Creating a picture in your mind of something you want is easy – actually getting the thing you want is another thing. When it comes to health and wellness, using SMART goals is an effective way to deliberately identify and accomplish your goals. Here is what this acronym stands for:
S: Specific – This is the component is the what, when, why, and how part of your goal(s).
M: Measurable – What components of your goal(s) are important to measure and how will you keep track of them?
A: Achievable – Is your goal stretching you and is it equally reasonable and possible for you to achieve?
R: Results-focused – What specific results are you committed to accomplishing?
T: Time-bound – What is your timeframe for your personal goal(s)?
A specific plan to accomplish a goal seems so obvious. However, you may agree that when it comes to consistently eating right and exercising, it can be tough. It may be easier to make a “vow” to avoid a certain food, or to go to the gym the next day. For example, the first day of every New Year, it is common for many to sign up for a gym membership.
Many have seemingly “vowed” to exercise daily, but have not created a detailed plan using something like SMART goals to accomplish what it is they want. From the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Dr. Carol S. Dweck notes that “vowing” to accomplish something is not nearly enough to get what you want, you must have a concrete plan of action (Dweck).
Thus, we challenge you to use SMART goals when it comes to establishing just how you will arrive at where you want to be. It is important to remember that just because you have a SMART goal, doesn’t mean you won’t make a mistake.
This is why creating a healthy lifestyle, which allows room for mishaps, is key to success. If your plan doesn’t work the way that you planned it, use it as a learning experience. It is likely that when a mistake happens, one or more parts of your SMART goal may need recalibration.
For example, if you desire to lose 20 lbs in two weeks, this may not satisfy the “A” for “Achievable” in your SMART goal. It will be up to you to promote intuition and adjust where you need to.
So as the year is winding down and we start thinking about our goals of 2018, we challenge you to remember and apply the SMART goal setting mindset. As you use SMART goals as designed, you will no doubt see measurable results over time.
Writing SMART goals. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.hr.virginia.edu/uploads/documents/media/Writing_SMART_Goals.pdf
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.