The FIVE Key Components of Setting SMART Goals

We’ve all said at one time or another “I want weight loss,” “I want to be more active,” or “I’d like to eat better.” So how do you get there? How do you make that thing happen? How do you achieve permanent weight loss?

When you set out to make any sort of change, no matter what it may be, setting a goal to work towards, or many small goals to break up the long road ahead, gives you a way to measure success. And when it comes to losing weight and getting healthier, setting goals that you can work towards is as important as watching what you eat an ideal diet plan and staying active. When you focus on achieving a goal, it helps you push out of your comfort zone and into your “stretch zone,” the place where self-discovery happens, and new habits can be formed. And when you’re focusing on doing a positive behavior, you’re more likely to do other positive behaviors. Good attracts good. Health attracts health. As you think about your approach to weight loss, and the healthy lifestyle behaviors that you’re continuing to work on and practice, set goals that can help you get you where you want to go. Set weekly goals that will help you to stay on track. And make sure you’re setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

Specific: Each week choose a SPECIFIC area of focus. For example, eating healthier lunches at work, or exercising before work once during the week. Of course, you always want to be working on ALL these areas, but your focus area is where you are looking to improve, specifically.

Measurable: Specific goals are measurable. So, define a metric that will keep you on track. Rather than hoping to “exercise more,” you should choose a weekly total to aim for, preferably above what you are already doing. At the end of the week, you can evaluate your progress towards your goal.

Achievable: You want to be sure your goal is a bit of a stretch but is still attainable. As with any goal, you want to think about what it will take to achieve it. So be sure to make strides towards your goal each day.

Relevant: Be sure to choose the focus area that makes the most sense for you. A good rule of thumb is to always focus on the food part of the equation primarily, because that’s where greater weight loss is derived (80% of weight loss comes from what you eat, while about 20% comes from exercise). So, if you have been struggling to meet your SMART goal, or if you have been eating the wrong foods, choose a focus area that will support you to stay healthy.

Timely:​ Take it one week at a time, which is a manageable amount of time to focus on a goal and then reassess an area of focus for the next week.

Now that you’re SMART about setting goals, be sure to set one each week, then you’re off to a journey of weight loss success.