How SMART Are Your Goals?

Celebrity Trainer Heidi Powell recommends SMART Goal Setting

We all have goals, right? I know I do. And there’s nothing quite like the awesome feeling that comes from reaching a goal and finally being able to say, “I did it!”

Unfortunately, some goals are harder to achieve than others, and these goals are usually the ones that are the most important to us.

“I want to lose weight” is an example of a very common—and important—goal. It’s the goal of all of our transformation clients, as well as many of our Facebook friends. It’s one of the top New Year’s Resolutions every single year.

So why is this goal—and others like it—so hard to achieve? The main reason is this type of goal is not a SMART goal. It’s too vague and open-ended. It’s a really nice wish, but the chances of making this wish into a reality are pretty slim.

In order to be considered SMART, a goal must have these five components:

• Specific
• Measurable
• Attainable
• Relevant
• Time-bound

So how does this process work? Let’s change “I want to lose weight” into a smaller, more focused SMART goal.

Specific: The questions “how,” “what,” and “when” are answered in this step. “How” will you lose weight? “What” will you do to lose weight? “When” will you do it? This is a specific goal that answers all these questions: “I will lose 6 pounds in 6 weeks. I will accomplish this by consuming 1500 calories per day and by exercising at least 5 minutes 5 days a week.” Now that’s specific! (I can hear you asking, “Heidi, only 5 minutes a day?” Yes. That’s the type of promise you make to yourself. Stay with me and it will all make sense ☺).

Measurable: To achieve a goal you have to be able to regularly measure your progress. Numbers don’t lie, and they can keep you moving in the right direction or help you refocus your efforts. To make this goal measureable, let’s add, “I will weigh myself every Monday morning and I will record my progress.”

Attainable: A successful goal must be attainable—not too difficult—or you’re setting yourself up for failure from day one. Yes, you could make a goal to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes, but let’s be honest: sometimes life gets in the way and the best plans go out the window, and then you feel like a failure. Make your goal attainable—one you can keep every single day—and you’ll be well on your way to success. You’ll love those daily feelings of accomplishment so much that you might even do more than you’ve promised yourself you’d do (like exercising more than 5 minutes a day)!

Relevant: Make sure your SMART goal is important enough that you’ll want to make the necessary changes and sacrifices to achieve it. Like Chris says, “Make sure that for you, the juice is worth the squeeze!” (He’s handsome, brilliant and witty!)

Time-bound: A SMART goal must have a time limit so you won’t get sidetracked and not accomplish your goal. A 6-week limit makes this goal time-bound.

Another important aspect of SMART Goals is how they’re stated. You don’t say “I want to,” or “I’ll try”; you say, “I will.” Something as simple as stating “I will” commits you to reaching that goal. It gets rid of the wiggle room.

Once you achieve your first SMART goal, you’ll be ready to set and reach another one, and then another one, and so on until you reach your ultimate goal.

There’s no stopping you now!


  1. Gia - March 26, 2017

    Hi! I just started your carb cycling app. I was one of the lucky ones who got it before it went back down. I just finished my first week and lost 2lbs.. are these kind of result normal? I’ve been very diligent with my diet and trying to get the closet food requirements on the shopping list,, and eating every three hrs (although, that is a bit challenging for me)and drinking plenty of water, and staying on top of my work outs. I’m happy I lost some weight, but I was hoping for a little more of a weight loss my first week. Also, there are some times I don’t finish all the meals and leave about a quarter of it on my plate. Is it necessary for me to eat everything?

    • Team Powell - March 26, 2017

      Hi Gia: Congrats on losing 2 pounds! I wouldn’t be discouraged, it can take our bodies a bit of time to adjust to a new program, so you should be good to go! And you’ll want to eat all of the food in those meals (that does sound weird for a weight loss program, right?) if at all possible. Your body needs all of those nutrients!

  2. Geri Messerschmidt - March 25, 2017

    My SMART goal is I WILL lose 10 lbs in the next 6 weeks by using the Transformation app to help guide me to reach my goal. I will accomplish this by walking 7,000 steps a day, 5 days a week. I also will follow the carb cycling way of eating. To make sure I am staying on track I will weigh myself once a week and will remind myself to take it one day at a time. I got this!! 🙂

    • Geri Messerschmidt - March 25, 2017

      By the way, the photo is a picture of my handsome son.

  3. AmandaK - March 25, 2017

    What I like about reading your blogs and that they are not only Fitness but also Life!
    So Im double doing the goals from your app blogs – Fitness – I want to work out 3 times per week. I’ve upped it to twice and I want to make it three.
    Life – we are considering starting our own business, and have to WRITE down some goals so we can get it done. Thanks for your advice, excited to see the app!

  4. Brenna - March 25, 2017

    I have been slowly working up to running the last year! It’s been hit and miss because as a mom I feel like everyone else comes before myself. My goal is to put myself (my mind AND body) FIRST at least THREE days a week. It would be great to do it every day, but not attainable right now. So this next month, three days a week, I will get my 45 minutes of exercise in no matter what. I feel so much better when I do, I’m a better mom when I do, and I see the physical changes I want. 😘❤️👍🏻 Thanks Heidi and Chris!!

  5. Frank B - March 24, 2017

    I will lose 10% of my body weight in the next 6 weeks. I will accomplish this by exercising six days a week for a minimum of 15 minutes and making mindful decisions about the foods I eat. I will weigh myself every Monday morning and record my progress. I will make my health a priority every day. Success means tighter control of my blood sugars, less medication, and better overall health.

