Setting a SMART Goal

How to set a goal (be SMART about setting goals)

Did you know, you may be more likely to achieve your goal, if your goal follows the acronym SMART? Setting a SMART goal, is a technique that brings framework to your goal by addressing important questions and setting specific objectives.1

The SMART acronym stands for:

S: Specific
M: Measureable
A: Achievable
R: Realistic
T: Timely1

I decided to use the SMART acronym for my 2018 goal: run a full marathon (26.2 miles)! I am a long-time runner but it has been nearly 8 years since I have run a full marathon. This exercise helped me examine why I want to run another marathon and how l will prepare both mentally and physically for race day.

Please continue reading below to learn what each SMART letter represents. I am using my 2018 goal as an example.

Specific

Identifies the who, what, when, where and why of the goal being set.2

Example:

  • I, with the support of my family, friends, running coach, and team JDRF*, will train to run the Chicago Marathon in the fall of 2018.
  • I have chosen to train for another marathon to prove to myself that I have the discipline; to learn again how to step out of my comfort zone; and to raise money for a charity in hopes of bringing more awareness to a chronic disease (I will run as part of Team JDRF)

*Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Measurable

How will you know when you have accomplished your goal?2

Example:

  • When I cross the finish line of the marathon.

Achievable:

Is the goal being set both realistic and attainable? The goal being set should be challenging but not set you up for failure and/or disappointment. “What are you going to do to achieve this goal?”3

Example:

  • Before I start my formal marathon training, I plan to run a few days each week.
  • To assist me in reaching my goal, I have asked my running coach to develop a training plan that is both realistic and will help hold me accountable.
  • I will start working with my running coach 4 to 5 months before race day so that I have plenty of time to prepare.

Relevant:

Is the goal you are setting important to you? “Is this goal worthwhile?” “Is it the right time?” 3

Example:

  • Exercise and staying in shape has always been an important part of my life. Deciding to run another marathon gives my long runs and extra training more purpose.
  • I believe 2018 is the right time to train for a marathon for the following reasons: I have excellent family support, a group of friends that I can run with, and a running coach that with help me come up a safe training plan.

Timely:

“Ever goal needs a target date.”3 In what time frame will your complete/reach your goal?

Example:

  • My target date will be race day (October 2018).

Now it’s your turn. What is your goal? How are you going to ensure that the goal you set is SMART? I challenge each person that is a part of the Type2Diabetes.com community to set a goal for 2018 that follows the SMART technique. Please share your goal(s) with the Type2Diabetes.com community.

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