I will [your goal here] by [how you will do the goal]. I will know I am making progress because [how you will measure the goal] for [time goes here].

For example, say I will lose 20 pounds by doing cardio and weight training at the gym four times a week, cutting back on sugar, and controlling portion size. I will know I am making progress because I will lose two pounds a week for 10 weeks.

Related: 15 Body Language Secrets of Successful People

8 Tips For Success

You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve to set your SMART goals. There is no better time to start than today, but keep in mind that the method requires a bit of practice.

Be Stubborn About Your Goals And Flexible About Your Methods
How To Set SMART Goals for Lifestyle Change

The following tips can help you better achieve success in reaching your goals:

1. Accept that sometimes things happen and failing to reach a goal is part of the learning process. Do not beat yourself up and instead evaluate your progress and your goals to see whether you missed a SMART criterion or step. Simply readjust your goals, and jump back in.

2. Don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on too much or setting an unattainable goal. For example, if you work an office job 65 hours a week, do not set a goal of going to the gym seven days a week for 2 hours a day unless that is actually a feasible workout schedule for you.

3. Focus on process goals instead of just an outcome. Focusing on an outcome gives you a target, but it doesn’t address how you will reach the goal.

4. For sustained lifestyle changes, feel free to set long-term goals to keep the big picture in mind. However, break down the long-term goal into a series of smaller short-term goals in order to track progress and keep yourself motivated.

5. Remember that someone else’s goals are not your goals. Your goals have to be meaningful and attainable for you.

6. Share it with others. It’s much more difficult to give up on your goals when others know about them.

7. Work on changing behaviors and habits.

8. Write your SMART goal down. This will allow you to go back to your goal to reference and review.

Article sources:
Bronikowski M, Bronikowska M, Maciaszek J, Glapa A. Maybe it is not a goal that matters: a report from a physical activity intervention in youth. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018;58(3):348-355. doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06611-1.
Raggatt M, Wright CJC, Carrotte E, et al. "I aspire to look and feel healthy like the posts convey": engagement with fitness inspiration on social media and perceptions of its influence on health and wellbeing. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):1002. doi:10.1186/s12889-018-5930-7.
Written by: Mark Stibich, PhD
Originally appeared on
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How To Set SMART Goals for Lifestyle Change
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How To Set SMART Goals for Lifestyle Change
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Mark Stibich, PhD FIDSA

Dr. Mark Stibich is a founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Xenex Healthcare Services, a company that uses a patented pulsed xenon disinfection system to make patient care areas safer by reducing the microbial contamination (from "superbugs" such as MRSA, VRE and C. diff.). Xenex has been featured in Forbes, CNN and other media outlets as well as in peer-reviewed scientific publications. Dr. Stibich specializes in creating efficient solutions for public health problems. He received his doctoral training from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and has been involved in multiple international research and intervention projects. He is an inventor on over 80 granted patents and a principal investigator on an NIH grant. Specialties: infection control, protocol design, UV disinfection, area disinfection, disinfection of public spaces, public health, business developmentView Author posts