S.M.A.R.T Goals: What They Are and Why They’re Important

When you are working on health and wellness goals, S.M.A.R.T. goals are frequently used to keep moving toward your endpoint. Whether you are training for a 5K, reducing your sugar intake, or improving your sleep habits, S.M.A.R.T. goals can help you along the way. Setting and following structured goals is key to any health or behavior change.

What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

S: Specific

This is not the time to be vague. This is the time to decide exactly what you want to do. For example, a goal of “I will lose weight” or “I will improve my sleep” is not specific. Work on adding specific information to your goals. “I will lose 10 lbs.” or “I will sleep at least six hours each night” are more specific and provide more direction. Specificity in goal-setting helps you realize exactly what you are working for.

M: Measurable

Make sure your goals are measurable. It’s very hard to determine if your goals are met without this element. “I will be healthy” or “I will be happy” are not measurable and can easily be forgotten. Measurable goals look a little different. “I will improve my health by sleeping six hours each night and doing yoga three times per week” is one example. Another would be, “I will work on my happiness by doing something for myself for 15 minutes each day.”

A: Attainable

It’s important to make sure your goal can be met and that it’s within reach. A new exerciser would struggle to meet the goal of “I will exercise at the gym for 60 minutes each day this month.” A more realistic goal would be, “I will walk at least three times a week for 30 minutes.” Once you meet your goals, make new ones. Reach a goal and set one more. Always have a goal in mind to work towards!

R: Realistic

It’s equally important to make sure the goal you are working towards is realistic. Is it realistic to get back to a high school weight, compete a triathlon, or get rid of all the stress in your life? Probably not, but you can set goals that are realistic for your body and your lifestyle.

T: Timeframe

Give yourself a deadline. When will your goal be completed? Set an end date. For example, you might decide, “I will lose 10 lbs. by Fall break” or “I will keep a daily food log until school starts.” Assess where you are at the end of the timeframe and set a new goal, or revamp the old one if it didn’t work out for you.


Set aside some time on a regular basis to come up with a plan to set some goals. Goals in all areas of your life are important and motivate you to be healthier. Once you meet your goals, find something you can work on next. The sky is the limit when it comes to you and your health!

For more tips on goal-setting, read “5 Tips to Avoid Procrastination” and “3 Steps to Identifying Fitness Goals that Will Help Guide Your Progress.

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