Think S.M.A.R.T. when setting your New Year’s resolutions

Dec 28, 2017

Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? Have you thought about how to actually make that goal come true? Try thinking S.M.A.R.T.

At the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center, personal trainers and wellcoaches help clients set S.M.A.R.T. goals to overcome a challenge. S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

Kathy Carlson

S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time

“The key to setting a good S.M.A.R.T. goal is first identifying what your challenge is and then picking it apart and making a really simple S.M.A.R.T. goal,” says Kathy Carlson, MA, ACSMEP-C, Wellcoach, manager, St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center and Health Promotion. “’Some peoples say, ‘I want to lose weight,’ but they are not really identifying the specific challenge. When you are setting your S.M.A.R.T. goal, keep it simple and use the acronym.”

Let’s use losing weight as an example. How are you going to overcome that challenge? One way could be through exercise. Break that down even more and you could say you need to increase your endurance while exercising at the gym. Specifically, you can do that by walking on the treadmill. You can measure your progress by setting days of the week and times that you are going to walk on the treadmill. Make it attainable. If you are not a morning person, don’t plan on going to the gym in the morning. Think realistically how much you can do once you are on the treadmill – do you want to do 30 minutes at 3.0 speed and 3.0 incline? Be sure to set your S.M.A.R.T. goal within your personal limits. Finally, think about the time in which you want to achieve this goal.

So there’s our first S.M.A.R.T. goal: We are going to walk on the treadmill on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. for thirty minutes at a 3.0 speed and 3.0 incline.

“A way to set yourself up for success for your S.M.A.R.T. goal is to follow these simple steps while you make your goal,” Carlson says. “That way you know when you are coming to the gym and exactly what you have to do.

“To make a successful S.M.A.R.T. goal, make it something that has all those acronyms. Make it simple, at your level and not too aggressive. Tiny S.M.A.R.T. goals can get you to the overall big goal.”

Carlson says the final piece of a S.M.A.R.T. goal is making sure you complete it before moving onto the next goal. She says you should be between 80 to 100 percent successful before moving on. This will help prevent frustration, a feeling of being overwhelmed and ultimately giving up on your challenge.

S.M.A.R.T. goals aren’t just for weight loss and exercise. You can set a S.M.A.R.T. goal for anything you find challenging from saving money to stress reduction to eating better to drinking more water. Just remember to find your challenge, break it down and keep it simple by using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.

“Your reward is to complete your goal so you feel successful to keep motivated,” Carlson says. “That’s the ultimate reward: keeping yourself motivated by setting these smaller goals so you can achieve the overall big goal.”


St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center
If your resolution is to lose weight and exercise more, the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center offers memberships to the public. It is located on the Candler Hospital campus. Personal training also is available. Call the Wellness Center today at 819-8800 to ask about pricing or visit our website to learn more.

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