Set SMART Goals

Setting smart goals for your training and nutrition
Victoria Jones - sports dietitian. Nutrition support at Sports nutrition wales
Written by Victoria



The arrival of the New Year is a time to refocus and set some goals for the year ahead.

Whether these goals are to eat healthier, reduce your alcohol intake, exercise more, lose weight, or simply to improve your health and well-being, then good for you!

You’ve made a really positive step forward – you’ve identified the need for a change that is sure to benefit you. It’s a reality that some goals and targets (especially New Year resolutions) are often not maintained.

One of the reasons for this is that goals may not be specific enough. They may also be unrealistic. Initially, you are extremely enthusiastic and start off well, but you quickly realise that you may have bitten off more than you can chew.

So, what’s the answer to meeting your New Year goals?

When I work with clients, I find a great approach to supporting clients with setting goals is to set SMART goals. (For the SMART mnemonic read Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-related)

There are two key differences between setting conventional goals and setting SMART goals:

    1. SMART goals are specific
    2. SMART goals are achievable and realistic

    Let’s look at two examples . . .

    A goal: I want to reduce my alcohol intake.

    SMART Goal: I want to reduce my alcohol intake – and I will do this by reducing my total alcohol units per week from 8 units to 4 units by avoiding drinking during the week.

    A Goal:I want to exercise more.

    SMART Goal: I want to exercise more – and I will do this by joining a running club and running with them on a Wednesday every week.

    A Goal: I want to eat healthier.

    SMART Goal: I want to eat healthier – and I will do this, firstly, by preparing breakfast (e.g. overnight oats) the night before to take into work on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    How to become an achiever.

    Once you have achieved your initial SMART goal, you will feel a fantastic sense of achievement.

    Reward yourself with a treat you promised yourself at the start of the process – e.g. a new pair of trainers or a well-earned massage.

    SMART goals may appear quite small initially, but once achieved you can go on and set more, gradually building upon your achievements with a very smug look on your face!

    Have a very happy and healthy New year!

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