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Setting SMART Goals: A How To Guide

Remember all that goal setting talk from our last post? Well, it looks like we didn’t scare you off too badly because you’ve come back for more :) As promised, we want to help outline a plan to set you up for success. Part of that plan will emphasize learning how to set goals pro

perly. Whatever the goal (big or small), always do it the SMART way.

Let’s review what a SMART goal is:

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R - Realistic

T - Timely

Consider this example: Imagine that you are someone who never eats breakfast, but would like to improve upon this lifelong habit by starting to eat breakfast more regularly. Keep in mind that current barriers to eating breakfast include lack of time in the morning to make breakfast and low appetite. Now let’s take a moment to compare a non-specific goal to a SMART goal regarding this nutrition dilemma. 

Non-Specific Goal:

I want to start eating breakfast


I will eat breakfast 3 days per week by November 1st, 2020

The difference between these two goals may not be overly dramatic, but consider how much more direction and structure the SMART goal offers. Let’s dissect this SMART goal further…

  • Specific - Identification of the task at hand (to eat breakfast)

  • Measurable - Outlining the number of days per week that you want to meet this proposed target (3 days per week)

  • Achievable - Choosing to aim for 3 days/week of breakfast vs daily (going from never eating breakfast to eating breakfast 7 days/week may be too daunting at first, especially when not eating breakfast has been a lifelong habit)

  • Realistic - You currently never have time to eat breakfast and never feel hungry (these habits and challenges don’t change overnight, so you need to start out slowly to help develop a positive change)

  • Timely - Setting a reasonable end date to achieving this goal (using November 1st, 2020 in this example)

Once you’ve identified your SMART goal, the next step is to focus on addressing any barriers or challenges that may complicate your efforts in pursuing your target. For instance, in this example, it’s identified that a lack of time and low appetite impact your ability to have breakfast more regularly. Take some time to iron out the steps that you need to take to be successful with your SMART goal. Let’s consider the following solutions:

1. To address lack of time: 

  • Batch preparation and/or meal planning for breakfast, such as preparing a few jars of overnight oats or keep pre-made egg sandwiches in the freezer (that can be quickly heated up when needed)

  • Dedicate yourself to waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to focus on breakfast preparation

  • Heat up dinner leftovers for a quick meal (no one said breakfast had to be the conventional eggs and toast!)

2. To address low appetite: 

  • Start with just one item: Choose any food that stimulates any interest in eating first thing in the morning

  • Consider eating foods that feel “light” on the stomach (for example, make a smoothie or protein shake, have yogurt with fruit or cereal with milk to start) 

  • Remember, you can always set another goal in the future regarding what you choose to eat (that is, once you actually start eating)

As you can probably tell by following the above noted example, setting effective goals is not an easy task. However, when setting goals the SMART way, you are instantly on the road to a successful journey towards self-improvement and achievement. If you think that you would benefit from more guided assistance with setting goals, don’t forget to check out our services page!

Good luck getting started!

Adam, Sarah and Stephanie



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