Planning for Personal and Healthy SMART Goals
Planning for and setting goals is kind of like taking a walk. We start at a particular
place. Once we know where we want to go, we realize there are several ways to get
there. We choose a safe path and start walking. The same is true with planning and
setting goals. As long as we keep in mind where we want to go and how we want to get
there, we can usually find a way to reach our goal.
Healthy people plan and work towards achieving healthy goals. This includes setting a
healthy goal that you can reach, with some effort, and developing a step-by-step action
plan for reaching the goal. Many people set what we call, “SMART Goals.” SMART
stands for: Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.
Each part of a SMART goal helps us with creating a goal that we actually can achieve.
Specific goals are clear and straightforward. They focus on what you want to happen.
Specific goals help you to focus your efforts and help you clearly define what you are
going to do. Specific goals answer this question:
1. What are you going to do? Use action words such as “talk with, develop, plan,
etc. to describe what you are going to do. For example, “I will talk with my father
about questions that I have about my growing and changing body.”
Measurable goals help you know if you are making progress towards your goal or if you
have accomplished your goal. Usually goals have several short-term measurements
that break your goal down into little steps. An action plan is a great way to break your
goal down into little steps. This helps you measure your progress along the way
towards achieving your health goal. Measurable goals answer this question:
1. What will you see when you reach your goal? For example, “I will talk with
my father about questions I have about the way my body is changing by
Thanksgiving.” Just saying that you will talk to your father is not as measurable.
Measuring your progress helps you to stay on track with your goal and reach your
target. If you can’t measure your health goal, you won’t know if you are accomplishing
Attainable goals are goals that you are actually able to achieve with some effort and
hard work on your part. You don’t want your goal to be too easy. You also don’t want
your goal to be too hard. It’s important to set an attainable health goal that is important
to your health and allows you to use your knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
resources/supports to reach the goal.
Attainable goals answer this question:
1. Can I figure our ways to make this goal come true? For example, do I have
or am I developing the knowledge, skills and resources to help me reach my
Working hard and seeing success towards your goal keeps you motivated and makes
you feel like you want to keep working towards your goal!
Realistic goals are “do-able.” This means that the health knowledge, skills and
resources needed to achieve your goal are available to you and you have access to
them. Goals that are too difficult can set you up for failure. Realistic goals are goals
that you can achieve with some effort using your knowledge, skills and resources.
Realistic goals answer this question:
1. Can I reach this goal with some effort? If the goal does not require any effort
on your part, then it is too easy and is not realistic for you.
Timely goals state the time period for when the goal will be accomplished. If you don’t
set a time, then you won’t have a target for when you will achieve your goal. Putting a
timeframe on your goal makes it clear what you are working towards. Timely goals
answer this question:
1. By when will I achieve my goal? If your goal does not include a timeframe, then
you might not feel a need to take action towards achieving your goal.
Learning to set personal healthy goals is an important part of growing up. Using
SMART planning and goal setting will help you achieve personal health goals. You will
be able to use the SMART goal strategies in all areas of your life now and throughout
Now that you have learned about SMART goals, what health goal do you think you
would like to work on as you go through puberty and continue to develop?
Write your health goal here…remember to follow the SMART goal steps. Share your
goal with a partner. Check each other’s goal to make sure it is SMART (and healthy).
(You will work on an action plan to help you achieve your goal at another time).
Tips for achieving your goals:
State your health goal as a declaration. “I will talk with my father about the way my
body is changing.” This is a powerful and intentional statement.
Share your goal with someone who cares if you reach it. Sharing your goal with your
best friend, your parents, a teacher, coach or neighbor will help you achieve your
goal. These people care about you and will be able to talk with you and support you
with your goal.
Write down your goal and put it where you will see it every day. The more often you
see your goal and think about it, the more likely you are to achieve it.
Review your goal often and revise it if necessary. Goal setting is just like anything
else…the more you practice, the better you get! Sometimes our first plan for reaching
a goal doesn’t work. That’s okay. Just don’t give up!
When you have reached your goal, remember to reward yourself.