A person writes down their SMART goals.
It’s far easier to gauge success when you establish specific, measurable goals for your health journey. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

How many times do you think about starting something new or try something for a day or two, only to see your good intentions fizzle out fast?

If you’re like many people, your health and wellness accomplishments remain unfinished and many of your goals are unmet.

In fact, very few people even set goals, let alone SMART goals.

When we’re unclear about what we want and have no clear direction on how to get there, we may be setting ourselves up for failure.

Wise up your goals by using this SMART goal-setting pattern.


When we make a goal specific, we have a better chance of accomplishing that goal as opposed to accomplishing a vague, general intention.

Consider asking the primary W’s—who, what, when, where, which and why—to help you start these goals. By mapping out specifics, you can define the moment of success.

A vague plan is something akin to, “Start eating more fruit and vegetables.” It’s a great start, but a specific plan would be better: “Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily.”


You need to establish criteria for measuring your goal.

If you consider your goal of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, consider asking yourself: What is a proper serving of fruits and vegetables?

Here are some recommended measurements for a serving of veggies or fruits:

Single serving of veggies 

  • 2 cups leafy greens
  • 1 cup raw
  • 1/2 cup cooked

Single serving of fruits

  • Tennis ball size for apples, oranges, peaches
  • 1 cup berries and melons
  • 1/2 cup canned
  • 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice


If your goal is attainable, you are more likely to be successful.

Consider the planning or preparation that goes into your goal. Again, if you were wanting to get more fruit and vegetables into your daily routine, do you need to shop for more options, look up new recipes to try, or plan to food prep portions you can easily grab every day?


This is an area to consider carefully. If you create something that doesn’t challenge you enough, is that goal worthwhile?

Also, if you choose a goal that is too lofty, you’re almost certainly setting yourself up to fail. This applies to lofty weight loss goals. It isn’t realistic, for example, to try to lose 50 pounds in only 30 days.

You should consider goals that are, for the most part, within your complete control.

When the weight scale isn’t budging at the moment, it can often break your perfect efforts. Instead, aim for goals that involve habits that can be changed—habits that support your weight-loss efforts.

Some examples? Pack a lunch to eliminate eating out. Initiate an exercise routine. Go to bed one hour earlier to reduce stress and gain restfulness.


Goals that are carefully thought out will have a starting point and a stopping point. If you leave your goal open-ended, do you ever really need to accomplish it?

Keep in mind that it’s not possible to achieve all your changes overnight. By establishing a deadline, you’re building a timeline to success.

These SMART goals can enhance your health journey as you move forward.