How to Set Short-Term Goals You’ll Actually Accomplish

So you want to improve your health–that’s great! But just deciding to lose some weight or become more active isn’t enough—you have to go about making goals the right way or you’ll never make them happen. What is the right way? Most experts agree that you need to follow something called the S.M.A.R.T. method for goal setting. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Here’s what all of that means:

  • Specific: The more vague your goal, the less likely you’ll be to achieve it. You want to improve your health? Don’t stop there. Pick that apart and decide what exactly you mean.
  • Measurable: If you don’t have a way to measure your progress, how will you know when you’ve hit your goal? Instead of losing weight, vow to lose 10 pounds. Instead of getting more fit, say you’ll run a mile without stopping.
  • Attainable: Remember, this is a short-term goal, so don’t get too crazy with what you want to achieve right away. Dropping 50 pounds might be in your future, but first you have to lose five.
  • Relevant: You’re going to be more motivated when a goal is something you care about achieving, so make sure that whatever you’re striving for is important to you right now.
  • Time-bound: Give yourself a due date so that it’s easier to stay on track.

What else can you do to ensure your success? Plan for setbacks (that way you aren’t surprised when they happen and can bounce back quickly), focus on what’s really motivating you (maybe it’s that you want to be able to keep up with your super-active kids) and include others in your progress so you don’t feel like you’re going at it alone.  Check out our goal-setting site, #HealthyMe, to put all these tips to good use!

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit


Photo credit: Andrew Hurley

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