Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

Change is happening around us all the time. Our bodies are constantly changing as we age, and so is the environment and community we live in. Change is a big part of our lives and instead of being afraid of it, we should embrace it. Some ways to alleviate the daunting thought of change is to encourage realistic change. It is important to set small, achievable goals and progress slowly to allow the body and mind to adjust to new behaviours. This can be applied to many areas of life such as exercise, education, and even breathing techniques.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

S.M.A.R.T goal setting is a great way to ensure change is realistic. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that outlines a strategy for reaching any objective.

Specific. Well-defined clear actions.

Measurable. Objective and quantifiable so you know when your goal(s) have been achieved.

Actionable. Based on things you will do (i.e., not an outcome).

Relevant. They must be important and meaningful to you.

Timed. Without a set deadline, there is no sense of urgency.

Examples of S.M.A.R.T Goals

Specific. “I will be more active each week, in the evening”.

Measurable. “I will aim for 3 times a week for 4 weeks in a row”.

Actionable. “I will complete all my prescribed exercises and walk on my day off”.

Relevant. “It is important to me to be more active on a consistent basis”.

Timed. “I will begin on Monday and track my progress”.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Setting a Physical Activity Goal

  • What is your long-term physical activity goal?
  • What do you need to focus on to achieve this goal?
  • What are you willing to do to make this happen?
  • When will others know about the change you are making?
  • What might sabotage your plans?
  • What is your promise to yourself?

Barriers to Physical Activity

It is a good idea to be aware of barriers to physical activity and recognize them when they may occur. Life happens and certain situations may prevent you from completing your goal of physical activity.

Examples of possible situations include:

  • Previous negative experiences with physical activity
  • Lack of time
  • Other areas in your life take priority in your day
  • Costs
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fear of making an existing condition worse

Overcoming Barriers

There is a strategy to overcome these barriers. First you want to identify the barrier. Next explore the many alternatives to overcoming these barriers.

Possible alternatives include:

  • Choose activities you enjoy
  • Invite friends and family to make physical activity a social event
  • Squeeze in exercise throughout the day. If you don’t have time for a full workout, don’t sweat it
  • You don’t need fancy workout equipment or a gym to be physically active. Enjoy home workouts or go for a walk outside
  • Vary the routine
  • Talk to your doctor or health care provider to see if exercise is right for you
  • Don’t be hard on yourself, life happens!

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Try it out!

Now it’s your turn to try it out yourself. Write down a couple goals and the actions you have to take to complete those goals. Remember, try to make the goal specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timed. You can also write down some success indicators so you know you are staying on track with your goals. 

Goals & Actions 

Goal #1:


Goal #2:


Success Indicators


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Pulmonary rehabilitation helps ease respiratory symptoms, improve physical and psychological well-being, and increase disease management. Please discuss your decision to begin online pulmonary rehabilitation with a doctor or health care provider.

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