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Time To Set Some Goals!

Part of living a healthy and meaningful life is adding things to your routine and schedule that benefit you and the life you want to live. This includes but is not limited to working out, sleep schedule, reading or other healthy habits, or diet and nutrition. When it comes to these ideas and lifestyle habits it is key to set goals for yourself. Setting goals will help pay off in the long run and help you be successful in these areas in many different ways (1,2). Here are a few different reasons and examples why it is key to set goals for yourself.

Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Going to the gym and working out is something that is beneficial in many different ways and most people would agree with that. When most people start their fitness journey they are excited to get started and have the most motivation. However once they get into that routine for a while they start to lose some of that motivation and it might become harder for them to push themselves to go to do those things on a regular basis. Having a goal or something to work towards is another way to have a reason to keep that determination and motivation that they need.

Continuing with this past point working out each day can become ambiguous or feel meaningless over time which makes it harder to follow through with these ideas of wanting to work out. Having a goal gives your workout purpose and just another reason to want to follow through with it and take part in other habits that support your goal. This can vary from person to person and what you are wanting to accomplish. Some examples of goals could be: loosing 20 pounds, taking 30 seconds off your mile time, being able to pick up your grandson, being able to tie your shoes, or benching 300 pounds.

When setting goals the first thing to keep in mind is setting goals that go with the arcanum SMART; this stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (3).

It is important to note that those that set SMART goals are more likely to follow through with interventions that are set to meet those goals along the way (4).

The first goal of specific asks the question of exactly what is attempting to be accomplished. To start you can ask yourself the six questions that all start with a “w”.

1. Who- who is the person trying to reach the goal? In this case it is usually yourself. This might also include who else is involved in the process.

2. What- what are you trying to accomplish?

3. Where- this is the location in which the goal is taking place. It could be at your gym, your house, or wherever your new healthy habit is at.

4. When- Timeframe in which the goal will take place.

5. Which- retrains or consideration that can get in the way or help you achieve your goal

6. Why- Reasons why you are wanting to do this goal

A goal that is not specific is wanting to get stronger, a specific goal is being able to deadlift 400 lbs.

Goals that are measurable are easy to see if you hit the mark or not, there is no gray area or questions regarding if you hit your goal. Usually numbers are involved which help you understand if you reached the goal. From the example above of deadlifting 400 lbs you either do it or you don’t. Benching 395 lbs although that can be impressive still is not hitting the goal you set. Anything above 400 lbs means you hit the goal.

When it comes to goals that are attainable this is looking at what might get in your way of achieving your goal and if you can take the steps needed in order to reach your goal. Again going back to deadlifting 400 lbs, what is needed to attain that goal? This might include, being able to go to the gym multiple times a week, eating enough protein, as well as resting when needed. Coming up with a game plan to achieve your goal is key and not doing so makes your goal harder to attain.

The next step is to be realistic with your goal. It Is not a bad idea to push yourself in order to grow and be the best you possible but there are always limits, especially in the time you might be setting for yourself. If you have never ran before setting a goal of running a 5k in a very low time might be hard to do and doing too much too soon could cause you to get hurt or give up on your goal all together.

When goals are set they must be set in a timely manner giving you time to reach your goal. Doing too much too soon can be tough, however if you put it too far in the future you may give up on your goal.

With this information in mind there is no time like the present to start setting goals and doing your best to make changes in your routine that can benefit your overall health. Remember these goals do not have to be extreme or the same as other goals people in your life set. Make them specific to you and ones in which you can reach and start working towards today in order to live a healthy and meaningful life.


  1. Epton T, Currie S, Armitage CJ. Unique effects of setting goals on behavior change: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Dec

  2. Sebire SJ, Standage M, Vansteenkiste M. Examining intrinsic versus extrinsic exercise goals: cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2009 Apr;31(2):189-210. doi: 10.1123/jsep.31.2.189.

  3. Dartmouth, U. of M. (n.d.). Smart goals for students. UMass Dartmouth. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from

  4. Aghera, A., Emery, M., Bounds, R., Bush, C., Stansfield, R. B., Gillett, B., & Santen, S. A. (2018). A Randomized Trial of SMART Goal Enhanced Debriefing after Simulation to Promote Educational Actions. The western journal of emergency medicine, 19(1), 112-120.

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