Tomorrow's Dietitian

A registered dietitian documents her journey

Setting SMART Goals

on September 1, 2012

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

~ Fitzhugh Dodson

So much of my profession will encompass goal setting. I guarantee every adult on the planet has at some point set a weight-related goal, whether it be to lose 5, 15, or even 50 pounds. Choosing a SMART goal is key, so let’s explore what makes a SMART goal.

  • Specific – what, why, and how
  • Measurable – concrete and observable
  • Attainable – small, realistic changes, under the control of the goal-setter (should not depend on another person)
  • Rewarding – stated positively
  • Time-bound – include an end point

A common goal might be something like “Eat more vegetables.” However, this goal would be more effective if it were more specific, measurable, and especially time-bound. Eat more vegetables could translate as an extra serving of fried green tomatoes or an iceberg lettuce salad piled high with dressing, bacon, and croutons. Instead, a goal-setter should consider:

Eat more vegetables could become Eat a one cup portion of steamed vegetables with dinner three times this week

This goal clarifies the preparation method (steamed rather than fried), gives a concrete, measurable quantitative goal (one cup, three times), and also an end point (this week).

Cut back on unhealthy carbs could become Switch from Reese’s Puffs cereal to whole grain cheerios or high-fiber oatmeal or it could become Eat sandwiches on whole grain bread this week or even Have brown rice instead of mashed potatoes with dinner five times this month.

By setting SMART goals and taking baby steps we can easily reach a healthier lifestyle. Practice setting a SMART goal and see how well you keep it!


One response to “Setting SMART Goals

  1. Jenny says:

    What a great piece on setting practical goals to achieve desired outcomes. Keep sharing your knowledge!

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