By: Kacie Gillespie
Edited By: Dara LoBuono
When it comes time to setting health and wellness goals, we want to make sure they are realistic and achievable. Goal setting can be challenging, especially when it comes to healthy behavior changes. However, utilizing SMART goals can be a step in the right direction. SMART is an acronym that helps create well-defined and attainable goals; it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (and sometimes “attainable” or “actionable”), Realistic, and Time-bound.
The SMART goal method helps with motivation, gaining a sense of direction, and helps with organization to realistically reach your goals. To provide an example on creating a SMART goal:
- Specific: I want to start exercising more
- Measurable: I will do so by walking for at least 30 minutes, 3 days/week and will use MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track my progress
- Achievable: I can achieve this goal by utilizing my local track and/or taking my dog on 30-minute walks in my neighborhood
- Realistic: I am off from work 3 days/week and will walk on days that I am free
- Time-Bound: I will start this goal on January 1st and will increase my activity levels from walking to a light jog for 45 minutes 3 days/week by June
Utilize this method to set realistic goals for yourself and your clients. Some tips and tricks to setting realistic goals include:
- Start small. Achieving small goals, such as going to the gym twice a week is more realistic than making a goal to go every day. Setting an overwhelming goal can cause a drop in confidence, which makes individuals less likely to achieve their goals, but setting a small achievable goal can result in a more realistic achievement.
- Be patient. A realistic goal will take time to achieve and picking a goal that can be achieved over several months or a year will help develop a long-term mentality.
- Enjoy the health and wellness journey of setting realistic goals. Setting and achieving goals should be fun and allows room for learning more about yourself, gaining confidence, and overall learning healthier habits along the way.
- Don’t let a setback throw you off track. Setbacks are bound to happen, and should not be an excuse to quit. For example, maybe you missed a few days of your workout routine, but this is only a small set-back and should not derail your journey.
- Listen to your body. Try not to overdo it by listening to your body. If you need a break from working out or you find yourself unhappy with healthy eating, then pay attention to your body and allow yourself a rest day or enjoy that slice of pizza to help avoid an injury from occurring or wearing yourself out.
Realistic goal setting is more achievable, and results in accomplishing more progress and achievements.
- Thorpe, D. (2020, December 13). Be smart about your goal setting. Business Advisor and Executive Coach | Doug Thorpe. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://dougthorpe.com/be-smart-about-your-goal-setting/
- The Importance of Setting Realistic Fitness Goals for the New Year. Washington Health System Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://wrcameronwellness.org/blog/the-importance-of-setting-realistic-fitness-goals-for-the-new-year/