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Photo credit: Philip McMaster PeacePlusOne_\!/ on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because when I have in the past, I always ended up failing. I think part of the reason for this is because I didn’t make SMART goals. I don’t know who invented the SMART goal; I learned about it in the partial hospitalization program (PHP) I was in last year. They even had worksheets for making SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

SPECIFIC: a goal has to be as specific as possible. That way you won’t lose sight of your goal or the big picture. For example, a goal I have is to increase my time (walking!) on the treadmill. Right now I am barely able to do 10 minutes, partially because of boredom. So I’m setting my sights on 15 minutes. In the meantime, I will walk 10 minutes to start on the first week; then for 11 minutes, 3 times a week during the second week; and then 13 minutes, 3 times a week on the third week; and finally 15 minutes, 3 times a week for a total of 4 weeks. I will also read while I’m on the treadmill.

MEASURABLE: the goal should be measurable, which means you must be able to see progress by measuring whatever your goal is. In my case, I can track how long I’m on the treadmill. To start, it might be 10 minutes. A month from now, it could be 15. Meanwhile, I can track my progress by each additional minute that I add to my original 10.

ATTAINABLE: your goal must be attainable. It should be something that you know you can/want to complete, rather than a goal that you’re not really into or that others want you to make. Because if that’s the case, you’re less likely to reach your goal.

RELEVANT: a goal has to be relevant to your life. Let’s take the example I’ve been using: how is walking for 15 minutes, 3 times a week relevant to my life? Now that I’m getting older, I care more about my health. I want to reduce my risk of a heart attack, so I’m doing some light cardio by walking on the treadmill.

TIMELY: and finally, the goal should be timely. That is, you should have a specific start date and end date. In my example, the total time to attain the goal is 4 weeks. I’ll start Monday, June 17 and will end on Wednesday, July 6.

I’ve made some SMART goals since I first learned about them, and managed to complete them. In PHP we had to create a SMART goal once a week. It does help, but it’s up to you to do the work. You can find SMART goal worksheets online here (not an ad!).

Would you consider making a SMART goal?

22 thoughts on “SMART Goals

  1. Great idea! I’ll be incorporating this in to my life. Thanks!!

    1. Thank you! Is the reblog button not appearing on my page? I’ve had a lot of trouble with WP lately.

  2. I too, never make New Years Resolutions either. I’m just setting myself up for failure.
    I do, however, make smart goals by making a list. Picking a date out of the blue, and stating to myself, “This is when I’m going to do this!” For instance, my eating healthy lifestyle change… 04/14/2019, this random date, and I have stuck to this since then. I have only treated myself to something off the grid three times, and without guilt.
    All my other “SMART GOALS” consist of a reasonable list I make for myself daily. Even if I list say, 7 chores, and I only accomplish 5, the two that were not accomplished gets pushed over to the top of the next day’s list.
    I never allow myself to aim for higher goals because I am fearful of me letting myself down. So reasonable goals fit in right with me.

    1. I know what you mean about higher goals. Whenever I make one it usually ends in failure. Like you, I make lists of things to do that are very small, but still somewhat challenging. Like getting dressed. I’m sure you know how hard that can be when you’re depressed.

      1. OMG! Yes, I know that feeling all too well. Getting dressed and brushing my teeth are the hardest when depressed. Last week my whole self-care routine was shot to hell. At best, I think I showered twice that entire week.

    1. Okay, I finally got a Reblog on my site, but it’s just text that says “Reblog” and the font size is a lot bigger than the text around it. Also, after you click Reblog, you have to type WordPress in the search bar. THEN, when your reblog posts appears, it’s in HML!! I guess I’l leave t for now. Sigh

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