Setting SMART Goals

How do you set your goals?

When beginning an exercise program, it can be very helpful to have a set goal in mind to keep you motivated or to help keep you on track.

But what exactly is a good goal for you?

What exactly goes into a good goal?

How do you go about creating an achievable goal?

How do you stick to your goals?

These among others are questions you might be asking. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what might be an appropriate goal for you might be completely different than someone else.

This might seem overwhelming for now, but I am going to share with you some information that was absolutely beaten into my head while I was in university. This is a customizable template that you can use to set a goal for your health and wellness, your career, or even just life in general. This is called the S.M.A.R.T goal setting system.

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So, what is a SMART Goal?


Specific – Is your goal specific to you? Using someone else’s goal makes it feel less personal, you’re more likely to reach your goals if it’s something YOU really want.

Measurable – Can your goal be measured with numbers? Vague goals are more likely to fail.

Achievable – Is it possible to attain the goal you have set? It isn’t wise to set a goal that is physically impossible to achieve. For example, losing 50 lbs in a week just isn’t possible.

Realistic – Is your goal realistic for you? This is similar to the attainable step. Do you consider this goal something you can accomplish?

Time Oriented – Do you have a specific time frame in mind? Adding this time frame or a time limit to your goal will add structure and motivation as well.


Now that we’ve laid out the template of what a S.M.A.R.T goal looks like, let’s apply it to a fitness goal.

For our hypothetical fitness goal, let’s say there is a big event coming up that you want to look good for (a wedding, high school reunion, trip etc.) For this event, let’s say you want to lose 10-15 lbs. For this goal we want to make sure that you have plenty of time to accomplish this goal so let’s say we have 3 months.


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Specific – I want to lose some weight for my trip to Hawaii in December.

Measurable – My weight loss goal is to lose 10-15 lbs.  

Achievable – I have 3 months to accomplish this, which is very reasonable.

Realistic – I am able to dedicate 4 days a week to exercise.

Time Oriented – I am giving myself 10-12 weeks to lose this weight for my goal (that’s a rate of 1.0 to 1.5 lbs per week, a very healthy rate of weight loss.)


That’s it, it's that simple to write out a very achievable goal with this model. Now the only tough part will be doing the work required to accomplish it!

Obviously, your goal will likely differ from this hypothetical one I have laid out here, but now you have something that you can use to think about what your goal will look like, and a way to structure whatever your goal may be.

Like I said before, this model doesn’t even have to be for a fitness related goal! You could apply this to wanting to get a promotion or a raise at your place of work or picking a destination to travel to in your lifetime. I hope this template helps for any fitness or life goal you may have. Good luck!



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Written by Murray Roberts. Murray is a strength coach at Vagus Fitness. He graduated from Mount Royal University's Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma Program. He has a strong interest in helping those who are 50+ learn the fundamentals of strength training in a safe, progressive and effective manner. You can contact Murray at murray@vagusfitness.com.

Kyle Mahadeo