I recently talked about how most people think living healthy is a difficult transition. In my post, Practical and Easy Ways to Start Living Healthy, I gave you 5 ways to make the transition easy. So, I wanted to get into this further by helping you learn how to make a SMART goal and stick with it.
I was recently reading my Weight Watchers magazine (January/February 2018), that I got for free by the way from freebizmag.com. I read an article that I really liked about SMART goals. It was written by a Weight Watchers leader, coach and ambassador named Tina Gillaspie. By the way, I’m not a member of Weight Watchers, I just figured I could get some good healthy living tips from the magazine.
What is a SMART Goal?
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. I really like this idea because it goes along with what I said about about not jumping head first into a goal. You need to start gradually, rather than try to make a transition all at once.
An example of a SMART goal that Tina Gillaspie gave in the article was, “I’m going to train for a 5K that’s in six months. I’ll do this by running three miles in the park, four times a week – on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, at 4 p.m.”
So, as you can see, her goal is:
Specific – training for a 5K in 6 months
Measurable – running 3 miles in the park at specific times
Achievable – 3 miles a day is something she can actually do
Realistic – she has the time and days available for her runs
Time-bound – the race is in 6 months
How do You Set a SMART Goal?
You should look at what it is you want to achieve first. Do you want to lose weight, run/walk a race, change your eating habits, etc. Some of you may have a goal that involves all 3 things I mentioned!
Now that you’ve thought of your big goal, you need to make it a SMART goal.
Specific – Name exactly what you want to achieve. Maybe it’s lose 4 pounds a month for 3 months. Or, you want to walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week by 3 months. Maybe, it’s to start eating heart healthy, like my family had to do, and your goal can be to achieve this totally in 6 months. Whatever it is, name your specific goal, and write it down.
Measurable – Have a goal to accomplish every week that will help you succeed at your final goal. So, if your goal was to lose 4 pounds a month, then that would be a pound a week.
If it’s to walk 30 minutes a day in 3 months, break it down by month. That would be 10 minutes a day by the end of the first month. 20 minutes a day by the end of the second month. Then, 30 minutes a day by the end of the third month.
In order to eat heart healthy in 6 months, break it down by month and pick a habit to change. Maybe your first month will be research. The second month will be modifying your existing recipes. The third month will be eating less sweets, etc.
Achievable – Make sure the goal you set is something you think you can actually do! Don’t make the goal so unrealistic like, losing 60 pounds in 3 months! Or like, running a marathon in 3 months! Eating heart healthy totally in one day! You get the idea.
Realistic – You need to look at your schedule and see if you have the time to fit your goal in. If not, adjust it a little. Maybe give yourself more time to accomplish it and break it down even further.
Time-bound – This is so important! If you don’t put a time in your goal, you won’t have any reason to stick to it! If you give yourself forever to accomplish something, you’re always going to say, “there’s always tomorrow.” However, if you give yourself a time, then you’ll say, “Oh, I better go on my walk today so I can make my goal by next month.”
How do You Stick With Your SMART Goal?
Well, since you set a goal, and broke it down by week or months, it’s easy to check in with yourself.
Make sure you write down whatever you decided for accomplishing your SMART goal, and put it on your daily/weekly/monthly planner. If you like to do things on the computer or your phone, do that instead. Just make sure it’s somewhere visible, that you’re going to see every day. That way you can’t miss the reminder to get it done!
At the end of the first week, look and see if you’ve accomplished your goal for that week. If not, look at why it’s not working, and modify next week’s goal. If you have made it, that’s great, your plan is working!
Also, at the end of each month, look and see how you’re doing with your goal. Looking back over the past month and seeing how far you’ve come, will be very encouraging! You will be so proud of yourself and will want to keep going!
If you have anyone that can help keep you accountable, that would be great too! Maybe you have a best friend, sibling, parent, online Facebook group, in person meet-up group, etc. that can help keep you on track. I will be happy to be your accountability partner! You can leave me a comment and let me know you want me to partner with you, or send me an email, etc. I will gladly partner with you and give you all the help and support you need.
It’s Okay to Change Your SMART Goal
If when you check in after, maybe about a month, and you find that things just aren’t working, it’s OKAY!
Sometimes unexpected things happen in life that interfere with our goals.
Maybe the goal you set seemed reasonable at the time, but ended up being totally too hard to reach!
You might need to, as Tina says in the article, “make the goal fit into his or her life in a more reasonable way.” Maybe you just need to set a totally different goal.
DON’T get down on yourself! Look back and see if you accomplished anything, and if you did, be proud! Tina says, “You may have started here, and you may not have reached that specific gaol because (you now realize) it was unrealistic. But see what you have achieved! You learn from your experience and use it to move forward so you can succeed.”
Get Started on Your SMART Goal Today!
So, set your big goal, and look at the example from “What is a SMART Goal.”
Make your SMART goal, looking at “How do you set a SMART goal?” and write it down.
Check in with yourself and your accountability partner, or me, every week and every month.
Modify your goal if needed. Remember you can even change your goal if needed.
Look back at what you’ve accomplished and be proud!
I would love it if you make a SMART goal, if you share it in a comment. Also, remember to let me know if you want me to be your accountability partner. I will also gladly answer any questions you have or if you need help with anything. I’m excited for you! Let me know how you’re doing!
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Here are some things that might help you achieve your goals:
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