Setting SMART Goals

For the past five years, I’ve volunteered as the conference director for a MA-based youth leadership nonprofit organization. This means I spend a lot of my free time thinking about appropriate programming for high school sophomores…and more often than not, I’m surprised by how well the concepts translate to my own life.

I always make sure to include setting SMART goals as one of the core lessons for our annual three day conference. This is a tactic that I use on a regular basis in my own life – personally and professionally. It also remains a fundamental tool for success in my fitness journey, so I’m excited to share the idea with you all today!

Setting goals and planning follow through is so important to long term success. I’ve found that when I use this framework for my goal-setting exercises, I see markedly better results than when I pursue more generalized, less fleshed out goals.

So… what the heck is a SMART goal and why is it so effective as a tool for losing weight, improving fitness, and building a healthier lifestyle?

Every time you begin a new project or set a goal for yourself, take the time to ask the following five questions.

Is my goal…

  1. SPECIFIC? Eliminate any vagueness from your goal. A great place to start is to use the five “w” words – who, what, where, when, and why. What specifically are you trying to achieve and how will you get there?
  2. MEASURABLE? How will you know if you have achieved your goal? Determine at the outset how you will measure your progress, and establish set benchmarks along the way to your ultimate end.
  3. ACHIEVABLE? Make sure that your goal is, in fact, possible. Consult with someone you trust who has experience relevant to your goal – a physician, a trainer, or a coach. Ensure that you won’t be doing yourself any harm by pursuing your goal.
  4. RELEVANT? Why are you pursuing this goal now? What broader impact will it have on your life? Who are you helping by pursuing this goal? Knowing the answers to these questions at the outset will help you down the line, when you might start questioning whether your hard work is really worth it.
  5. TIME DEFINED? Establish a clear beginning and end point for achieving this goal. Again, setting benchmarks is important, so you can check in on your progress and reevaluate your end target. Having a deadline can help to keep you accountable and on track!


Follow this SMART Goal framework, and I promise you’ll see improved results! Share your SMART Goals with me in the comments, and don’t be afraid to email me if you’d like help applying this framework to your fitness, health, and wellness goals!


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