Fact Checked

The SMARTY Approach to Goal-Setting and Healthy Living

Smarty goals healthy living

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, exercise more, cut back on sugar or get more sleep, how you approach your healthy lifestyle goal has more bearing on your success than you might think.

The more specific and detailed you are about the goal and how you’ll reach it makes its eventual achievement far more likely.

So “I want to lose weight” instead becomes, “I want to lose 10 pounds by September 1 by walking for 20 minutes three times a week and limiting dessert because dropping excess weight will boost my energy so I’m not so wiped out after work.

What’s the difference?

The first goal is vague and abstract. There’s a loose destination in mind but no road-map to get there and no timeline for the journey.

The second goal is a SMARTY. That’s not praise, but an acronym crafting detailed goals that increases their likelihood of success. Regardless of the goal — big or small, fitness-related or not — formulating plans according to the SMARTY framework provides a clear way forward, along with multiple intervention opportunities to further refine and illuminate the path.

What Is A SMARTY Goal?

It’s one that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound and motivated by a clear WHY (Y).

Let’s take a look at each of these elements and how they work.

smarty fitness goal
SPECIFIC – When setting a goal, it’s important to make it as clear, detailed and specific as possible. Not just lose weight, but lose 10 pounds. Not just get in shape, but get strong enough to do 10 push-ups or run a mile without stopping. Not just eat better, but eat three servings of vegetables every day.
MEASURABLE – “What gets measured gets managed.” This is a popular business adage for a reason. If there’s no tangible way to measure success, how will you know when you get there? There are myriad means of measurement. The scale is just one. You can measure your workouts in minutes, hours, or days per week. You can log hours spent sleeping or relaxing. You can measure ounces of water or cups of vegetables consumed. If you can measure it, you can manage it.
ATTAINABLE – It’s important to set goals that are realistic and achievable. So if your goal is to make the NBA, but you’re a middle-aged couch potato, that’s not really attainable. A more realistic goal for the middle-aged couch potato who loves sports might be to find a neighborhood basketball league to join.
RELEVANT – The goal has to be meaningful to the individual — something that brings them closer to a broader life goal or aligns them more closely with their values. So if better health is important, relevant goals might revolve around physical fitness, diet, and stress reduction. A highly driven, type-A person might prioritize relaxation as a health goal, where our middle-aged couch potato values greater activity as a goal.
TIME-BOUND – Napoleon Hill famously said that goals are dreams with deadlines. To move from the dream realm to reality, a goal needs a finish line, which is why it’s critical to include a time element in your goal plan. Setting a timeline adds urgency to the effort and gives meaning to the measurement. If the goal is to lose 10 pounds in three months, that’s about 3.3 pounds a month or a little less than a pound a week — intervals for monitoring progress and success.
WHY – The Y behind your goal is so critical, it really should come first, but that would mess up the acronym. Why is this goal important to you personally? How does it relate to your deepest values and self-image? What would be different about you and your life if you were to reach this goal? What are the consequences of not taking action?
fitness and exercise

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do SMARTY goals look like in real life? Let’s take a look at some FAQs…

How Can I Make Exercise A Habit?

Get SMARTY about it! First, think about why establishing an exercise habit is important to you. For instance, do you need more energy and stamina to keep up with your kids? More productive hours during the day to handle work and school?

Then, imagine what an ideal exercise habit might look like for you.

Would you run every morning before work? Hit the gym a few nights a week on the way home? Walk on your lunch break? Play tennis or go hiking on weekends?

Once you’ve developed an idea of what a good exercise routine for you might look like, work backward to set SMARTY goals around this new behavior. Identify a specific activity you intend to do and how often you want to do it, then check in with yourself to monitor your progress.

What Are Some Common Exercise And Fitness Myths?

The greatest myth is that some people are “cut out for exercise” and others aren’t. Hogwash! Everybody can exercise, and everyone should! Besides the physical payoff of greater strength and flexibility, exercise provides bountiful benefits to the brain and body-regulating systems, including boosting immunity and improving digestion. Using the SMARTY parameters around an exercise or other healthy-living goal makes success more likely.

What Should My Workout Goals Be?

Every individual is different, and workout goals will vary depending on desired results, physical condition, and phase of life. A new mom has different fitness needs than a competitive athlete, for example. But regardless of the starting point, a good rule of thumb for goal-setting is to aim just outside your comfort zone.

