How to be SMART about your healthy living goals

Good goal-setting is a vital first step on your journey to healthy living. Here’s how…

Most of us know what we should do to be healthier, and it’s easy to tell ourselves things like “I’ll get fitter” or “I’ll lose weight”. These generic goals don’t give us anything tangible to aim for and do no favours for our motivation. A well-thought-out goal is a useful first step in transforming your life and taking control of your health.

5 steps to a SMART goal

S is for Specific

The goal “to lose weight” isn’t specific, so you won’t know whether you’ve achieved or not. “I want to lose a stone” is much more helpful, as it gives something concrete to aim for.

M is for Measurable

The goal “to get fitter” isn’t a bad one but doesn’t mean a lot unless you define what ‘fitter’ means. Consider exactly what you want to achieve and make sure you can measure it. E.g.: “to do 30 minutes of activity 3 times per week” or “to be able to run 5k”.

A is for Achievable

Striving for an unrealistic goal can be soul-destroying. Make sure your goal is reasonable for you to achieve. You can start small and work your way up, setting a new goal once you’ve reached the first.

R is for Relevant

You’re more likely to reach goals if they mean something to you and the motivation comes from within. Reflect on what’s important to you: don’t do something because you feel you should or someone else wants you to.

T is for Time-bound

Setting a date is important for knowing whether you’ve reached your goal or not. Without a timescale, it’s easier to let yourself off the hook, so make sure your goal come with a deadline.


E is for Evaluate

Once you’ve set a goal, you’ll need to look back to evaluate whether you achieved it or not.

R is for Review

You can then review whether to rethink the goal, keep reaching for the same one, or set a new one altogether.

smarter goals

Moving forward

Setting a healthy living goal can be daunting. Once you’ve made a SMART goal, planning how you’ll achieve it is an important next step.

Remember our team is here to help: contact us to find out how we can support you with advice, guidance and 1:1 telephone coaching. You can register now for your free healthy living profile to unlock personalised guidance, hints and tips. 


How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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