Do you often find yourself initially motivated to begin a health or wellness program, but then quickly lose the drive to commit? 

This can also be made more challenging when having to manage all of the other life’s responsibilities. With that said, committing and adhering to a health or wellness program comes with setting goals to optimize your time and resources, direct your focus, and attain what you want. 

Establishing SMART goals is a great tool that I use when collaborating with my patients on a plan of care, and it is an effective tool to use for anyone.

Think of the last goal you set for yourself. What was it? Did you accomplish it? Why or why not?

Accomplish goals by making them SMART! 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

1. Specific

A great way to start becoming specific with your goals is to address the 5 “W” questions:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

In doing so, you can gain clarity and ask yourself if you are putting yourself in the environment that will foster your goals.

2. Measurable

Having a way to track your progress can be a great way to keep yourself motivated. Develop both short-term and long-term goals to keep you accountable and give you encouragement on small successes throughout your journey.

You will definitely feel more encouraged when you start using a heavier weight for an exercise you’ve been doing for a month or when you’re doing more reps than last time! But, you won’t know that unless you document.  

3. Achievable

Be mindful of your limitations so that you are setting goals that are realistic to accomplish. Take into account your barriers (finances, resources, time, etc…) so that you can proactively work around them.

It’s probably not feasible to work out for three hours a day, five times a week. But maybe you can do 30 minutes every day!

4. Relevant

Ask yourself why these goals are meaningful to you, and if they reflect what you want. It is also a good idea to periodically revisit your goals to ensure that they are still aligning with what matters to you.

Do you want to reduce your chance of falling because you live alone? Do you want to keep up with your kids or hike up Pike’s Peak?

5. Time-Bound

Having meaningful goals is essential, but you want to make sure that it possesses a qualitative component to it. Placing a set date of completion will ensure that you stay on track with meeting deadlines. 

Some other tips for success:

  • Write down your goals and put them in a visible place to remind yourself.
  • Tell someone, or better yet, find a goal to do with your friends or family. That way you can keep each other accountable, and it will be much more fun!
  • Remember to review or revise your goals as necessary! Set a calendar reminder to check in with your goals and view your progress.


Here’s an example of a SMART goal. Let’s see if you can identify each component:

“In 1 month, I will be able to jog 2 miles under 20 minutes to prepare myself for my upcoming 5K race .” 

I encourage you to try setting SMART goals for yourself as you begin your health and wellness endeavors!

Justin Yeung, PT, DPT is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy at Mettler Center. 

Call 217-398-9800 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a physical therapist.

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