How to Create SMART Goals

By: Yashvi Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

I learned about this activity in my psychology class, and I thought I’d share! It is super relevant and can be useful to college students like us who often find themselves juggling different responsibilities. This activity revolves around assessing and improving our life balance across different dimensions of wellness: spiritual, physical, financial, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual. We were told to envision the different dimensions of wellness on a wheel and how a wheel would run smoothy only if it’s well-balanced.

For this activity, you want to focus on one specific area (dimension of wellness) and craft a SMART goal related to that specific area. A SMART goal has 5 essential components”

S stands for specific

  • You want to start by setting a clear, concise, well-defined goal
  • Define specific actions you will take towards achieving that goal
    • What is something you can do towards that area?
      • For example, I wanted to target my financial wellbeing
      • For my specific action, I chose to spend less money on superficial (materialistic) items

M stands for measurable

  • You want the make sure the goal is measurable
  • What metric or dimension of the behavior will you collect data on?
    • For my financial example, I planned on recording the number of times I swiped my credit card on nonessential expenses like clothing or coffee

A stands for attainable

  • You want your goal to be realistic and align with your current behavior  
  • Questions to ask yourself are what is my current baseline or level of engaging in that behavior? What should your goal be based on your baseline?
    • I currently spend money on coffee four times a week. I aim to reduce it to two times a week. I shop every two weeks; I can aim to cut it down to once a month.

R stands for relevant

  • You want your goal to relate to your larger life objectives  
  • Does this behavior you’re addressing contribute to achieving your overall wellness in that specific dimension?
    • For me, spending less will improve my financial health by enabling me to save money for future investments and more significant expenses

T stands for time-bound

  • Put a time frame for completing the action
  • How long will you maintain this goal for?
  • Maybe if you are introducing a new behavior to your routine, consider starting with a shorter frame time before committing to a longer one
    •  I want to follow my spending reduction plan for a month

By following the SMART goal framework, you’ll not only gain clarity on what you want to achieve but also increase your chances of success in college. This activity will help you take deliberate steps towards enhancing different dimensions of your well-being, ultimately leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.


Li, Anita. “Measuring behavior.” 6 0ct. 2023, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Lecture.