Smart goal setting for clean eating and other healthy habits (+ worksheet)


This week will focus on the smart goal setting theory. A heartfelt welcome to your first week of the 52-week clean eating habits challenge!

setting smart goals for clean and healthy eating habits
It is that time of the year again: to look back into the past, and more importantly, to think about your focus for the coming year. Most of us have many New Year’s resolutions but often struggle with setting and achieving these goals and objectives.

Your first challenge is easy

This first challenge is rather easy. Simply read this article and write down a smart goal for yourself. This little, yet elusive step is vital to achieving your specific goal of becoming healthier in the following months. I will map out an easy path for you that makes regular goal setting more structured and less overwhelming. Accomplishing your goals will be as simple as following the roadmap.

Smart Goals Setting

Inspirational quotes will help you stay focused

I’ve also created motivational cards with quotes about goals for you! Print them out and keep them on your desk, or simply place them in a visible spot on a mirror or fridge.
These messages will help you nourish your mind and keep you focused for the following weekly clean eating habit challenges.

Why is it so important?

Goals are absolutely essential to measuring progress and your success. They give you focus, direction, and motivation. Ideas remain just dreams until you make doable goals to achieve them.
The most realistic idea, however, is not worth anything without a well-designed system. Your commitment to the process is crucial for achieving your objective.

How to set priorities with the 80/20 approach

You know that it is impossible to change all aspects of your life at the same time. Therefore, it is important to pick the one thing that will make the biggest impact or difference.

I operate under the assumption that the biggest idea you are currently most passionate about is improving your “health” through either clean eating or a sustainable weight loss or both.

Hey, that is why you are here?!

So the good news is that you have set your priority for the New Year already…


Prioritizing “Health” is the best choice you could have made!


Very often there is a common link between “health” and other categories in your life. Just feeling better and having more energy will very likely contribute in a positive way to other areas in your life like your family or career.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-16 um 17.54.59
Despite prioritizing health or weight loss you still have not formulated an objective yet.

So what is a goal?

Goal definition

A goal is an observable end result that can be measured. It has at least one or more objectives that have to be reached within a fixed time frame.

S.M.A.R.T. – the acronym smart for goal setting

Although there exist several different strategies, I am a big fan of the S.M.A.R.T criteria, a concept developed by George T. Doran (1). The wonderful thing about this concept is that it gives you the most clarity and you can easily break it into smaller tasks.

S.M.A.R.T goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound with a target date. The grammar often used to set goals or New Year’s resolutions is the future perfect.
In order to shorten a long process, I have done most of the work for you for a “LeanJumpStart.”

Check the following time based smart goals examples:

Weight Loss Example

By the end of June 2019, I will have reached my optimal weight (by losing 20 pounds) by following and implementing the first 26 weeks of the 52-week clean eating habit challenge.

Clean Eating Example

By the end of December 2019, I will have established clean eating as a lifelong habit by following the 52-week clean eating habit challenge. The challenge helps me to plan my meals ahead of time, to maximize whole food nutrition while minimizing junk food.

How to set smart goals in easy 3 steps and stay motivated

Now it is time to write down your SMART goal. Feel inspired by one of the two examples above:

setting smart goals

  1. Print out your smart goal setting worksheet
    =>Download your worksheet here (including my example!)
  2. Fill it out. You may come up with your own wording or use a formulated smart goal that fits for you above as a guideline. Simply adapt some factors like time, pounds or duration to your individual situation. It might help you to read the positive affirmations I’ve written in the circles aloud if you can.
  3. Place this sheet in a visible spot on your fridge, mirror or desk. A good idea is to put it close to your motivational cards. That is it!

“One bite at a time”

I mentioned it already… It takes time to reach your objective. It is more important to realize that sustainable change is a product of daily habits, not an overnight success.
It is more effective and practical to focus on your daily habits and routines – and that is what you are doing with the 52-week clean eating habit challenge…

Because… Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.

How is the challenge going for you?

How is this week’s challenge going? Do you have any questions? Make a commitment!

Hold yourself accountable and share your formulated SMART statement with us in the comments below!

running couple

Are you an expert?

Click here if you want to get more tips and dig deeper into the fascinating SMART theory!


