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Setting SMART Goals this New Year

by Lindsey Sexton - January 11, 2021

Still working on those New Year’s resolutions to eat right and be more active? SMART goals can help you stay on track.

What are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based object of a person's effort.

SMART Step Explination  

Specific goals have a much higher chance of being accomplished than a general goal. It helps to use the five “W” questions when creating a specific goal:

  • Who is involved?
  • What is being accomplished?
  • Where is it being accomplished?
  • When is it being accomplished?
  • Why is it being accomplished?

When creating measurable goals, you want it to be exact so that it can be measured to track progress towards attaining your goals.

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will you know when it is accomplished?
Attainable Attainable goals are ones that you have the attitudes, ability, skills, financials, and other relevant resources to achieve them. Do not set yourself back the moment you set your goal. Make it something that will push you but not out of reach.  

Setting relevant goals means that you are not setting the bar too high or too low. Be realistic when shaping your goals making sure you are both willing and able to reach them.

Ask yourself if a certain goal is something you truly believe can be reached. Think about if you have accomplished something similar in the past.

Time-based Goals should also be time-based. Without a time frame, it is easier to feel no sense of importance and lose motivation to achieving a goal.  


Example of a SMART Goal

SMART Step Example  
Specific Jane wants to walk to the mailbox and back 5 days this week.  
Measurable Jane marks on the calendar each day she completes the walk.  
Attainable Although Jane hasn’t been very active, the short walk is doable for her.  
Relevant The distance is a start but not too far to get too fatigued. The goal is convenient since Jane can complete it at home.  
Time-based Jane may choose which five days to participate in her walk.  


Setting specific goals prioritizes what you want to accomplish. When you can measure your progress, you can experience the joy of achievement that encourages you to continue the effort required to reach your goals. Making your goals realistic assures they align with what you value and boosts your confidence that it can be achieved. Putting a time frame on your goal instead of just saying “someday” subconsciously sets your mind into motion to start working towards that goal.


How to stay on track with SMART Goals

Some ways to cope with challenges and make better habits to bring you closer to your goals include:

  • Writing your goals down. Put it somewhere you can see it every day.
  • Set smaller goals on the way to the bigger goal. It makes the bigger goal seem less overwhelming.
  • Schedule your time.
  • Find an accountability partner. This support group is a perfect way to hold yourselves responsible in working towards your goals.
  • Understand that making mistakes does not mean failure. If you get off track, do not feel down about yourself. We are human, slipping up is going to happen.
  • Take notes. Journal. Keep records of how you feel, what works, what does not work. View these goals as a learning opportunity.
  • Once you achieve your goal, set new ones.


Start Making SMART Goals Today

Take out a piece of paper and pencil and come up with one SMART goal you would like to achieve in the upcoming year. Maybe you'd like to eat at least 2 servings of fruits and vegetables each day or maybe you want to work on increasing the amount of physical activity you get each week. Once you get your SMART goals written down, you can pin these to your walls, stick it on your bathroom mirror, or tape them to your computer as a daily reminder.