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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

The How-To of Holistic SMART Goals: Physical Goals

In our last blog post of 2023, we talked about holistic SMART goals. As a reminder, we talked about how SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. We discussed how the SMART goal format sets us up for success rather than confusion. Then, we saw 24 examples of SMART goals that aligned with the Wellness Wheel (review our blog series on the Wellness Wheel here).

Over the next few months, we’ll be discussing the “how-tos” of holistic SMART goals, showing you how to (1) identify your values in a given area, (2) examples of SMART goals in that same area, and (3) how to put your plan in action. Last time, we talked about emotional goals. Today’s topic is physical goals. 

When we talk about physical goals, many people may immediately think we’re referencing exercise, weight loss, or muscle gain. However, physical goals cover a large spectrum of wants and needs related to our bodies, nutrition, movement, and rest! When we say physical, we’re referencing our relationship with food, with our bodies, with the way we move, and with the way we find rest.

We also acknowledge many folx may have a complicated relationship with one, many, or all of those elements. In fact, a global survey conducted by the Dove Self-Esteem Project found that around 80% of women and 79% of girls feel uncomfortable with their bodies at some point in their lives. Acknowledging that our relationship with ourselves, food, rest, and movement may need some working-on is a great place to start with goal setting.

Want to set some holistic SMART goals for physical wellness? The counselors at Rise and Thrive Counseling are here to help with three easy steps below!

Step #1: Identify Your Values

Physical wellness means maintaining a balance between nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods, engaging in regular movement to strengthen and energize, and ensuring adequate rest to rejuvenate and optimize overall health and vitality. 

To determine your values in this area, consider these reflection prompts:

  1. Reflect on your relationship with your body. When you sit with yourself, how does it feel? What memories or core beliefs show up for you?

  2. Consider the quality of your diet. Are you happy with the variety and range of food you’re eating? Do you feel satisfied and full, or are you hungry throughout the day? On the flip side, are you uncomfortably full throughout the day?

  3. Explore your thoughts about rest. Are you someone that wants to be productive all the time, or are you someone who values regular, high quality rest?

  4. Evaluate your relationship with movement. Is movement a way to feel good, or are you using it to punish or constrain your body? Does movement feel like a joyful activity, or something else?

  5. Examine the societal values taught to you about your body, movement, rest, and nutrition. Which of these values align with you? How can you be celebratory of your relationship with these things?

Hopefully, these reflection questions help determine (1) if this should even be a goal for you, and (2) the beginnings of a goal of what physical wellness could look like.

Step #2: Set a SMART Goal

Use the answers to step one to determine what your goal should look like. Here are some examples to help inspire you:

  1. For the next three months, I will try one new form of joyful movement per week to see what feels the most affirming and fulfilling for me.

  2. Once a week, I will cook a new meal in order to try foods I’ve never tried before.

  3. For the next six months, I will block off one day a week as a dedicated day for rest.

  4. By the end of March, I will meet with a mental health therapist to address my relationship with my body.

  5. Once a week for the next three months, I will journal about my thoughts about my body, food, movement, and rest to uncover what societal values no longer align with mine.

Step #3: Your Plan in Action

After you form a SMART goal based on your values and intentions, it's time to put that goal into action. Based on the examples above, here are some ways to move towards your goal:

Goal 1: working towards this goal may look like using YouTube to find free movement videos, thinking of movement you particularly enjoyed in the past to try again, asking a friend to join you in movement such as a dance class or tennis, and/or finding an in-person studio if that feels more affirming for you.

Goal 2: working towards this goal may look like making a Pinterest board of recipes that interest you, buying or borrowing a cookbook, watching YouTube videos on how to prepare new meals, and/or researching where to buy the new ingredients you’re looking for.

Goal 3: working towards this goal may look like picking a good time to take a rest day (for example, if you’re off work every Saturday), blocking this time on your calendar, and/or setting clear boundaries with yourself to maintain restful for your day off.

Goal 4: working towards this goal may look like finding a therapist on a directory, reading multiple therapists’ profiles to find the best fit, having a free consultation call to ask about the clinician’s experience with body image, and/or scheduling your first appointment with a new therapist.

Goal 5: working towards this goal may look like purchasing or otherwise obtaining a journal, finding a dedicated time each week to write in your journal, finding prompts online about each of these categories, doing a meditation to clear your mind and energetic space, and/or setting boundaries with yourself to maintain your dedicated journaling time.

We hope this blog post helps you reflect on, set, and execute holistic spiritual SMART goals in 2024! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!




Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.


I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.


I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 


Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.


Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)


All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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