Monday, July 20, 2015

Goal Setting: Get S.M.A.R.T

To make desired changes in your life, you need to set some goals.  Not just any goals, but S.M.A.R.T goals.  S.M.A.R.T goals can be used to tackle anything you want to change.  Here, I'll give examples of how to set weight loss as well as independence goals.

Specific:  Goals need to be clear.  Pare your goal down.  What exactly do you want?  

Weight Loss--"I want to get fit," is not specific.  There are many ways to get fit.  You'll want to choose something along the lines of, "I want to lose weight," instead.  

Independence--  Compare "I want to be independent," with the more targeted, "I want to find an apartment."  Wanting to be independent could mean many things, while switching to "I want to find an apartment," focuses your attention on the specific.  Key on the specific goal you want to achieve. 

Measurable:  Goals also need to be measurable.  How will you know you've reached your goal?  This involves picking a number.  

Weight Loss--How much weight do you want to lose?  Keep a weight loss journal to log your weight regularly.  Weigh yourself once a day or once a week, whatever you prefer, as long as it's done on a regular basis.  Keep track of your progress. 

Independence--How many apartments will you look at per week?  Two?  Five?  Ten?  Keep track of your progress in your apartment hunting journal.  You can also note in your journal the plusses and minuses of the cost, location, and amentiies for each apartment you look at.  
Attainable: Set a goal that you can reasonably shoot for.  Go for what you want, but make sure it's something you actually can do.

Weight Loss--Say you want to lose 100 pounds.  That's tough and will take a long time. Instead of concentrating on the whole amount, break it down into more manageable 20-pound increments. "I will lose 20 pounds," is attainable.   

Independence-- "Find an apartment that is wheel-chair accessible," is a doable goal, although it might take time.  Be patient.  Also, do some research to find out how much money you'll need for rent, utilities, and any other services you require.  Resources such as grants and special programs may be available to help with those expenses.  If so, check them out and see if you qualify.

Realistic:  Set a goal that you really can commit to.  Choose a goal that is meaningful to you. 

Weight Loss--Losing weight to reduce your A1C level is an excellent and realistic goal, while losing weight because your spouse thinks you should, is not.   You need to want it, crave it, eat it, sleep it, breathe it, own it.  It can't be someone else's goal for you; it has to be your goal for yourself.  

Independence--Similarly, searching for your own apartment because you are ready to strike out on your own and you crave independence is realistic, while doing so because you don't want to be laughed at for living with your parents as an adult, is not.  You need to be ready to make the move.  Don't rush it.  

Time:  Set a time by which you will achieve your goal.  This helps you stay accountable and moving forward toward your goal.  

Weight Loss--If you want to lose 20 pounds, a reasonable deadline would be 4 months since a healthy weight loss rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended.  It may not seem like much but, added up, it makes a huge difference over time.  Think 52 weeks a year--yep, in a year you could lose 52 to 104 pounds, if needed, at that rate!  That is amazing!  And, you're more apt to keep it off too.  So, I urge you to be patient.  You will reap tremendous rewards opting for slow weight loss.

Independence--When do you want to be settled into your new apartment?  Before Christmas?  By summer?  Six months from now?  A year from now?  Setting a date by which you will be living on your own keeps the goal alive, helps you stay on task, and brings a sense of urgency you wouldn't have otherwise.  

Okay now, how S.M.A.R.T. are your goals?  Have you used this strategy to set goals for yourself?  How did it go?  Let me know.  Comment below or send me an email at  I'd love to hear from you.  Take care.


  1. Yes, and it's true with all of life. Everything starts with a plan with goals that are specific and measurable.

  2. Hi Carol. Thanks for the comment. Yes, we need a plan. Without it, there is no direction or accountability. I have read, though, that goals aren't as important as they've been made out to be. I wonder about that. People often create lofty goals that can't possibly be reached, maybe. That's where the SMART goals come in. They are more thoughtfully considered. I think small goals are much easier than large ones to shoot for, but I've also read that the goal should be challenging enough to matter to the person going for it. If a person sets a goal of losing a pound a week, they may think it's nothing much and give up. Hmmm. I'll have to investigate the subject further. Take care.