41 thoughts on “Smart goal setting for clean eating and other healthy habits (+ worksheet)”

  1. I keep a daily log of my caloric intake already but have not really set any clear goals or changed my eating habits. This system seems like the perfect catalyst for helping me to achieve clean eating habits for a healthier lifestyle. I look forward to working with this S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting challenge and achieving the goals I set out for the coming year.

    • Dear Kathy,
      I’m glad that you like this S.M.A.R.T. goal setting system and that you decided to work with it. It is an important first step in the 52 weeks clean eating challenge that is often overlooked or skipped but works wonders for accountability. Wishing you all the best, Gabi:)

  2. Thank you for this 52 week challenge. I have been struggling to stick to what I start I think its because it gets overwhelming for me or because I get bored with the food that I can eat. I have a sugar addiction and it’s really hard for me to say no when people offer me something sweet. I have never set goals – so I will try to set a goal and my goal will be to stick with this challenge and to only eat 1 sweet thing a day. Believe me that is a big thing for me and also to work out 3 days a week if it’s walking that I do I will walk at least 45 minutes. This a good start for me and again thank you for this chance to change my lifestyle.

  3. I decided to convince my husband to join me for this challenge and plan to regain the bodies we had 5 years ago. It won’t be easy so I set up a step by step routine that will help us stay on track:
    – no more fast food
    – I will cook most of our meals
    – most of our sweet treats will be home made using organic ingredients and healthy recipes
    – we already joined a local gym
    – my husband bought dumbbells which we plan to use for home workouts

  4. One bite at a time, one step at a time, this is the new approach for 2015. Completely changing my diet and upping my workouts by a lot won’t cut it because it will be a huge change and most likely my mind will abandon.

    So, I want to lose 10 pounds by cutting down on bakery products (that I eat every single day) and to start doing Pilates again just to regain my mobility and to reduce my back pains. Small steps and big results, hopefully!

    • Cutting down bakery products is a wise step when your goal is to lose 10 pounds, Patricia. For an easier approach you want maybe start with replacing your unhealthiest bakery product with a healthier one and tackle the other “treats” one bite at a time. All the best.

  5. Thanks for the motivational cards, the Brian Tracy one has to be my absolute favorite quote ever and it’s 100% true.

    I plan to use the 52-week clean eating habits challenge to infuse my discipline into my diet – which is pretty much on track, but when I indulge I tend to go overboard. My body is already used to working out 3 times a week and I plan on going for 4 times a week twice a month. So, two extra workouts each monthly without feeling like it’s too much. Thanks Gabi for the never-ending support!

    • You are welcome Alessandra:) I’m happy that you liked my motivational cards.
      Congratulations to your ambitious fitness goals. I’m wishing you huge success!

  6. I aim to give up gluten. Possibly permanenently, and all her evil minions lol. Like starches. We don’t need too much of them. If any. We can probably get by with oats and quinoa black rice etc,
    Not sure I can be that good. But today i made the cabbage soup. I added red rice.

    No gluten today yay, or yesterday. For dinner instead of soup I had a small tub of cottage cheese, to which I added pepper and red onion. Don’t feel sorry for me, I love cottage cheese! And all her sisters lol.
    I’m not very hungry, but my husbands gonna fry me some eggs for protein. Gotta burn fat, not muscle.
    Bless everyone who struggles with weight.

  7. My goal for the end of 2014 is to make clean eating and exercise a consistent part of my life. I look forward to losing 50lbs or more and to finally feel comfortable in my own skin and not envy anyone else but my own 🙂

  8. By May 2014, I will have lost 8lbs/month by following clean eating guide and exercising 3x/week (on my days off)
    By Dec 2014 I will have lost an additional 50lbs making my total weight loss goal of 100#

  9. Happy valentines day every. This plan sounds ideal for me, thank you. My goal is to lose a couple of stones by the end of August and to be my ideal weight by the end of the plan.

  10. Hello everyone, I just joined the challenge and am very excited to be here – thank you Gabi!!
    My goals for 2014 …… by the end of June I will be well on my way of feeling energized & healthy by incorporating new exercise routines & eating habits and shedding a few unwanted pounds along the way …. by the end of the 52 week challenge I will have established lifelong clean eating habits to help me reach & maintain my weight loss goal & continue with an exercise routine.

