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How to Set SMART Goals


Setting SMART goals, whether in therapy or at home, empowers you to articulate your intentions clearly and implement them effectively. The SMART acronym underscores the importance of goals being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. By employing SMART goals, you not only gain a structured approach to goal-setting but also cultivate a sense of ownership and significance in your personal journey, fostering sustained motivation for change. Widely utilized across various domains including healthcare, mental wellness, business, and education, SMART goals provide a versatile framework for fostering growth and achievement.

We’ve all set and failed to follow through on New Year’s resolutions at some point in our lives. It’s nothing to be ashamed of—all we can do is try to set ourselves up for success.

SMART goals are a strategy you can use to help you define a change you want to make and come up with a plan that will help you achieve it. SMART goals are used in all kinds of settings, including therapy, but can be a very effective method to get over the usual everyday struggles of following through on any goal.

Verywell Mind

Breaking Down the Parts of the Goal

Verywell Mind has listed what each letter in “SMART” stands for, have a look:

  • Specific: You make a clear goal instead of coming up with something general. For example, if you want to “go to bed earlier,” that’s a vague goal. To make it specific, you could say, “I want to go to bed by 9 o’clock every night.”
  • Measurable: You need to be able to track your progress and know when you’ve met your goal. So, going to bed every night at 9 is a goal you can measure. You could mark your calendar or use a goal-tracking app to check off each night that you get to bed on time.
  • Attainable: Your goal needs to be something you can reasonably do. A goal of going to bed at 9 every night would not be realistic if you work the night shift—in fact, it would probably be impossible.
  • Relevant: Your goal needs to matter to you and fit into your life and values. If you want to make your health more of a priority, a goal like getting better sleep could be part of making that change. 
  • Time-bound: Your goals need a deadline or at least a timeline. Setting an endpoint helps keep you motivated. So, if you want to fix your sleep hygiene, you could say, “I want to go to bed by 9 every night for the next month” and see how you do. By then, the new routine might have already become a habit.

SMART goals are widely favored because research demonstrates their efficacy as a tool for individuals aiming to enact health-related transformations in their lives. Even with high motivation, the journey of change can be daunting. However, by setting SMART goals, the process becomes more manageable as it delineates the pathway into smaller, more digestible components represented by the acronym’s five factors. This method allows for deliberate consideration of each step. Consequently, a SMART goal provides clear, actionable steps and a predetermined endpoint, prompting reflection to assess the need for plan adjustments upon reaching the specified timeframe.

Reference: https://www.verywellmind.com/smart-goals-for-lifestyle-change-2224097

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