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  • Writer's pictureEmily Sicinski, MS, RDN, CDN

Creating Effective 2024 Wellness Goals: A Guide to SMART Goal Setting

Here at the Rite Bite, we are firm believers in establishing SMART goals. But what are they exactly? SMART is an acronym that stands for the following: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It is important to set goals that encompass all of these qualities to ensure success. In this blog post, I will break down the 5 components of a SMART goal and provide you with some examples.





Specific. In order to create a goal, it is important to keep it specific. When setting a goal, make sure you can answer the following questions: 

  • What am I trying to accomplish? 

  • What steps should I take to achieve it? 


Not so good example: My goal is to get healthier. 

Better example: My goal is to improve my diet by adding fruits and vegetables to all of my meals.


Measurable. Making your goal measurable is another way to ensure success. Instead of making a generalized improvement, try adding some numbers to the goal. By adding a number value, there is a sense of “crossing the finish line” when the goal is reached. 


Not so good example: I will exercise more this week.

Better example: I will increase my physical activity by walking 15 minutes per day this week. 





Achievable. Of course, we want our goals to be achievable. In order to achieve your goals, they must be realistic. Sometimes, we make really big goals when we are highly motivated when in reality, it’s actually better to make small goals more frequently to achieve long-term success. Let’s say you are starting your nutrition journey but you are accustomed to eating takeout for all of your meals and have a very inconsistent work schedule:


Not so good example: I will eat 3 healthy, home-cooked meals every single day of the week. 

Better example: I will prepare healthy, home-cooked breakfasts to take to work this week. 


In the second example, notice that we are focusing on one meal only. This is because there is high probability the drastic shift in meal preparation could feel overwhelming or like too much work. When this happens, there is an increased chance you may give up on your goal and resort to old behaviors. A better goal would be to focus on just one healthy home-cooked meal per day, and once it becomes a staple part of your routine, then try adding a second healthy home-cooked meal as your next goal.





Relevant. When setting your goals, you want them to be relevant, reasonable, and within your resources. Ask yourself the following questions: does the goal relate to what I am trying to achieve? And if so, is it a realistic goal that is within my resources? Maybe your goal is to exercise more, but you’re constrained for time with your work schedule and don’t hold onto a gym membership due to cost. 


Not so good example: I am going to get a gym membership to exercise. 

Better example: I am going to park farther away from the building at work to increase my daily steps, use the stairs instead of the elevator during the work day, and take a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood during my lunch break.


In the second example, we are creating a realistic goal that is relevant and within our daily resources. By doing this, you increase the chance of achieving it. 





Time-Sensitive. Lastly, we always want to make sure goals are time-sensitive. By establishing a time frame, a sense of urgency is created and eliminates the likelihood of “pushing it off.” In a counseling setting, your time goal might be until your next follow up visit, but if you are establishing your own goals at home, don’t forget to decide on a realistic time in which you want to achieve the goal by.


Not so good example: I want to lose 4 pounds.

Better example: I want to lose 4 pounds in 1 month. 





Hopefully, this blog post helped you think differently about your health and nutrition goals moving forward. If you have already taken this approach, great job! So, what are some SMART goals you want to work on to achieve good health and wellness? Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2024!


Until next time,


Emily


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