  11. By the end of June 2014, I will have a calm mind, healthy body weight (losing 10-15 lbs) and a humble and peaceful spirit. I will implement this 52 week clean eating challenge will mature me and help me set obtainable goals and achieve them.

  12. Hey everyone I just started today and I’m so excited
    My goals are by the end of July 2014 I will have lost 40 lbs of fat by eating clean and following the 52 week Clean Eating Program
    My goal by the end of the 52 weeks is to have learned how to properly follow a clean eating lifestyle and lose 85 lbs and never go back to being unhealthy again!!!

  13. Dear Sadaf,
    Welcome in our 52 clean eating habits challenge! Thank you for posting you goal here. I hope you’ve subscribed to the newsletter too.
    That way you’ll never miss a motivational challenge week!

  14. Im tired of yo yo dieting. My goal in 2014 is to do excercise regularly to attain my weight loss and live healthy for my self just to keep away from junk and sugars, motivation needed……

  15. I will use clean eating and exercise to lose an average of 5 lbs/month to lose 15 lbs (my first goal weight) by April 15th and continue to learn about and live a healthy life style through the 52 weeks clean eating program!

  16. I started my own Clean Eating Lifestyle in October and already have lost 15lbs. My goal for 2014 is to continue using what I have already learned myself while also incorporating the 52 week challenge and cutting out Deserts and Sodas which are my biggest obstacles.

    • Well done Brittni! 15 lbs in 3 months – what a great start! Together with the 52 week healthy eating habits challenge we will overcome your biggest obstacle together.

  17. By the end of June 2014 I will be flown 20 lbs. and will have reached my goal weight. I will do this by eating more clean foods and following the 52 week CleanEating Habit Challenge, and continuing with my exercise routine.

  18. Incorporating exercises in your goal statement is a wise decision, Cheryl! In my 52 week challenge I will show you some easy ways how to “automate” exercises into your weekly schedule.

  19. I will incorporate more exercise into my weekly schedule and eat healthier to become a healthier person and to reach my weight loss goal.

  20. My Goal for 2014 is to learn to eat clean and exercise regularly. And to just feel better in general. Of course I would love to lose weight also but truly I want to set forth a healthy example for my children to follow.

    • Your big idea of being a healthy role model for your kids is a powerful motivator for achieving your goal of eating clean and exercise regularly. Congratulations, Kathrine 🙂 Losing weight again will just be a welcome side effect…

  21. By the end of December 2014, I will have established clean eating as a lifestyle habit by following the 52 Week Challenge. The challenge will have helped me to choose foods that are key to feeling healthy and energized and avoid food that make me feel sluggish and unhealthy.

    • Wow, Shannon – another perfect formulated S.M.A.R.T goal including the correct use of the “future perfect”. Love it how you describe what healthy or unhealthy food is make you feel.

  22. My goal for 2014 is to learn/apply more clean eating habits and exercise into my life. Following the 52wk challenge is going to help me get there. I hope to go down a pant size or two. Becoming more leaner. The goal weight I will achieve is 118lbs. That’s about 15 lbs.

    • April, losing 15 lbs and going down a pant size or two will be a nice side effect when applying more clean eating habits in 2014. So you’ve formulated a realistic goal I’m sure you can achieve:)

  23. I will reach my 2014 weight and health goals by consuming enough water on a daily basis, learning to eat as clean as possible and working out on a consistant basis.

  24. By the end of December 2014, I will have established clean eating and exercise as a daily habit by following the 52 week clean eating challenge and the program laid out for me by my trainer in order to improve my overall health.

      • Thank you! As a teacher, I have to write them every year as I formulate my professional goals. I find because they are measurable, they help me to keep my end point in mind. I was pleased that you had us start with them:)

  25. I will use clean eating & exercise to lose an average of 4-5 lbs/month to be at my goal weight by the end of 2014.

    • It’s great to have you on board of the 52-week clean eating habits challenge, Brenda. And yes, smart exercisea will of course play a role in the challenge too!

  26. Its going great! I will research meals and clean eating ways! I’m already eating better, I will continue to learn new things!

    • Wonderful Melissa! Part of the 52-week clean eating habits challenge will focus on quick and healthy meals in the context of clean eating.
      Great ideas and inspirations from readers like you are always welcome:)

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