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Living Healthy: Make Your Health Goals 'SMART'

A healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to protect yourself and the people you love against kidney disease. It’s the first line of defense against diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney disease.

Living healthy is easier if you set goals. Spring into action with some healthy new goals! Start by thinking about what you would like to achieve. Then, help ensure your success by making your goals SMART.
 
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. Follow along with the information below as you set your SMART goals:

Specific

What you want to achieve and how you’ll do it

Examples:
Not specific:  To exercise
Specific:  To get in shape by walking

Ask yourself:  What do I want to accomplish?  How will I do it?

Measurable

How you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal

Examples:
Not measurable:  To walk often
Measurable:  To walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week

Ask yourself:  How much?  How often?

Attainable

That your goal is possible

Examples:
Not attainable:  To walk 5 miles in 30 minutes
Attainable:  To walk 1 ½ miles in 30 minutes

Ask yourself:  Can I do this?

Realistic

That your goal is appropriate for you

Examples:
Not realistic:  To walk for 2 hours every day
Realistic:  To walk for 30 minutes every day

Ask yourself:  Am I willing to work towards this goal?  Do I have the skills and resources I need?

Time-Based

When you plan to reach a goal

Examples:
Not time-based:  To walk 5 times a week until I feel fit
Time-based:  To walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week for a month

Ask yourself:  When will I achieve this?

Other Examples

  • A good goal:  To eat healthier
    A SMART goal:  I will eat at least two servings of fruit every day for the next month.
  • A good goal:  To get more sleep
    A SMART goal:  I will go to bed by 10:30 pm every weeknight for the next two weeks.
  • A good goal:  To drink more water
    A SMART goal:  I will have water with lunch, instead of my usual soda, every day this week.
  • A good goal:  To work out
    A SMART goal:  I will go to the gym at least three times a week for the next month.  Each time, I will do at least 30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill.

Goal-Setting Tips:

  • Pair Up!  Encourage a friend to set healthy goals, too.  Check in with each other to help stay motivated.
  • Write it down. Write your goal down and post it someplace you look often, like your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door.
  • Reward yourself.  Treat yourself for a job well done.  A little reward for progress can go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals.

5 Reasons to Set SMART Goals

  1. They help you focus
  2. They help you stay motivated
  3. They help you manage your time
  4. They help you track your progress
  5. You are more likely to achieve them