Goal Setting

How can SMART goals help you improve your chances of success?


SMART is an acronym for –






Let’s look at how some basic and general goal statements can be improved


I want to lose weight – I want to lose 5kg

I want to get stronger – I want to add 10kg to my deadlift

I want to be fitter – I want to beat my 5k time by 2 minutes


I want to get in shape – I want to lose 10kg

I want to get fit – I want to run 5k

I want to move more – I want to complete a 20 minute circuit


I want to get in shape for my holiday in 2 weeks – I want to drop 2 dress sizes for my holiday in 3 months

I want to lose 30kg this month – I want to commit to the gym for one month for a new habit

I want to stop eating carbs, junk food and sugar – I am going to eat mindfully and follow a healthy diet for 6 weeks


I want to beat the marathon world record – I want to run a 5-minute PB marathon

I want to beat the world record for press ups – I want to do 50 press ups in a row

I want to lift a house – I want to add 15kg to my deadlift


I want to lose 5kg – I want to lose 5kg in 10 weeks

I want to run a half marathon – I want to run a half marathon in 6 months

I want to get stronger – I want to add 10kg to my squat in 12 weeks

The reason SMART goals is a useful framework is because many goals lack clarity and the less clarity they have, the less achievable they are on many levels. For example, wanting to lose weight by having the goal – lose weight – lacks any real details such as how much? what timeframe? what methods? what obstacles? what behaviours maintain the current state?

SMART goals move the things you pursue into something that becomes much more achievable as you have a clear idea of three important parts that all journeys consist of –

1 – The start point

2 – The path

3 – The destination

Sticking with the area of fat loss, how can you move from the general goal of weight loss to something that would benefit from the SMART system of goal setting?

I think it can be beneficial to realise you have the continent and maybe even the country with a general goal, but zoning down to the level of street and even building can have huge benefits.

By continent I mean you are not thinking of joining the gym because you want to improve your guitar, or become better at fishing. Extreme, but I am sure some people have had such loosely defined goals that their pursuits have probably done very little in the way of progress. Country would mean you at least have an idea of what you want as an outcome. It is not maximum strength, you are not training for a marathon and you have little interest in being able to do 1-arm press ups. The goal is to weigh less. However, I am sure that a better wording for the overall outcome is improved health at a global level and that fat loss is preferred to weight loss. Remember, you are not there to correct a client and so it is better to confirm their weight loss and deliver them fat loss. Words matter, but so do relationships and feeling understood.

By running – I want to lose weight – through the SMART carwash, let's see what comes out the other end as we add to the goal one step at a time

Specific – I want to lose 10kg

Measurable – scales

Achievable – absolutely

Realistic – definitely

Time-Bound – in 3 months

Old goal – I want to lose weight

New goal – I will lose 10kg of body fat over the next 3 months

Now for the scaffolding – what supports this goal?

Exercise, nutrition, hydration, sleep and stress management

How do you measure progress along the journey?

Energy levels, resting heart rate in terms of stress and monitoring readiness to exercise, sleep time and quality, hydration levels, balanced, regular and nutritious meals that ideally aim for a flexible calorie deficit and time spent on mindful awareness regarding the changes and habits required for success along with the resistance to change and issues that may arise along the journey.

The main benefits of the SMART system are clarity on the what, how and when. By bringing a goal to life with specifics it is more likely you will achieve it as a general goal is like trying to find a friend’s house with no postcode, they just give you an area on the map and say you will be fine.

The SMART system can be a great way to review your goals, but not every goal needs this level of focus. If you need to buy some bits for DIY, a SMART approach would be too much. Think of the SMART system as being beneficial for personal goals such as health, business, relationships and other areas where the general statement is not likely to lead to much.

Jump in, take one of your goals and SMART it out. It can be very rewarding for something that has been shelved for some time to come back to life as it moves from a dream to a reality.