What is it?

Developing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) behavioural goals and objectives.

It might be useful to think about goals as being broader than objectives. It is essential that clear objectives are set and progress is monitored against them. A number of objectives can be developed to achieve an individual aim or goal. More >

Why do this?

First, we need to set behavioural goals that we hope to achieve in our target audience behaviour. Second, it is useful to set specific objectives to help get us there. More >

How might you do this?

You might find it useful to gather information about objectives from previous activities focussing on similar challenges and target markets. These will provide a guide or benchmark as to what is realistic and achievable.

Many of the behavioural end-goals (stop smoking, recycle all possible materials) may not be feasible for some or all of the target audience. If the ultimate goal is not immediately achievable, consider intermediary behaviours as objectives, allowing the end result to be reached via a series of smaller, more achievable steps. More >

Recognise the realities of people’s lives when setting achievable objectives, and consider important elements such as time and frequency. More >


Make sure that your objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound)

Regularly review your objectives and keep a record of changes and why these were necessary. More >

Stay focused on behavioural goals and objectives so that the overall purpose of the intervention remains on course.


Clarity among stakeholders as to what is to be achieved.

A clear basis for further planning, development and evaluation.

Intended Outcome

Well designed objectives consistent with the SMART approach.

A breakdown of the overall goals into manageable objectives which are specific to the behaviour of the target audience/s.

One PCT set two overall objectives for their programme:

  • To increase the number of breast, bowel and lung cancers diagnosed with no spread by July 2010 by 5%.
  • To increase the proportion of breast, bowel and lung cancers diagnosed via the 2 week referral system by July 2010 by 8%.

These objectives enabled the PCT to develop a comprehensive evaluation programme to monitor the progress of the intervention.

For examples of other key indicators you can measure which will help monitor and evaluate your programme go to the Guide to Evaluation/Monitoring Indicators.