Setting SMART goals

Whether you’re starting a new exercise program, trying to eat healthier or find some time for yourself, setting a SMART goal positions you for success.

SMART goals are:


Eating healthier sounds like a good idea. But what does it really mean? Aim for specific goals instead, such as eliminating soda, eating five servings of vegetables a day or limiting your daily sugar intake to 30 grams of added sugar.


Make your goal one you can measure. Walking three days a week is a goal you can track; a goal of walking more is less so.


Avoid aiming too high or too low. Think like Goldilocks, and find a goal that feels just right.


Losing 10 pounds a week sounds great. But it’s an impossible goal that will likely leave you discouraged — and more likely to give up on your efforts. Choosing realistic goals that you can meet will reinforce your efforts and keep you moving forward.


Choosing specific, measurable goals means you can track your progress over time. Write your efforts down in a journal or track them on an app so you can see how far you’ve come.

Here are a few examples of SMART goals:

  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least four days per week for two months.
  • Eat two meat-free dinners per week for one month.
  • Spend 60 minutes of screen-free time with my children every Saturday.
  • Put away all mobile devices and shut off all screens by 9 p.m. on weeknights for one month.
  • Call grandparents each Sunday afternoon for six months.
  • Walk at least 10,000 steps tracked on a pedometer at least five days per week.
  • Enjoy a video chat with a friend at least one day per week during June.

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