S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting for success

By Charlene Greene on November 6, 2021

Woman on laptop with notebook

Every November I like to sit down and take stock of how I’m doing as a whole person. Using my Circle of Life tool, I set aside an hour to focus on each of the 12 “Primary Foods” of life that have been proven to affect health and wellness, these 12 pieces are: Spirituality, Creativity, Joy, Finances, Career, Education, Health, Physical Activity, Home Cooking, Home Environment, Relationships, and Social Life. This seems like a lot to go over in one hour, but after I schedule this hour on my calendar, I am already starting to think about how I am doing in each category. There are always 3-4 that I feel I could do  better on, so I spend the majority of the hour focusing on creating my SMART goal for each of those. 

What is a SMART goal? It’s an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant / Realistic, and Time Bound.

This year I have found that my Physical Activity, Social Life, for obvious reason, and because I am starting a new business from scratch, Career are all lacking, so I will be setting a SMART goal for each of these, but if I can figure out a way to combine them together, I will certainly do my best with that. 

Below are the 5 steps I take to help me to focus on each goal and how I will proceed to help me to feel successful and less overwhelmed when working toward the goal. 

I am going to use my example of wanting to work in more Physical Activity to help you see the process in real time. 

  1. Specific: Your goal should be very specific, so I could say “I want to be more active”, but what does that look like? So my goal is “I am going to go to the gym 4 days a week AND get 8,000 steps in 4 days a week”. 
  2. Measurable: There should be some way of tracking your progress. If your goal is to add more home cooked meals to your week, track when and what you are eating that is homemade or make time in your week to prepare a meal plan and prep ahead foods to make this process easier.

For my physical activity goal,  I will keep track of  my workouts by scheduling them on my calendar. If I don’t go to the gym, I delete it from my calendar so I know that I did not make it that day. For my step count, I use my watch which I can always go back and look at my progress through the app. I looked back in time and noticed that my current average step count is about 3k per day, so as not to fail immediately, I am going to set monthly step goals, so for November I will set my goal for 5k four days a week. December will be 7k four days a week and January and February will be 8 k four times a week. 

My goal is to keep this going from November 1 through February 28,2022

  1. Achievable: Many times we set goals that are too lofty or too vague, making them almost unattainable. 

If you feel your goal is lofty, break it down into smaller SMART goals with an award at the end of each to help you feel more successful and will help to keep you motivated. 

For my goal, I feel that this is an attainable goal, but because I am also setting it to span multiple months, I am going to set monthly awards to keep myself motivated and moving forward. 

  1. Relevant / Realistic: Setting a goal that is either too hard to grasp due to time restraints, physical limitations or lack of interest in the activity is not a recipe for success, it will cause you to feel bad about yourself and to potentially give up. 

When setting your goal, take all of  these factors into account and know that you can always do more and alter your goal based on your progress.

For my goal of physical activity, I know that 4 days a week can fit into my schedule, because I am going to be counting yoga and weight training as my trips to the gym, I can alter what class I’m taking based on how my body is feeling. 

Not only should your goal be Relevant / Realistic, as should your awards. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t reward yourself with cake after you lose a certain number of pounds. Replace the cake with going shopping for a new shirt or pants. 

For my step goal awards, I will get a new pair of walking / running shoes in December if I make my November  goal. In January, I will get some new workout clothes and in February I will go get a new outfit for a dinner date with Mark. Then in March, for reaching my goal, I will have the gift of being able to walk around in the spring snow knowing my body is in good shape.

  1. Time Bound: Keeping a deadline helps us to keep on track. If there’s no time limit we can lose focus very quickly or even lose sight of the goal completely. Then when you sit and think about that goal you can easily get down on yourself and then there's the negative self talk and bad feelings. 

I will keep my goal on a timeline with awards monthly and tracking on my calendar. I will do monthly check ins to make sure that I am meeting my goals, but also making note of anything that may be going on with my body, good and bad, that will help to focus me even more as to how I may need to pivot my workouts (time, type and intensity). 

Although this seems like a lot to do, setting a goal, tracking your progress, making observations without judgement and setting up a system or rewards for yourself will help to make your hard work seem a bit less of a chore and more of a gift that you are giving yourself. 

I hope you feel motivated to schedule a date with yourself to plan out your SMART goal. You can follow me on social media (Facebook and Instagram) to watch my progress with my SMART goal and hopefully you will feel encouraged to share your goals and we can cheer each other along the way.

If you feel overwhelmed with the idea of even setting a goal on your own, set up a FREE 30-minute consultation and let me help you get started on your way to better health and wellness. 

Let Me be Your Guide,