Examples of smart goals for stress management

Dealing with stress can be a difficult task for anyone — but for product managers, it can be that little bit more intense. Not only are you trying to deal with your own stress, but it can also fall to you to help manage your teammates’ stress levels too. 

Then there’s the job itself. 

Becoming a product manager is an extremely exciting prospect, but some of the cool parts of the job are also the parts that can stress you out the most. It’s your responsibility to make decisions that will directly impact commercial performance, and you need to stay at the forefront of innovation and tech developments.

There’s so much you need to do (often at once), so it’s no surprise that PMs can feel burned out.

So the question is: what can product people do to keep the work fun and reduce anxiety levels? 

We’re about to draw upon a product management favorite: SMART goals and how we can use SMART goals for stress management and minimization.


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4 examples of SMART goals for stress management in busy product teams

The SMART goal-setting tool is a simple framework. It can be performed by anyone and applied to any aspect of business — or even life outside of work. 

As the acronym suggests, the SMART framework helps shape goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-Bound

Combining these elements together brings clarity, drives motivation, and increases success. When we use the SMART framework for business-related tasks, we’re more likely to hit our goals. So, why don’t we apply that framework to our ways of managing stress?

Let’s see how that can be done.

SMART goals for stress management

<< For a more in-depth look at SMART and how it can be applied to product management goals, check out our glossary post. >>

Stress factor: We’re running out of time before launch

We’ve all been there. Deadline day is looming large and there’s still so much left to do. It’s enough to stress anyone out. 

SMART goal: Establish a clear timeline between now and the go-live

Sometimes the amount of work you need to do looks far more intensive than it actually is. By setting a SMART goal, you can get a clear picture of what you need to do within the timeframe you have left.

The deadline fits the time-bound criteria already, and your measurable criteria is simply whether the work is finished within that time or not. To create a SMART goal you just need to fill the other three.

  • You can discover the specific details of your SMART goal by looking at the work you have remaining. This is also the stage where you can figure out if the amount of work is attainable within the timeframe. 

  • You can use a prioritization framework to judge how long the remaining tasks will take and how relevant they are to the process.

Using what you have learned by gathering information to fit your SMART goal, you can create a schedule that helps to break down tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. 

This is a simple but highly effective example of how SMART goals for stress management can re-align a panicked product team and help you achieve your targets.

Stress factor: Conflict within the team

There’s bound to be conflict with any group of people who spend the majority of their time with one another. 

Throw in an ambitious deadline or the challenges of remote decision-making and — as much as we try to prevent it — conflict within your team is inevitable and can be a major cause of stress.

Setting a SMART goal to deal with conflict within the team can help resolve conflict with minimal disruption to productivity levels. 

SMART goal for stress management: Take action before the problem gets worse

One of the main causes of escalating conflict is poor communication between teammates, especially if there’s tension. Many co-workers would prefer to just wait for the tension to ease and avoid the other person until then. Of course, this is a terrible idea for a team that needs to work as one to produce high-quality products. 

In this scenario:

  • Your specific details are the conflict, the people involved, and the subject that caused it.

  • Your measurables are increased collaboration and a reduction in time wastage. 

  • The attainable goal is to resolve the conflict as soon as possible, as its relevance is due to the impact on productivity. 

Resolving conflict is also an urgent task, making it a time-bound activity that needs to be completed ASAP.

Stress factor: Screen-time burnout

The amount of screen time we have has grown massively, especially over the past two years. 

It will come as no surprise that many of us are feeling burned out from staring at our screens for days on end. But it’s tough to find work that doesn’t involve being in front of the screen — especially within product management! 

Studies also show that sitting at your desk for too long has a whole range of worrying health implications. So let’s get a SMART goal together to help reduce screen-time burnout and give your health a little boost. 

SMART goals for stress management

SMART goal for stress management: Be more active in the office or while working from home

This one’s straightforward. Your specific details are the amount of time you spend sitting at your desk and how it impacts your health. 

  • You can measure your progress by logging how often you get up and move around. 

