SMART Goals Are Better Goals

When we set goals, we should make sure they are SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. SMART goals are easier to achieve.

As 2017 wound down, I realized that I had gained some of the weight I had lost earlier in the year and that I needed to do something about it. So I decided to create a New Year’s resolution that would help me shed some extra pounds. I knew that I would have a greater chance of success if my goals were SMART.

SMART acronymSMART goals are so-named because of the way they are formulated. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Whether in business or in personal life, SMART goal-setting is a crucial step to success. So let’s look at how I set my goal for weight-loss in 2018.


I knew that I could not just say I would lose weight. What does that mean? Can I stop after Day 1 when I have lost 1 pound of water? If not, when would I stop? How can I have a journey if I don’t know the destination? So, I decided that I would have a SPECIFIC goal of shedding 20 pounds.

Well MEASURABLE is not hard. I already have a bathroom scale, but if I didn’t have one, I would have to go get one. Measuring is like tracing your journey on a map. Measure at the beginning to know where you started from, and measure regularly to know your progress and when you have arrived. So I stood on my scale and wrote down the number. By subtracting 20 I had my goal weight.

I know from experience that the goal has to be ACHIEVABLE. Can I lose 20 pounds? Sure I can, I lost 30 a year ago, and after putting a few pounds back on, losing 20 is possible and would not be any risk to my health. My doctor told me so.

And REALISTIC? Sure. To lose 20 pounds would not require me to starve, I can simply make better eating choices and recommit to my fitness program. I can do this.

TIMELY is very important. To stay focused on the goal, I have to set a time frame. Otherwise, I might put off the exercise or have that serving of dessert today because I can always be better tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that. So I have chosen to lose the 20 pounds at a 1.5 pound per week pace for 14 weeks, which is not too long, and not impossibly short.

Not Just Weight Loss

By the way, I have a few other resolutions planned for this year too. One is to meditate regularly, and another is to become more fit. I have set up SMART goals for those too. It doesn’t just apply to weight-loss.

If you are setting New Year’s resolutions this year, make sure they are SMART. It is the first step in your journey to better habits and achieving your goals.

If you want guidance in developing your SMART goals, this worksheet might help (http://www NULL.virginia NULL.pdf).

In the next blog post, we will look at how to find and remove obstacles to achieving our goals.