Getting Started With Goal-Setting

Have you ever created a goal to “eat healthier” or “exercise more”? How well did that work for you? If your answer is, “not very well”, it’s because abstract goals with vague outcomes do not provide us with enough direction for what actually needs to be done. To greatly improve your likelihood of success, try setting SMART goals to create lasting behavior change.2

Learn About SMART Goal-Setting:

Let’s transform this example of an initial goal into a SMART one, by applying the following filters. We’ll start with the goal of: “I want to exercise more.”


Create a goal that has a focused and clear path for what you will do. “I want to get regular cardio exercise.”


This enables you to track your progress, and ties in with the “specific” component. How will you know when you’ve reached this goal? What will the result look like? “I would like to get regular cardio exercise, a routine would look like going several times a week.”


Make sure that your goal is within your capabilities and not too far out of reach. Take into account the small (but important!) steps needed to get there. “I haven’t run or jogged in a few years, but I can walk briskly! That will increase my heart rate, and get me outside.”


Make sure that your goal is something you will be able to continue doing as part of your regular routine/lifestyle.
“My kids have soccer practice on Tues/Thurs, but I have some space to go for walks on Mon/Wed/Fri evenings.”


Give yourself a target date or deadline in which the goal needs to be met. This will keep you on track and motivated to reach the goal, while evaluating your progress along the way. “I would like to have this routine established before our family vacation three months from now, so that I can walk a lot without needing to take breaks.”

Once we’ve put it all together, we’re left with the following SMART Goal:

“I will establish a consistent cardio exercise routine by walking briskly three times a week on Mon/Weds/Fri, for three months as I prepare for our family vacation.”

Set a SMART Goal of Your Own:

  1. Write the goal you have in mind
  2. What do you want to accomplish? Why is this important?
  3. How can you measure progress and know you've successfully reached your goal?
  4. Do you have what you need to achieve this goal?
  5. Why are you setting this goal?
  6. What's the deadline, and is this realistic?
  7. Craft a SMART goal based on your answers to these questions

Share your goal with your coach for support and accountability in achieiving it!


  1. Staff Writer. (NA). S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet. Retrieved from:

  2. Staff Writer (NA). Behavior Change and Goal Setting. Retrieved from: