SMART is an acronym used to describe how to write goals in a way to create the highest likelihood that you’ll be able to meet your desired goals. Goals like “I’m going to work out” or “eat better” or “sleep more” are very difficult to achieve. What does better mean? How do you know when better or more is achieved? That’s why we need SMART goals!
Specific: This answers the question who, what, and why of the behavior change. What do you want to accomplish by
Measureable: How will you measure your change in behavior? Include criteria for measuring the progress that you’re making.
Attainable: It’s fine to challenge yourself, but if your goal is outrageous, then you won’t achieve it. The more you experience success, the more motivated you will stay. If you can’t achieve your goal, then you need to re-write it.
Realistic: Is your goal do-able? Again, stretch yourself and write goals that take some effort to achieve, but not so much effort that you give up and fail.
Time-Oriented: What’s the time frame for your goal? Commitment to a set time allows you to work toward something specific. Will you complete your goal at each meal, by the end of the month, or by the end of the year?
Other tips for setting and achieving your goals:
1. Get others on board! Whether they are just supporting you or working towards the same goal, having others to keep you accountable and encourage you are crucial to success!
2. Put your goals in a place you’ll see them every day (kitchen, bathroom mirror, etc…)
3. Evaluate your goals and progress on a frequent basis!
4. Come up with a way to reinforce your progress or goal attainment.
5. Engage in positive self-talk!