How to Write Actionable Goals

For years, it has been said that if you want to achieve your goals you must write them in the S.M.A.R.T format. This means they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Let’s say you want to lose weight, so you write down your goals, and for a week or two you follow through with them. But, then you have a lousy day, and decide to skip the gym and order pizza instead of eating the meal you prepped. Not a big deal, right. Well, then one night turns into two, which then turns into a week.

Now you have completely reverted back to before you wrote your S.M.A.R.T. goals. What happened? What went wrong? Did you lack willpower?

Your S.M.A.R.T. goals, as great as they were, did not account for the habits/behavior change needed for you to succeed. Willpower means nothing when it comes to successful dieting.

Instead of focusing on goals, I want you to focus on behavior/habits. Consider these 5 steps to creating actionable goals. At the end of this post, download the printable to help you set actionable goals.

How to Write Actionable Goals - Balancing Bites Nutrition


Step 1. What is your why?

Choose a strong why. It needs to be important enough that when life gets busy or you want to quit, you won’t. Your why can be anything, as long as it is important to you.

Ex. Why – I want to look good.

Step 2. Outcome goal.

Choose a realistic outcome goal. What do you want to accomplish? This goal is going to be your finish line. Something you’re aiming for. Unless you have a time specific goal such as running in a race, put this goal in the back of your mind.

Ex. Outcome goal – I want to lose 10 pounds.


Step 3. Behavior goal.

Choose a behavior goal that will get you closer to your outcome goal. When deciding on this goal, I want you to consider your lifestyle. If you enjoy Sunday brunch with friends, don’t cut out all restaurant meals as your behavior goal. Yes, you can probably stick with it for a while, but you will most likely be unhappy. Pick something that you know you can accomplish.

Ex. Behavior goal – I will eat more fruits and veggies.


Step 4. Action goal.

Choose an action goal that fits with the behavior goal. This will become a habit that will lead you toward accomplishing your outcome goal.

Ex. Action goal – I will eat 1 cup of veggies with lunch and dinner and 1 serving of fruit with snacks.


Step 5. Create a routine.

Use your action goal to create a routine that fits within your lifestyle.

Ex. Routine – Eat a fruit with breakfast and afternoon snack every day. Eat a salad with lunch and a roasted veggie with dinner every day.


Once your action goal becomes a habit, then you will choose another action goal. If you’re consistent with your behavior and action goals then your outcome goal will take care of itself.

One last tip, tell your goals to at least one person you trust. This can be a friend, a significant other, or anyone. Telling someone will help you be accountable and will give you support when you want to give up.

Click on the link to download the printable Set a Goal & Crush Them . Use this printable to crush your goals.

Set a Goal & Crush Them Printable - Balancing Bites Nutrition