When setting health goals, making them SMART goals can help you keep them. Having vague goals such as, ‘eat healthier’ or ‘exercise more’ can be very frustrating and not end well. Your goals surrounding your health should always be attainable and feasible. The smart goal outline is as follows:
- SPECIFIC- Describe exactly what you want your outcome to be.
- MEASURABLE- By making your goal measurable, it makes it easier to keep track.
- ATTAINABLE- Make sure that you have the tools, times, and resources need to meet your goals.
- REALISTIC- You are more likely to meet your goals when they are short-term, achievable goals.
- TIMELY- Having a start date, frequency, and deadline will make it easier to follow.
Is your goal specific? The goals that you set for yourself should be specific. A goal such as eat better or walk more is not as specific as stop drinking soda or eating five servings of vegetables a day. A specific goal is much easier to follow and achieve than a vague goal.
Is your goal measurable? Having a measurable goal such as walk 3 times a week is much easier to track and keep than just saying I want to walk more. Measuring and holding yourself accountable is very helpful in keeping your goals. Keeping track in a journal, on an app, or online is a great way to measure your goals.
Is your goal attainable? Making sure you have the tools, information, and resources that you need for meeting your goals is very important. If there isn’t a local gym that you can join then setting your goal at “I want to workout at the gym twice a week,” might not be the best goal. Instead, setting your goal of I want to walk one-mile every night might be a lot more attainable for you. Make sure that your fitness goals match what you have available.
Is your goal realistic? Setting a realistic goal can also help keep you on track for meeting your end goal. You want to aim for something that is going to be challenging, but not completely impossible. You can always adjust your goals as you are going. If your first goal is too easy, you can make it harder. Short-term goals turn into long-term successes.
Is your goal time-bound? Your goals will be much more achievable if you have a clear start date and deadline. If you want to “get in shape by summer,” that goal is much easier to put off than saying I am going to start February 1st and complete my goal by May 31st. Giving yourself short-term and long-term deadlines are easier to keep track of.
Setting these smart goals will also help start and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Short term, manageable goals help you change your way of thinking and could also help with maintaining these goals in the long term. MD Anderson has a great resource to help you set these goal. This infographic is a great way to help you set those goals.
When Setting Diet and Exercise Goals be SMART. mdaderson.org (2017, January) Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/SMART-goals-diet-and-nutrition.h10-1591413.html
Setting SMART goals for success. mayoclinichealthsystem.org (2020, December 31) Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/setting-smart-goals