  6. Tammy Jones - March 24, 2017

    Each day I do a self check on what my goal is for today, for how long and what exercise will I do and remind myself that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Layout my meal prep for the day.
    My price of admission:

    Am I ready for the day
    Is the day ready for me
    What’s the worse thing that can happen and how can I prevent it.

    Because I matter and everyday is a new day.

  7. Jamie Burgeson - March 24, 2017

    I love this thinking on how to achieve my goals. My goal is to start slow and exercise three times a week and not make up excuses as to why I can’t. Thank you for your tips!

  8. Mary - March 24, 2017

    30 day, 300 minutes (exercise), 3000 steps a day, lose 3″

  9. Melanie - March 24, 2017

    Just be able to walk and course… my goal 5 km to the end of summer…..

  10. Pam t - March 24, 2017

    I will start small by walking or taking the steps 5 min per day 5 times per week for the next 4 weeks beginning Monday 3/27. I will weigh myself once a week to check progress and would really love to have the transient app and rebook shoes to kick this off

  11. Suzie Sasseville - March 24, 2017

    I Will workout 5 rimes à week by following my running program, eat 1700 calories a day and eat only 1 chocolat bar à week as a treat! Loose 2 pounds à week for 10 weeks and for the end running my 10k race with Joy regardless of my time! I Will remember my smart every day and Take action to follow it! Il home that the app Will help me to be SMART!

  12. Jane Lovatt - March 16, 2017

    I love the idea of smart, I too have made goals that appear to be realistic but then I fail to consider what could get in the way. I then beat myself up for under achieving. Who does exercise for 5 minutes? Once you get moving the endorphins kick in and you feel wonderful…., or if you are feeling out of sorts you got off your butt and achieved what you set out to do, those little 5 minutes! Thanks for this Chris & Heidi, you are empowering me to take control x

  13. Claire Kitchen - March 15, 2017

    Love this idea of SMART. Makes goals less daunting or immense but achievable. Ready to get started x

  14. Brandy Gray - March 15, 2017

    I absolutely love this! I am guilty of setting goals that aren’t SMART and have failed each time. When I didn’t achieve my goal is would rebound and wallow in my on disgrace and disgust. I honestly never thought about goals like this. Even when asked by potential employers “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I knew what I wanted but have never made SMART goals to achieve them. This is so simple and so true but was never clear until now. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. I WILL make SMART goals and stick to them and for once experience joy and excitement when I reach them!

  15. Freddie - July 28, 2016

    I believe that my goals are good:
    I love working out and reaching my step goal on my fitbit tracker. I believe that it is a big goal even in the summer heat.

  16. PS - July 31, 2015

    I am re-watching this years episodes On Demand. The promise to myself really gave me an ah ha moment. Reviewing the SMART goal/promise and for years and years of goal setting, writing them out visualizing etc…pictures, time bound. Since I was 29 (I am 45 now!) I have been focused on goal setting, written, pictures, affirmations, rampages of appreciation. HERE IS THE MISSING PIECE for me- “R” for Relevant. In all five areas of my life the goals achieved easiest for me were Career/Financial. My WHY is missing!!!!! WHY do I want to so lose specific amount of weight and inches? For 16 years my WHY has been missing when it relates to my weight. Thank you both for all you do. Love your show. Already pre-ordered your book.
    Working on my why,

  17. Sarah Geter - April 14, 2015

    Thank you Heidi! You and Chris really helped me to finally see my dietary change and sport goals through. One of the things that helped me the most, was to include the treats in my plan (like your morning bun). This way I don’t feel like I broke my promise and I’m more motivated to keep on.

  18. Barbara - September 21, 2014

    Smart goals are great. But what do you think of smarti goals? With the i for inspire. That will make you go on!

  19. jody - September 21, 2014

    I have asked my best friend to join me in my goal of hiking up a steep mountain that is 2,830 stairs up a mountain & we have trained for it & the support helps alot & knowing I can reach these goals motivates me more.My girls are my major push to get in shape because they deserve a healthy mommy ..Jody Boundy

  20. Jen - September 21, 2014

    Almost 2 months ago I facebooked Chris because I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t lose weight. I still haven’t been able to get his book, but I set a running goal for myself and accomplished it. By reaching that goal, I finally started to lose weight. I weigh myself on Mondays and Thursdays and as of last week, I’d lost 15 pounds. I also started keeping a food journal again and that has been a help, too.

  21. jeanette mccay - August 16, 2014

    For me my goal is to exercise 3 times a week. In addiction to that my goal is enough water and food.

  22. Kelsey Vandemark - October 5, 2013

    I am learning all about SMART goals as I study for my CPT exam- you inspire me to be a great trainer, you and Chris are definitely my role models!!

  23. shelley Smith - August 9, 2013

    Hi Heidi,
    This has really hit home for me in a BIG way. I start out with a plan and then I sabotage myself and have a pity party for one. However, I know that I am worth making a positive change. For our new school year, I want to take the SMART plan, make it relevant to my classroom/students and then I will be living it everyday and modelling it to my students.

  24. La'Toya Chasten - August 8, 2013

    These tips are very helpful. I WILL reach my goals! Thanks Mrs. Heidi! ( =

  25. crystal froemming - August 8, 2013

    I like the 5 minutes of exercise a day vs 5 days a week goal. This will help my goal settung coming up at the beginning of September, the end of my current 6 week challenge and on to another, better set goals 6 weeks! Chad Crystal Froemming on Facebook.

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