So the new mom may want to simply reintroduce regular movement, maybe walking the baby in a stroller a few times a week, while the athlete may want to shoot for a performance-related goal, like setting a new personal record in speed or endurance. The SMARTY framework can be applied to any goal to make success more likely.

How Can I Stop Snacking?

Awareness of current behaviors and tendencies is the first step. When are you most prone to snacking? What kinds of circumstances make snacking more likely or less? Once you have a sense for the settings and scenarios that lead you to snack, you can establish a SMARTY goal that encourages a healthy diet plan, reducing reactivity to triggers and allowing for a more thoughtful response.

What’s The Best Workout For A Healthy Lifestyle?

In short, the best workout is one you will actually do. Consistency is key when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. What counts is what you do regularly, not what you do once in a while. So strive to find exercise you enjoy. For some, it may be gardening or walking in the neighborhood while listening to a podcast.

For others, high-intensity exercise like running or CrossFit might be the go-to, because it doesn’t feel like a workout without breaking a sweat. You can swim, bike, climb mountains or do tai-chi. You can even dance in your pajamas in your living room. The exercise you do consistently is the best for you.

Conclusion: Get SMARTY About Your Goals

SMARTY goals don’t just work for fitness. Any personal or professional goal can fit within the SMARTY framework. Its six components offer six opportunities for further refining your approach.

Can you make it more specific? Maybe alter your measurement metrics? Is the goal really meaningful and relevant? Does it need to be amended to be more attainable?

Regardless of what you hope to achieve, supporting your success with a SMARTY approach makes the journey more fruitful and fun.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
Twitter instagram instagram

Sandy Cohen

Writer and coach specializing in health, wellness and positive energy

HIGHLIGHTS: Sandy is an award-winning journalist, whose writing has appeared in newspapers around the globe, ...

View More

0 Reviews for The SMARTY Approach to Goal-Setting and Healthy Living

The SMARTY Approach to Goal-Setting and Healthy Living
The SMARTY Approach to Goal-Setting and Healthy Living User Review Rating
3 / 5.0
The SMARTY Approach to Goal-Setting and Healthy Living
Write a Review Please review the Guidelines before posting

Hints on how to write a helpful review

A great review should have the following qualities:

  • A helpful review should connect and engage with the readers using personal experience.
  • An excellent review provides the readers with cogent and unbiased information necessary to help them make the best choice.
  • A review must be well-formatted to make reading easier by using multiple paragraphs and avoiding caps.
  • The primary goal of your review must remain to provide accurate and non-salesy information.
  • Above all, let your review be fair and honest.

We have high level of professional editorial section with zero tolerance policy on fake reviews.

To maintain the genuineness of our brand, we ensure all customer reviews submitted to us are verified and confirmed before publishing. Though we might not be a 100% accurate, however, we try our best to ensure being next to best. For a thorough verification of submitted reviews, we spend close to 7 working days before allowing any customer review to be published since we also work on the earliest submissions first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100 characters remaining.

Your Rating:05

Submitting this review means that you agree to our Review Guidelines, confirming that you are a verified customer who has purchased the product and may have used the merchandise or experienced the service, and providing only a real interaction and experience without ulterior motives or has an affiliate or business with the company in any way. By ticking this box and submitting this review, you also accept that submitting fake reviews is a violation of Health Web Magazine Terms of Use and such conduct will not be tolerated.

5000 characters remaining.

Thanks for submitting your comment!


Get the latest in healthy living, nutrition & fitness, mental wellbeing, beauty & skincare, and more, straight to your inbox!



Your Privacy is important to us

Medical Disclaimer: The content published on our website, Health Web Magazine, is to inform and educate the reader only and not a substitute for professional medical advice from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have a specific health question or concern you must consult with a qualified medical professional and in the case of an emergency, immediately contact your local emergency services. Health Web Magazine and the publisher of this content take NO responsibility for any detrimental health issues or injuries that result from following advice found in articles, reports/overviews, or other content on our website. All visitors to Health Web Magazine, particularly pregnant and nursing women and individuals taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication, must consult with their physician before starting a new supplement or making any changes to their diet or exercise plan.

All trademarks, registered trademarks and service-marks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners. © 2022. All Rights Reserved. All opinions expressed on this website are the opinion of and were written by owners/operators of this website. Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these websites published terms of use and all site policies.


All Health Web Magazine content is thoroughly reviewed and/or fact-checked by a team of health industry experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, established health journals, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

At no time do we advise any of our readers to use any of our content as a substitute for a one-on-one consultation with a doctor or healthcare professional.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date or any otherwise questionable content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.