How to set health goals you’ll actually achieve

Whenever you get on a health kick or a new diet bandwagon, what kind of goal do you set yourself? Are you guilty of saying “I just want to lose weight?”

I hate to say it, but that’s one of the worst goals you can set yourself.

Why? It’s not SMART. And by SMART, I mean Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant or Timely.

And if the goals you’re setting yourself aren’t SMART, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Goal-setting is extremely important – particularly for all of you who will be joining us for our Healthy Habits Challenge in just over a week.

My whole reason for designing this challenge is to help you learn and adopt some great habits that will change your outlook and your wellbeing well beyond this challenge. But you need to start with a goal!

What are SMART goals?

When you set a goal, it should be:

  • Specific – what exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your description, the bigger the chance you’ll get exactly that. It’s the difference between “I want to exercise more” and “I will go for a walk 5 times a week”.
  • Measureable – you should be able to identify exactly what your goal will look like. Rather than “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 3cm from my belly”. But remember, the scales don’t have all the answers!
  • Attainable – there’s no point setting a goal that you’re doomed to fail at from the start. You also need to work out whether you’re able to invest the time, money and effort into reaching your goal.
  • Relevant – do you actually want the goal you’re setting? What is the objective behind the goal, and will this goal actually achieve that? For instance, will flogging yourself at the gym make you happy? Or are you better off setting yourself the goal to walk 5 days a week, and work out once or twice.
  • Timely – put a realistic time limit on it. Luckily, if you’re doing our three-week challenge, you already have a time limit! But deadlines are a really important part of goal-setting. If you’re the kind of person that works well to a deadline, it might be worth having weekly goals that you can stick to rather than a deadline 3 months away.

Now because it’s often hard to come up with your own goals, I’ve taken the liberty of giving you a few ideas below.

If you’re taking part in the Healthy Habits Challenge, I want you to choose a goal in each of the three categories below, and commit to that goal for the next three weeks.

Feel free to adopt one of these, or to make your own. When you’ve decided, post it on our Facebook Forum Goals Post to make the commitment.


  • Walk 30-45 minutes x 5 days per week
  • Commit to moving your body for at least 30 minutes every day (whether it be walk, run, swim, a gym class, yoga, sport, playing with the kids, etc.)
  • Start a yoga class and go 2 times per week – many have an introductory offer of $30 for 30 days


  • Make time to meditate every day, either first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. (There are great apps you can download like Smiling Mind, or try these guided meditations from ABC)
  • Try a local Tai Chi class, or stream one online
  • Learn deep breathing techniques and do it daily
  • Go for a mindful walk once a week – a wander near the ocean or lake is great for the soul and is also achieving your first goal of exercise.

Time For Me

Choose to do something for yourself for a minimum of one hour per week for the three weeks. This could be anything that makes YOU happy and that you might not normally make the time for.

  • Read a book
  • Get a massage
  • Take a bath
  • Go to the movies
  • Catch up with a friend
  • Have some alone time
  • Have a date night

If you haven’t already, make sure to download your Healthy Habits Challenge Book and I’ll see you on the Forum when it all kicks off on Monday 5 September!

Yours in health,
Peter Mullen

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