Set SMART Goals for Your Wellness Program

An estimated 45 percent of all Americans set New Year’s Resolutions. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the top resolutions are:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Spend more time with family
  5. Get organized
  6. Get out of debt

Most people go about it in a casual way and, ultimately, fail. However, researchers found that those who make resolutions and develop an action plan are 10 times more likely to succeed.

You can apply the same strategy to improve your wellness program in 2018.

Set goals for your program each year to provide guidance and direction, give you a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and help you map out an action plan. Goals also give you a way to measure your progress and success. Use the SMART goal format to set goals for your wellness program.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – Clearly state what you want to accomplish.
  • Measureable – Goal should be measurable so that you can track goal accomplishment.
  • Action-oriented – Goal should include an action which moves the company in a direction closer to achieving the goal.
  • Reasonable/Relevant – Goal should be reasonable so that neither the goal is out of reach nor below standard performance. Also, goals should be aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Time-oriented – Set a target date for goal completion.


Here are some examples of SMART wellness program goals:

  • Reduce the number of hypertensive employees (>140/90) from 24 percent to less than 20 percent between January 1, 2018 and July 1, 2018.
  • Reduce work-loss days for injury or illness from 5.5 days per employee to less than 4 days per employee between January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.
  • Increase the number of participants who engage in regular aerobic physical activity (>150 minutes physical activity per participant per week) by 2% in 1st Quarter 2018.

Setting goals will help your wellness program be successful, but it can also help your participants be healthier, happier, and more productive. Use this SMART Goal Worksheet to get started.

Source: Norcross, J.C., et al. (2002). Auld lang syne: success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4):397-405. From:
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