SMART Goals: A is for Action-Based


SMART goals promote success. The criteria for a SMART goal is one that is:

  • S Specific
  • M Measurable
  • A Action-Based
  • R Realistic
  • T Time-bound

So far we looked closer at the S in SMART, Specific. Chris and Sarah are our clients. Chris wants to lose weight to improve his health and mobility. Sarah wants to improve her time management to reduce stress. After applying the criteria of Specific, we discovered these goals:

  • Chris: Limit his caloric intake to a specific amount per day.
  • Sarah: Choose to say no to a given number of tasks per day.

After applying the criteria of Measurable, our goals changed to:

  • Chris’ goal may be any one or all of :
    • Decrease in blood pressure level.
    • Decrease in LDL cholesterol level.
    • Increase in number of minutes he can walk without tiring.
  • Sarah’s goal becomes to self-report either or both of:
    • No days per week when her stress level is higher than 5.
    • Four days a week when her stress level is 3 or lower.

The third criteria of a SMART goal is that it be Action-Based. We are now going to DO something.

If we combine both parts of the goals we have already developed, we find we can easily show action in our goal:

  • Chris: Limit his calories to a specific amount per day to decrease his blood pressure and/or LDL cholesterol level.
  • Sarah: Choose to say no to a give number of tasks per day in order to experience no days per week when her stress level is higher than 5 and/or 4 days per week when her stress level is three or lower.

While these goals are action-based, we need to consider how ready and confident we are to change. Often, we are far too willing to commit to something because we want results fast. (Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!) What action we choose depends on what we need, not on how fast we can race to the goal. Goals that are action-based, and help us to increase our confidence and readiness may include:

  • Gathering more information about the benefits of the change we are about to undertake to increase our commitment to the change.
  • Making a list of how the change ties into our values for our life.
  • Gathering support from friends, coworkers or family to support us with the change we want to make.
  • Identifying ways to change our environment to support our efforts to change. Putting a picture or object that symbolizes our goal somewhere to inspire us or removing triggers from our environment that might sabotage us (removing the full candy dish from our desk or finding a different route to drive home from work to avoid our favorite fast-food place) are two examples.
  • Journaling about how your current behavior affects you or how not changing will further impact your life in the future.

When considering what is action-based for you, remember to consider where you are in the change process. If you are still wavering in your commitment or your confidence to make the changes you desire, consider a goal that will help your increase these things. Being ready and confident to change are necessary mindsets to reach and keep your goals.

Next time, we’ll look closer at further refining our goals to meet the fourth criteria, Realistic.

Until then…



Take GOOD care of yourself.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>