Setting SMART Goals
by: Barbara Storch, MA
Being intentional and strategic with goal setting can be a great way to make sure that you reach the goals you want to achieve. No matter what the goal is, setting “SMART” goals can be a great tool to use. “SMART” is an acronym that outlines the type of goals you will want to set to optimize your chance for success.
You want to set goals that are:
Ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve? Be as concrete as possible. “Drink more water” is not very specific, whereas “drink two full water bottles each day” is much more specific. Having specific goals makes it so that you know where you are going, and you know when you get there.
Having measurable goals means that you have a system in place to track your progress. This can also help you think through how your momentum toward achieving your goal will go. Think of this as the “step counter” of your goal; you see each of the steps you take throughout the day to get to your step goal for the day, and you can watch that number go up. Knowing how you will measure your goal is key, and goals can be measured in different ways – you can be as creative as you want!
This one may seem intuitive but setting achievable and attainable goals is essential. Thinking through whether your goal is achievable may involve thinking through your resources (emotional, physical, and logistical). For example, if your goal is to run a marathon in a month, you may not have the time to achieve that goal. However, if your goal is to run a 5k in the next month, you may have the resources available to achieve that attainable goal. Setting attainable goals increases the likelihood you will meet your goals!
Thinking through whether your goals are relevant is also an important step. Is achieving this goal important to you? Why? How will achieving this goal help you, or how is achieving this goal in line with your values for your life? Setting goals that feel important and relevant to your values and the actions you are trying to take in your life helps increase the likelihood you’ll be able to meet your goal!
You can think of this step as setting a deadline for your goal. The deadline isn’t to build pressure – rather, it’s to build a structure around your goal-achievement process.
Now you are ready to set a SMART goal for something you want to achieve! Try going through each letter and take a moment to make sure your goal is as SMART as it can be. Remember, goal setting can be an interactive and iterative process, and you can refine and change goals over time to increase how SMART they are.
You can use the SMART goal-setting framework for any type of goal, whether it be general or specific to your IBD. SMART goals can be helpful for many aspects of your IBD care, from goals for medication adherence to goals for drinking water – the most important thing is that the SMART goal is specific to something you want to achieve.
Your Resilience Team is always here to help you think through and refine your goals to make sure they are as SMART as possible.
Resilience for IBD is Resilience for Life! ™