SMART Goals

We all set goals for ourselves, whether it’s for things we want to accomplish in the next week or in the next three months. Often times we are not able to fulfill the goals we set for ourselves because we did not create reasonable goals. One way to create more attainable goals is to use the SMART goals method.

SMART stands for:

Specific: You want to be as detailed as possible with the goals you create. For example, “I want to do 30 minutes of cardio three days a week” is a specific goal. Whereas setting the goal “I want to work out more,” is not specific enough. The more you define your goal, the better.

Measurable: The goal you are creating should have a way for you to track your progress, be and this is done by providing numbers or quantities. For example, “I want to be ready to go to sleep by 10:30 pm four days out of the week.” This goal has a time and the number of days you want to accomplish the goal.

Achievable: This is where we often go wrong when making goals. We do not set achievable goals. It is important to be honest with yourself and understand what you can actually achieve versus what you want to achieve. If you are currently not exercising at all, it may not feasible to set a goal of working out seven days a week for a month. A more achievable goal would be to work out three days a week for a few weeksnd gradually update your goal as you begin to work out more regularly.

Realistic: Being aware of what is going to be required to achieve your goal is also important. If you know that finding time to work out is very hard in your schedule, then it would not be wise to set a goal of working out at a gym five days a week. A more achievable goal would be to start off going for a 20 min walk three days a week.

Time-Bound: Is there a time frame within which you want to achieve your goal? It is important to incorporate time into your goal to help keep yourself accountable. It is up to you how long of a time frame you want to set; It could be a goal you set for the week or a goal you set for the month. The important part is that you incorporate a time frame into the goal.

SMART Goal: I will exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week for the next 4 weeks.

Creating SMART goals can go beyond exercising and nutrition. This method of creating goals can be useful in all aspects of your life. Next time you are creating a goal remember the SMART goal method!

Written by: Anisha Patel

CDC – Develop SMART Objectives – Evaluate a CoP – Resource Kit – CoP – OSTLTS. (2019, March 26). https://www.cdc.gov/phcommunities/resourcekit/evaluate/smart_objectives.html

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The Social and Health Research Center

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