Health Tips > Prevention Plus > Small Steps, Big Goals

Small Steps, Big Goals

View All Section Pages

List of resolutions

Whether you want to get in shape, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables or live an overall healthier lifestyle, setting goals can help get you there. Yet breaking your long-term goals into smaller, shorter-term goals may be more beneficial.

Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Physician and Cooper Clinic Platinum Physician  Michael Chapman, MD, explains why your small steps can help yield big results.

The smaller, the better

Setting goals can help keep us accountable. Yet sometimes, setting one big goal can seem overwhelming, which can cause us to back out or fail.

“When discussing weight loss with my patients, many feel they are facing a mountain if I tell them they need to lose 30-50 pounds,” explains Chapman. “In cases like this I tell them to set a short-term goal of one pound per week. If they can stay focused on their weekly goal, the long-term goal will eventually come into place.”

The same is true when you're planning to run a marathon. Chapman recommends developing daily and weekly goals. “Setting mini-goals can create a feeling of accomplishment, which is empowering.” Feeling successful at the end of the day can motivate you to continue on with your goal the next day.

Monday motivation

Do you suffer from a “case of the Mondays?” If so, try changing your mindset about the start of a new week.

“Setting Monday resolutions can help ensure you start out with a clean slate each and every week,” says Chapman.

Did you eat poorly over the weekend? Did you skip several workouts the week before? Using Monday as a fresh start can help reset your mind to have a positive outlook on the week.

“Monday comes around every seven days so you have 52 chances a year to stay on track," says Chapman.

Looking for inspiration? Type in #MotivationMonday on the Cooper Aerobics Facebook or Instagram pages or follow the The Monday Campaigns and start looking at Monday in a whole new light.


You’ve hit your daily and weekly goals and now you’ve achieved your long-term goal, too. Before you tackle your next venture, Chapman says it’s important to celebrate your successes.

“When you achieve a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so,” says Chapman. “Reward yourself with a new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting or indulge in your favorite dessert. This can help you build the self-confidence you need to set even bigger goals in the future.”

Are you ready to set a new goal? Follow the SMART plan:

  • Specific. State what you’re going to do.
  • Measurable. Use metric or data targets.
  • Achievable. Make sure it’s an attainable goal, given the timeframe.
  • Relevant. The goal makes sense for your lifestyle.
  • Time-bound. Set a specific date to accomplish your goal.

For more information about Cooper Clinic, visit or call 972.560.2667.