Have you thought of making a change – changing your diet, exercise habits, or stress levels, for example. The thought is there, but now what? How does that thought progress to action.
Simple enough, the thought is the beginning of a goal – you know where you want to be. Actually creating a goal is the first action step to get you there. Goal setting should revolve around the premise that every goal should be a SMART goal. At the onset of creating a goal, most of us are defeated before we even begin working toward a goal. A SMART goal provides direction, accountability, meaning, and results to help ensure your success.
So what is a SMART goal? It is a goal that is:
So, what should that mean to you?
First, a goal must be specific. Simply stating that you want to lose weight is too ambiguous; however, stating that you want to lose 10 pounds is specific. Saying that you want to exercise is too broad; however, saying that you want to walk for 20 minutes is specific. Be specific about what you want to achieve to make sure that you can get there.
Second, a measurable goal has something tangible, concrete, or (by definition) something that can be measured. "Living a healthier life" is not quantifiable; however, improving lab work, losing weight, not smoking, etc. are measureable. "Trying to eat better" is vague; but eating a certain amount of fruits, vegetables, fiber, or whole grains may be counted and measured. Measuring progress or success is imperative to knowing whether you achieve your goal or not.
Making a goal that is not achievable leaves you only one option – failure. Therefore, all goals should be attainable and realistic. Wanting to lose weight for a wedding may sound all right, unless you are planning to lose 100 pounds and the wedding is six weeks away. A more realistic and achievable approach to that goal may be to lose 20 pounds for the wedding that is six weeks away—100 pounds could be achieved, but in a longer timeframe. Breaking a larger goal down into smaller, more immediately-achievable goals is a good step to take.
Any goal should also be rewarding. This portion of a SMART goal is open to interpretation by each individual and each of your goals should be something that is meaningful and rewarding to you. So, ask yourself, why do you choose that for a goal and what does that goal mean to you? How will meeting this goal change you or your life? Find the importance in the change. Find the value in doing things differently. Find the reward for your efforts and do not let it go.
Lastly, all goals should be time-based and have a distinct timeframe for completion. For example, a goal of losing 15 pounds is not bound by time; on the other hand, a goal of losing 15 pounds in the next 60 days is time-based and creates a deadline. Will this step be taken today? In the next week? Three months? Year? Decide how long this should take to finish and get to work.
With a thought in your mind, what SMART goals will you set for yourself? How will you measure them? What do those goals mean to you? How will it make you feel to achieve them? How soon do you want to see yourself succeed? Where do you go next?
Campbell County Health's Wellness Department works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit
ccmh.net/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Troy Stevens, CCH Wellness Specialist