  • It’s an attainable goal, as you don’t need to do all that much and can set an alarm to remind you to be more active. 

  • It’s relevant because you should be doing all you can to support your mental and physical help. 

  • Finally, your time-bound criteria comes from how often you get up and go, ideally once every 20 minutes.

Stress factor: Teams are unmotivated

It’s getting to the end of a sprint, your team is tired, uninspired, and unmotivated. It’s your job to try and inject some life back into them, even when you’re swamped with a million other tasks. 

SMART goal for stress management: Introduce an employee recognition scheme to boost morale in the next 6 months

Introducing an employee recognition scheme is a great way to make employees feel happier at work.

  • The specific details here are introducing the new scheme to attain an improved level of employee satisfaction.

  • This will be measured through regular employee satisfaction surveys between now and the goal will be time-bound over the 6 months. 

  • This is relevant to the entire team and business going forward, as unhappy team members will start feeling more comfortable voicing their concerns and will feel more appreciated, and therefore more motivated. 

For more helpful resources and support for product managers, make sure to keep subscribed to the airfocus blog!


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Maintaining good mental health can be difficult, especially during recent times when so many have been isolated at home. Yet, if you struggle with depression, anxiety, and other issues, you’re not alone.

If you are looking for a way to effectively set goals to improve your positive mental health, you may consider setting SMART goals. This article discusses 5 SMART goal examples for mental health to get you back on the right track.

SMART is a goal-setting methodology that allows you to create precise, measurable, and attainable goals. By setting specific SMART goals, improving your mental health is doable. Today we will discuss what some of these goals might look like.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that defines a specific goal-setting system. So, instead of setting a simple goal, your goal has to meet all five criteria as set out by the acronym.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. Therefore, for a goal to be SMART, it must adhere to all five aspects.

  • Specific: The goals you set must be precise with as little ambiguity as possible. You will aim to answer the “Ws”: what, who, when, where, why, and which. A goal must be clearly defined before you can achieve it, or won’t know when it has been achieved.
  • Measurable: A SMART goal must also be measurable. If there are no units of measurement to adhere to, you cannot possibly measure your progress. Moreover, this should be measurable quantitatively, although subjective measurements may sometimes apply.
  • Attainable: One issue many people have with goals is that they set unreachable goals. If a goal is unrealistic and out of reach, you won’t be able to achieve it.
  • Relevant: The goal must be relevant to your overall end goal, which in this case is improving your positive mental health. The goal must relate to the larger picture.
  • Timebound: A SMART goal is timebound, as you’ll prescribe a certain amount of time to achieve the goal. Achieving goals is not easily done when there are no set deadlines. Moreover, this is another way to measure your progress towards your goal.

If you want to learn more, check out this Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals.

Why Are SMART Goals Important for Improving Positive Mental Health?

SMART goals can help if you want to improve your mental health. However, people face many challenges when looking to improve their mental health. Moreover, the reality is that there are hundreds of mental health issues that we could talk about.

SMART goals may help with mental health issues, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, high-stress levels, etc. People with any of these conditions face various challenges. This is the case not only due to the mental health issues but also in receiving adequate treatment.

One challenge faced when aiming to improve positive mental health is being able to communicate with others. Unfortunately, many people are extremely isolated and do not have people to talk to, and this sort of solitary lifestyle can be a massive challenge.

smart goals mental health pdf | emotional smart goals examples | smart goal for depression exampleSMART goals can help if you want to improve your mental health.

Another challenge faced when aiming to improve positive mental health is recognizing that you have a problem, to begin with. Unfortunately, being able to acknowledge you have a problem and accept the fact you may require outside assistance is not something that many of us can do.

Moreover, one of the biggest challenges is receiving adequate treatment, and many do not have access to mental healthcare solutions. High-quality mental health services are in demand, but they cannot keep up. Maintaining a positive outlook and keeping busy, being able to distract yourself from such mental issues can also be a challenge.

