Get SMART: Set Meaningful Goals

As we emerge into the summer sunshine, it’s time to re- evaluate our resolutions. Not so far along on new goals as you wanted? Don’t worry. Just be SMART with goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed for a stress-free way to get back on track.

Specific Without a destination, it’s hard to know which road to take. The difference between a dream and a goal is an action plan; set a specific goal to prevent floundering later on.

Wrong: I want to work on having less stress.

Right: I will make a list of what is stressing me out and ask a close friend if I can share it with him periodically.

Measurable How will you know when the goal is accomplished? Set a ‘mile marker’ to keep tabs on the destination. Like the first step, make it specific.

Wrong: I’ll know I’ve reached my goal when I’m not as stressed.

Right: I’ll know I’ve reached my goal when I have less than four items on my ‘stressed’ list.

Attainable The gas tank can only go so far across the desert. While it’s admirable to set lofty goals, too often it can mean falling short. Stretch that comfort zone – just stretch within reach.

Wrong: I want to eliminate all stress in my life.

Right: I want to whittle down my stress so that it’s challenging but manageable.

Relevant Is tourist trap going to serve the trip? Don’t get lost; periodically apply goals to the real-life situation and take a road map for every step of the way.

Wrong: I want to have less stress because stress is bad.

Right: I want to stress less so that I can get more done without feeling flustered and spend more time with my family.

Timed Don’t wander around in the desert until an oasis appears someday. Remember, ‘someday’ is not a day of the week. Create an itinerary with deadlines to keep motivation fresh and fueled.

Wrong: I’ll work on being less stressed later, when I have some time.

Right: I’ll start on July 1 by making ‘stressed’ lists and check in with my progress every Friday. I will reach my goal by September 1.

Put It Together Now hang up that finished SMART goal and remember to keep traveling toward the destination.

Start Date: July 1

Motivation: Spend more time with my family and be more productive.

Action Steps: Write a ‘stressed’ list once per week. Tackle one item on the list per week.

Goal: Have less than four items on my ‘stressed’ list for three weeks in a row.

Deadline: September 1

What goals are you striving toward? Let us know how we can help! Tweet us @ACISpecBenefits . Your employee assistance program has a step-by-step action plan to reaching your goals this summer. Contact ACI at 800.932.0034 or email

About ACI Specialty Benefits

ACI Specialty Benefits ranks in the nation’s Top-Ten providers of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), corporate wellness programs, student assistance, corporate concierge, and work/life services to corporations worldwide. ACI partners with clients to Perk Up employee engagement and performance with benefit programs that improve morale, productivity and the bottom-line. With a 95% customer retention rate and over 7 million lives covered. ACI remains a privately-owned specialty benefits corporation, headquartered in San Diego. For more information, visit or call 800.932.0034.
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