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Goal Setting For Success

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Goal setting is an important part of successfully achieving what you want to achieve. More specifically, SMART goal setting can position you for success. Setting your goals out in a SMART format can really help drive yourself towards goal achievement.

SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant) and Timely.

SMART goals can be set for both long and short term goals, and it's usually a good idea to have both of these types of goals. Ideally you want a solid long-term goal, however having one or two short term goals can make the long-term goal become more achievable and act as stepping-stones to achieving your overall goal.

Setting goals is not always completely straight-forward and a reason to use 'SMART' goals is to focus your mind a little more and get you thinking about what you really want and how you will get there. It's common to say "my goal is to be healthier" or "I want to do more exercise", which is great, but not very specific or focused.

To help you out I will give you an example of how to set a goal using the SMART principle. This is also something I can help my clients with to help them on their journey.

Let's say I want an interim goal to start exercising, my motivations being to help my knee osteoarthritis, improve my mental health and help me lose weight. Now the weight loss goal can be written as a separate goal (and maybe the longer-term one), however let's focus on the exercise here. This is how I'd go about it.

S (Specific) - I want to start walking outside at least 3 days a week.

Just saying I want to be active is not specific enough. Think about something you can do and would enjoy. 

M (Measurable) - I want to walk outside at a moderate intensity on at least 3 days a week for at least 150 minutes (cumulative time and based on government activity guidelines for moderate intensity exercise).

Saying I just want to go for a walk is not enough, it needs to be measured (e.g. intensity, length of activity etc).

A (Achievable) - Yes, I currently have time after work or at the weekends in which I can walk for 50 minutes, three times a week to meet this goal and this goal is important to me. I could always walk on more days for a shorter space of time if needed.

If I actually didn't have the time in the week to achieve this then I'd be setting myself up for failure. Alternatively I could break the 150 minutes down in to 10 minute sessions spread out at various times during the week.

R (Realistic) - Yes. 150 minutes over the whole week is realistic and with my level of osteoarthritis walking for this amount of time broken down in to chunks is realistic.

If you set yourself a goal of undertaking moderate exercise for one hour a day, five days a week this may be a little it too much to begin with if you're someone who doesn't do any exercise currently, but may be something you can work towards further down the line. 

Sometimes I swap Realistic to Relevant, because I often feel that Realistic is similar to Achievable, and research shows that having goals that are relevant to you and your values is really important.  

T (Timely) - There is already a timed feature to this goal above, however I could say that I would like to build up to reach this target over the next eight weeks.

If you don't put a time frame on when you want to achieve the goal by you're more likely to put it off,  drag your feet a bit and not push yourself.

So, overall my goal would be to 'Build up to regularly undertaking 150 minutes of moderate intensity walking per week, aiming to walk 50 minutes a day on 3 days a week, over the next eight weeks'.

The walking would then become a part of my daily/weekly routine and I can then review the goal and set a new one at that point if I so wish.

Good luck and start setting those goals!

FREE 'SMART goal setting' infographic you can download is available HERE.

If you need some help with this email me at

Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

#goalsetting #smartgoals #osteoarthritis #behaviourchange #lifestylemedicine #motivatedhealth #healthcoaching #physiotherapy #hotisticphysiotherapy

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