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Bulls eye

Overhauling habits that have been with us for a lifetime can be daunting. Goal setting can help us stay motivated and focused.

Follow these four steps for making goals that stick.

1. Make it S.M.A.R.T

Specific: Have a well-defined goal in mind. For example, “Halve sugary drink consumption” is more specific than “eat better”.

Measurable: Make it measurable so you will know when you have achieved it. For example, “Eat takeaway only once per week” is measurable, but “eat less takeaway foods” isn’t.

Achievable: Be realistic about what you can do. It’s better to set small goals and build on these over time rather than setting a goal that is too far out of your reach.

Relevant: Will this goal make you healthier and happier? Does it fit in with your lifestyle and the things that are important to you?

Timely: Put a date on your goal. For example, “At the start of July begin a running program. Be able to run 3km without stopping by the end of August”.

2. Think about the pros and cons

List the good and bad things about not making a change versus the benefits of working on your goal. This is the time to decide if this is the right goal for you!

Example: Going for a 30 minute walk every morning

Don't start a new walking routine
  • Get to sleep-in in the morning

  • Don’t have to make any effort

  • Won’t get fitter

  • Continue to gain weight

Start walking for 30 min each morning
  • Have more energy for my kids

  • Could lose weight

  • It’s cold in the morning

  • Might get less sleep

3. Set yourself up for success

What do you need to do to achieve your goal?

Make a list of what you need to do and check it off as you achieve each step. For example, if your goal is to eat vegies and dip for your 3pm snack instead of chips, make sure you buy salad vegetables at the start of the week, chop up some vegies the night before and remind yourself to bring a vegie snack to work with you each morning.

Check your calendar

What else is coming up in your life? It may be better not to start a new goal if you can spot short-term risks to success, like a holiday or significant birthday in the next week or two.

Think about barriers

Consider what barriers may stop you from reaching your goal and develop a concrete plan for overcoming these. For example, if you find it hard to resist snacking on biscuits and chocolate when they’re in the cupboard, don’t buy them in the weekly shop.

Share your goal with others

Tell a friend about your goal or see if they want to join you. This can make the process more fun and it keeps you accountable to someone, which will help you stay on track for the long term.

4. Celebrate

Reward yourself when you achieve your goals. Whether it’s a new outfit, a massage or a trip to the beach, find a non-food reward that fits your goals and budget. This will help motivate you to keep up your good work. Before you know it, it will be a habit and be easier to maintain.

If you don’t achieve your goals, don’t beat yourself up. It is rare for people to succeed completely the first time. In hindsight, your goal may not have been achievable. Think about what you can do differently next time and learn from your experience. Most importantly, keep trying!

You can either type your answers and print this out (your text will not be saved) or print this out and then write your answers.

My Goal (make sure it's S.M.A.R.T!)

Why I want to achieve this goal

Double checking my goal

Staying the same

Making a change


The steps I need to take to achieve my goal

Possible barriers and how I can overcome them

I will share this goal with

Reward for achieving my goal