What exactly is a SMART goal?

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It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on the last 12 months and starts to plan their goals for the new year. But how do make sure the goals you set are right for you and achievable? Well that’s where SMART goals come in. So what exactly is a SMART goal? Read on and I will tell you.

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S is for Specific

Your goals need to be specific and clear, not general or broad. Saying you want to eat healthier in 2020 is a very general goal. It doesn’t tell you exactly what you plan or need to do to achieve that goal. Also, what does eating healthy look like?

Now if you said your goal was to eat 7 portions of fruit and veg a day, then that would be a specific goal.

M is for Measurable

You need to know when you’ve achieved your goal so it needs to be measurable. If you said you were going to eat more fruit and veg in a day, when would you know you’ve achieved that goal? Clearly stating you will eat 7 portions means you know if you’ve achieved it or not.

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A is for Achievable

Is it achievable for you? There is no point setting yourself an unachievable or unattainable goal as you are immediately setting yourself up to fail. If you’re currently only eating 1 or 2 portions of fruit or veg a day, then setting yourself a goal to eat 10 a day is quite unachievable. It’s not impossible, but you’re going to have to work hard to get there. Make things stretching for yourself but do-able at the same time.

R is for Relevant

Make sure your goals are relevant for where you are in your life right now. It must serve a purpose and be important and relevant for you. Don’t follow the crowd or choose a goal that someone else is doing – again, you need to make them achievable, as well as motivating, for you. An example might be that your friend is aiming to do a 5k run next year. You pick this goal because it sounds challenging but if you hate running then you are not going to be motivated to do it and it ain’t going to happen.

T is for Timeframe

When will you achieve your goal by? Having a timeframe means you are more likely to get it done. If you don’t have a deadline or timeframe then it is less likely to happen. Going back to the eating more fruit and veg example, saying you will just eat 7 portions isn’t specific enough, as that could mean in a day, a week or the year. Clearly state when you will achieve your goal by – for example 7 portions in a day – and again, be realistic!


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Tips to help you achieve your goals

Spend time planning your goals using the SMART approach.

Write down your goals – so you can remember them!

Have goals for different areas of your life – health, work, exercise, development, home improvement, financial etc.

Break big goals down in to smaller bite-sized chunks – create tasks you can do to move you towards your goal.

Set time in your schedule to work on your goals.

Be consistent and build up habits.

Tell someone what your goals are and be accountable.

Don’t set too many goals – otherwise you might not achieve any.

Reward yourself as you achieve your goals to keep you motivated – but be sensible!

Your thoughts

What are you 2020 goals?

Do you set SMART goals?


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4 thoughts on “What exactly is a SMART goal?

  1. Invisibly Me says:

    I much prefer the idea of SMART goals rather than resolutions. So much more realistic and manageable. I agree with Liz – very timely. I love how you’d laid this out to go through each point. Great post, Alice! xx

    • Alice says:

      Thanks Caz! I never really got my head around what a SMART goal was until now 🙂 And definitely much better than New Year resolutions! xx

  2. Despite Pain says:

    I love your post and it is so timely. Setting achievable goals is important. I always say that if we make goals which are so far out of reach, we will never achieve them, then we get down and depressed and feel like failures.

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