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Empower the New Year: Using SMART Goals for Success

Written by Pam Connolly, Fitness Instructor + Certified Nutrition Coach

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

If you’re like most people, the word “goals” makes its way into your mind this time of year! 

Winter is the perfect time to reflect and think about your lifestyle choices after the holidays and decide whether you want to make changes. 

Enter SMART goals!

SMART goals can help you develop the proper system in place to proceed forward.

Now, there are many, MANY ways to set goals.  SMART goals just happen to include a high rate of success because of how you state your goals.

What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time.  

Most people will set goals for improving their health in some way.  For example, they might want to lose weight.  A typical goal someone would set for this would be, “I want to lose weight.”  That is an understandable goal, but it is also vague and subjective.  This is not a SMART goal. 

Many questions can be asked about this goal for clarification. 

Questions might include the following:  Why do you want to lose weight?  How much weight do you want to lose?  How will you lose the weight?  Or, when do you want to lose the weight by?

With SMART goals, it eliminates the questions! 

What are some SMART Goals Examples?

A SMART goal example would be, “I want to lose 5 pounds by February 14th.  It is specific:  it states the exact, objective intention.  It is measurable.  If a person knows their current weight, they will know if they met their goal by being at their desired weight.  It is attainable. 

The experts support a safe weight loss for adults of 1-2 pounds/week.  If this person starts right around the new year, then they will have plenty of time to safely lose 5 pounds by their goal date.  It is also realistic.  Five pounds in 5-6 weeks’ time is more likely to be achieved instead of 20 pounds in the same time frame.  Finally, it is timely.  A goal date has been indicated.

Another example is setting a SMART goal for your dream vacation!  Rather than stating, “I want to take a vacation.”  Think about all the specifics involved with SMART.  “I want to take a vacation to Jamaica during spring break of 2024.”  It is specific.  Like the weight loss goal, it also has an objective intention.  It is measurable and timely, stating exactly when and where you want to take this vacation.  It is attainable with proper planning for hotel, flights, and vehicular transportation to and from.  It is realistic.  If there are funds in the budget, taking a weeklong vacation to the beach is realistic for many people!

When you set YOUR goal(s), put the acronym to the test!  See if it answers all the parts.  If it doesn’t, decide what needs to be clearer.  Share this with at least one other person to see if it makes sense to them.  Best of luck! 

If you have any questions, please contact me at

Thank you,

Pam Connolly


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