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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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