How to Set Goals and Stick to Them

We’ve all done it. We’ve set a goal for ourselves and failed to reach that goal. Sometimes, we don’t even try to reach the goal and just dream about someday having attained that goal. Some common goals I have seen fail are weight loss goals, running a marathon, reading a book per month, and quitting a bad habit. If you struggle with setting and/or reaching goals, then continue reading.


Goals should be SMART (credit to George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham).

Specific -- Who, what, where, when, why, how

Measurable -- This is how you know when you have reached your goal

Achievable -- Be realistic with regard to financial barriers and what is possible

Relevant -- Make a meaningful goal that will make an impact

Time-based -- You need a deadline (6 months, 1 year, etc.)


  1. Write down your goals.

A study by Dr. Gail Matthews revealed that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals by writing them down on a daily basis. You could write these on a whiteboard at work, on the fridge, or even on your calendar or journal.

  1. Tell people about them.

Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your most important goals. This can help you fine-tune your goals and now you have another layer of accountability. You may even have similar goals to some of your friends and you can help each other along the way.

  1. Have those people hold you accountable.

Ask these people to check in with you on your goals. It’s easy to lose track, especially for long-term goals. If you have started to slip off path, these check-ins will light the fire under you again.

Corey Hall, PT, DPT

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