How to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals


Happy New Year from Journey to Joy!  If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about this fresh New Year and what you want to achieve in the next 365-ish days.  This is the season of New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting.  However, the majority of New Year’s resolutions will fail within the first few weeks of January. It’s easy to get discouraged.  If you’ve never heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, I hope to give you some insight into ways to set better and more achievable goals for this year.

S is for Specific

When a goal is specific, it means it is simple and precise.  Why do you want to accomplish this goal?  How do you intend to?  What will it take?  It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when setting a goal, especially if you make it too complicated or try to set too many goals at once.  Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds this year.  This goal is specific and precise, and the purpose is to feel better and improve your health.

M is for Measurable

When a goal is measurable, you know exactly what you are shooting for.  It answers questions like: How much/many?  How will I know when I’ve accomplished this goal?  Goals that are measurable are ones you can track your progress with.  Using the weight loss goal, you can definitely see that losing weight would be measurable and that you can do things like keep a food diary to track it.

A is for Achievable

When a goal is achievable, it means it is realistic and within your power to achieve.  This means not setting a humongous goal with no clear path to achieve it.  It also means sometimes setting smaller, more specific goals to work towards a bigger, more achievable goal.  Using the weight loss goal, instead of setting a goal of losing 50 pounds, maybe start with a smaller goal of losing the first 10 pounds.

R is for Relevant

When a goal is relevant, it means it fits into your current phase of life and is attainable physically, emotionally, financially, etc.  Goals that are relevant mean that you have the time and energy right this second to work towards it.  Using the weight loss goal again, do you have the time, resources, finances, and mental energy to commit to losing 50 pounds?  If the answer is no, you may need to reconsider your goal.

T is for Time Bound

When a goal is time-bound, it means you can carve the time out to commit to it, and you have a timeline in place to achieve and/or re-assess your goal.  Some questions to ask are: Is this a time-sensitive goal?  How much time do I need to achieve it?  Using the weight loss goal, think about your time spent meal prepping, working out, etc.  Do you have the time in your current day-to-day life to commit to these changes?

May this year bring you many blessings and lots of JOY!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.

Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.