However, SMART goals can help you overcome many or even all of these problems in one way or another. Setting specific, concise, and realistic goals, where you have a deadline and where the progress is measurable, will make it easier to overcome the obstacles you face. It’s all about overcoming more minor barriers that prevent you from reaching your larger goal.

5 SMART Goal Examples to Improve Your Positive Mental Health

1. Keep Track of My Calorie Intake

“To help overcome my eating disorder, I will aim to consume at least 2,000 calories per day between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and consume at least half of those calories by mid-day. In addition, I will keep track of my calorie intake in an eating journal. The overall goal is to gain/lose at least 20 pounds within 6 months.”

S: This goal is specific, to eat a set amount of calories per day within a certain amount of time, to gain/lose a set amount of weight.

M: This goal is measurable because you can easily count the calories you eat and weigh yourself daily.

A: This goal is attainable because consuming a set amount of calories per day requires a bit of dedication.

R: This goal is relevant in overcoming an eating disorder you may be suffering from.

T: This goal is timebound in two ways: It requires you to eat a certain amount of calories every 24 hours and to gain/lose 20 pounds within 6 months.

2. Meditate Regularly

“To overcome my anxiety, I will meditate at least 30 for 6 days a week by the end of each day. My end goal is to stop all anxiety or panic attacks from occurring within 3 months.”

S: This goal is specific—to meditate 30 minutes per day to stop anxiety attacks from occurring.

M: This goal is measurable by tracking the amount of time spent meditating and monitoring the frequency and severity of panic attacks.

A: This goal is attainable, as meditation is proven to reduce anxiety.

R: This goal is relevant to the overall end goal of improving positive mental health.

T: This goal is timebound—to stop all panic attacks from occurring within 3 months after starting meditation.

3. Seek Professional Counseling

“To help overcome my depression, I will seek professional counseling at least twice per week over the next year. In addition, I will monitor my depression by keeping track of how many negative thoughts I have per day, with the end goal being to reduce the number of negative thoughts and depression attacks by at least 90% over the next year.”

S: This goal is specific—to reduce depressive thoughts daily by 90% within the following year.

M: This goal is measurable by monitoring the number of counseling sessions per week and tracking how many depressive thoughts you have per day.

A: This goal is attainable, as reducing depression through counseling is a proven strategy.

R: This goal is relevant in improving overall positive mental health.

T: This goal is timebound—to reduce bad thoughts by 90% within the following year.

4. Exercise Regularly

“I will exercise for at least 60 minutes per day to reduce my stress levels. My goal is to reduce the amount of stress I feel daily by at least 75% within the next 6 months. I will monitor this through subjective means, such as judging how anxious I feel, how well I sleep, and my mood, among other factors.”

S: This goal is specific—to reduce stress levels through exercising for a certain amount of time per day.

M: This goal is measurable by tracking how much you exercise and subjectively measurable by judging how you feel based on your usual stress symptoms.

A: This goal is attainable because reducing stress through exercise is proven to work.

R: This goal is relevant, as reducing stress will improve overall mental health.

T: This goal is timebound—exercising every day and reducing stress levels by 75% within 6 months.

5. Communicate with a Friend or Family Member

“I will aim to communicate with one friend or family member for at least 45 minutes per day regarding my mental health issues and help improve my socialization and reduce time spent alone.”

S: This goal is specific—to increase time spent communicating with a close friend or family member by at least 45 minutes per day.

M: This goal is measurable by tracking how much time is spent and how often you communicate with others.

A: This goal is attainable, as everybody should have at least one person they can talk to, even if it is a mental health professional.

R: This goal is relevant because isolation and a lack of human contact are not beneficial for mental health.

T: This goal is timebound—communicating with somebody at least once every day.

Final Thoughts on SMART Goal Examples to Improve Positive Mental Health

As you can see, setting SMART goals is not that difficult, but they can be an effective tool to help you overcome various mental health issues. If you want to improve your positive mental health, setting SMART goals is something you should start doing.

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.

smart goals examples for mental health | examples of smart goals for anxiety | examples of smart goals for health and wellness5 SMART Goal Examples to Improve Your Positive Mental Health

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