“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Breaking down your goals into a manageable plan can be the difference between aspirations and accomplishments. You may want to reduce stress, be more fit, lose weight, increase your exercise, eat better or quit smoking. Regardless of your focus, you will need to create specific goals to achieve over a period of time to successfully accomplish lasting lifestyle changes.
Types of goals
A strong wellness plan includes three types of goals: long-term, short-term and SMART goals.
Long-Term Goals: These are big-picture goals aimed at a desired outcome that may take a year or longer to complete.
- Example: I will lose 50 pounds in one year.
Short-Term Goals: These goals break down the long-term goal into smaller goals. They are aimed at a desired outcome that can be achieved in three months or less.
- Example: To help me lose 50 pounds over the next year, I will adopt healthier eating habits and add more physical activity to my day.
SMART Goals: SMART goals target a desired outcome that can be achieved in two to three weeks that further break down both the long- and short-term goals.
- To lose 50 pounds over the next year, I will pack a healthy lunch for work Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, for the next two weeks.
- To lose 50 pounds over the next year, I will walk or bike for 30 minutes every night after work, for the next three weeks.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive.
Since SMART goals are so detailed, SMART goals can help you closely track your progress, allowing for re-evaluation and adjustments along the way.
S- Specific – Is your goal clear and concise?
M-Measurable – Can you track progress with your goal?
A- Attainable – Is your goal reasonably achievable?
R- Relevant – Does your goal match your interest and needs?
T- Time-Sensitive – Does your goal have an estimated timeline for completion?
- I want to eat better.
- I want to lose weight.
- I want to tone my muscles.
- I want to get more sleep.
- I want to be less stressed.
SMART Goal for Healthier Eating:
To improve my vegetable intake, I will add at least one serving of vegetables to my dinner two times a week, for four weeks.
SMART Goal for Weight Loss:
To lose five pounds over the next three months, I will attend a cardio class at the gym one to two times a week, for 12 weeks.
SMART Goal for Toning Muscle:
To tone up my arm muscles for my daughter’s wedding in July, I will complete three circuits of four upper-body dumbbell exercises (12 reps each) at home Tuesday and Thursday mornings, for the next three months.
SMART Goal for Sleep:
To get better sleep, I will avoid screen time one hour before bed Monday through Friday, for the next four weeks.
SMART Goal for Stress Management:
To reduce my financial stress, I will brew coffee at home Saturday through Thursday and purchase a specialty coffee Friday, for the next two months.
Make it Fun
Color code each part of your SMART goal!
To increase my physical activity, I will walk for 30 minutes after dinner Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for the entire month of June.
Behavioral Change Takes Time!
When it comes to modifying behavior, it’s important to be remember that it takes time to turn a goal into a habit. How long it takes is a result of many factors, such as the behavior, your commitment to making the change and lifestyle circumstances. According to experts, goals can become a habit in two to eight months. We wish you the best of luck on your health journey as you add SMART goals to your plan!