S.M.A.R.T. Goals

11 03 2015

As we anticipate better weather coming our way, it may be time to re-visit your short term goals (the goals you want to achieve along the way in order to help you reach your overall goals for the program). Many of us forget that there is more to making goals than simply writing them down. Yes, writing them down is a very important aspect of goal setting, but many of us tend to forget about them after they are written. So here are two questions to ask yourself when making goals: Are they realistic, and Are they specific?

Often times we will set goals that are unrealistic, or too broad; both errors that tend to result in uncompleted goals. This is why setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is important. S.MA.R.T is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Below we will discuss why each of these is important when setting goals and examples of each.


Make your goals clear and well-defined. A vague goal looks like this, “My goal is to exercise more in March”. This goal is not specific enough, so here is a better example of being specific with your goals, and “My goal is to exercise 3 times per week for 1 hour throughout the month of March”.

M- Measurable

It is important that you are able to measure your goals in order to see if you are making progress. Some questions to ask to check if your goals are measurable are: How will I know when I have accomplished my goal? How much? or How many? There is a big difference between saying ‘I want to lose weight in the next month’ vs ‘ I want to lose 4 pounds in the month of March’. Wanting to lose weight is not measurable, but wanting to lose 4lbs is.SMART-goals


This is one that is especially important when trying to set a weight loss goal. Your goals need to be both realistic and attainable. This can be done by asking ourselves “How will I get to this goal?” For me to say I want to lose 60lbs in 1 month is not realistic nor attainable. However, if I wanted to set a goal of losing 8lbs in 1 month and believe I can reach this by setting up an average calorie intake of 1500-1700kcals per day, this then becomes attainable. Don’t be confused, goals can be hard to reach yet realistic at the same time.


Is your goal relevant? This is the time when you ask yourself if the goal is important to you, because if it is not, you will more than likely not complete it. Ask yourself why you are trying to lose weight and where does developing healthy habits fall on your priority list? If it is a high priority to you then more than likely you will reach your weight loss goals. If other people or events keep getting in-between you and your goals then you may need to go back and look at your priorities again to see where the discrepancies lie.


This component of S.M.A.R.T. goals gives you the chance to create milestones to complete so you can cross something off your list or give yourself mini-rewards along the way. This is the point when you need to add a target date to when you want to complete you goals. So ask yourself, how often are you going to need to complete something to reach the goal? For example, “I need to lose 2 pounds each week in order to lose 8 pound by the end of March.”

I Challenge you to re-visit your goals for the Weight Management Program. Come up with a list of behaviors changes and/or weight ranges you would like to reach and follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal guidelines to re-create them. Go into the spring season with a clean slate and new S.M.A.R.T. goals!

10247326_10102232512583939_6300324526832262431_nKelly Stubna, MPH

Health Behavior Specialist






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