The SMART acronym (e.g., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound) is widely used for setting goals in physical activity, including my leading health organisations and exercise practitioners. Despite its widespread use, there has been little research that has critically examined the scientific underpinnings of the SMART acronym and its application to physical activity promotion. Given concerns surrounding levels of physical inactivity in society, such a critical examination is important as goal setting is one of the most widely used behaviour change strategies in research and practice. This talk will draw on a narrative review and empirical research by the research team to critically examine the scientific basis for SMART goals in the context of physical activity promotion. We will highlight some of the issues and misconceptions with SMART goals and identify some important implications for research and practice.

Miss Rebecca Hawkins, School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln
Dr. Patricia Jackman, School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln