13 SMART Goals Examples for Cancer Patients

Recognize that cancer is one of the most difficult challenges an individual can face. With a diagnosis, life changes dramatically for them, both physically and emotionally. That’s where SMART goals come in.

Taking advantage of the SMART method can bring structure into this life-altering situation. This article will discuss various examples of SMART goals that cancer patients may want to consider.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART framework will enable cancer patients to establish practical goals for success. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Need more clarification? Let’s talk more about each SMART letter:


Specific goals should be tailored to your individual needs as a cancer patient. Without this SMART criterion, it is easy to become lost or overwhelmed by the challenges presented by cancer treatment.

Instead of simply aiming to beat cancer, set concrete goals such as “completing all chemotherapy sessions” or “attending all support meetings in a given month.” Specificity allows you to celebrate each small victory. It provides clarity and direction, empowering you to take control of your life and health.


It’s not enough to simply set goals; they must also be measurable. This means that patients should choose goals that can be quantified or tracked in some way.

For example, a goal could be to “exercise for 30 minutes every day” or “eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.” These types of goals allow patients to track their progress and see how far they’ve come.


Trying to achieve unattainable goals can lead to frustration and even a sense of failure that could negatively impact your mental health. By being realistic in light of these challenges and working within those boundaries, you’ll set yourself up for better success in the long run.


Setting goals that reflect your values can help keep you motivated as you work towards reaching your ideal outcome. Your core values will be a guiding force to help you persevere through difficult times as a cancer patient.


It’s not enough to have a vague idea of what you want to accomplish; you need to break it down into manageable steps with clear deadlines. This approach is necessary because it’s easy to lose motivation without time-bound goals.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Cancer Patients

Here are several examples of SMART goals for cancer patients:

1. Increase Nutrition

“I will increase my daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables by at least two daily servings for the next three months. I know proper nutrition is important for good health, so I’m committed to making this change.”

Specific: The goal is apparent, as it states precisely what action should be taken and how long.

Measurable: You can track how many servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed daily.

Attainable: Increasing intake by two servings per day is definitely possible.

Relevant: This goal is directly related to health and nutrition, which is vital for cancer patients.

Time-based: You have a three-month end date for goal achievement.

2. Get Active Regularly

“I want to strive for 30 minutes of physical activity thrice a week within three months. This will help me stay fit and healthy in the fight against cancer.”

Specific: This requires you to do a specific type of physical activity thrice every week for a certain amount of time.

Measurable: You can count the minutes you’ve been physically active or use a fitness tracker to gauge progress.

Attainable: This is absolutely doable, as 30 minutes thrice weekly isn’t too tricky.

Relevant: Regular physical activity helps you maintain strength and health, which is especially important for cancer patients.

Time-based: You have three months to complete this particular goal.

3. Reduce Stress Levels

“I want to prioritize reducing my stress to improve my well-being by the end of four months. I will develop a plan to manage my stress, including exercising regularly and meditating for at least 10 minutes every day.”

Specific: The aim is to reduce stress and improve well-being by focusing on regular exercise and meditation.

Measurable: Measuring stress levels can be done with various tests and questionnaires.

Attainable: This statement is feasible if the person takes the necessary steps to manage stress.

Relevant: Dealing with stress is essential for cancer patients as it can positively impact their physical and mental health.

Time-based: Goal attainment is expected by the end of four months.

4. Manage Medication

“I’ll take my medication as prescribed at all times and correctly track the intake of these medications in a log book within two months. I will also inform all my healthcare providers of my medications to prevent adverse interactions.”

Specific: The SMART goal is to take medication as prescribed, track it accurately, and inform healthcare providers of medications.

Measurable: Accurate tracking in the log book and communication with healthcare providers can be tracked to determine if the goal has been reached.

Attainable: With support from loved ones, this goal is possible with the proper tracking and communication tools.

Relevant: Consuming medication as prescribed and tracking it is essential for managing cancer.

Time-based: There is a two-month timeline for accomplishing this goal.

5. Develop Coping Strategies

“To manage stress and cope with my cancer, I will list 8 coping strategies by the end of four months. I hope to use these strategies to manage my emotions better and stay positive during this difficult time.”

Specific: The goal states the action to take and the time frame.

Measurable: You can measure how many coping strategies you have developed.

Attainable: This goal is realistic because it sets up an achievable task with a shorter timeline.

Relevant: It’s crucial for cancer patients to have coping strategies in place to manage stress and emotions.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated after four whole months.

6. Connect With Support Groups

“I will join at least three cancer support groups during the 5 months ahead. I want to make meaningful connections with other patients, share my experiences, and learn from them.”

Specific: The goal statement is to join three cancer support groups.

Measurable: Attendance at the support groups will be tracked and recorded.

Attainable: Seeking out and joining three cancer support groups is definitely realistic.

Relevant: Connecting with support groups is an essential step in the patient’s journey, as it can provide emotional and psychological support.

Time-based: Success is expected over the following 5 months.

supportive people

7. Make Time for Relaxation

“I will make sure to fit an hour of relaxation into my daily routine. That could include reading, listening to music, watching a movie, or taking a walk. I will keep this time free from any stress and worry.”

Specific: You have several activities to choose from that you consider relaxing.

Measurable: Determine your progress by how much time you spend on relaxation.

Attainable: An hour of relaxation is a reasonable time to fit into your daily schedule.

Relevant: Relaxation is a great way to reduce stress and stay positive.

Time-based: Consider this an ongoing effort of relaxing each day.

8. Improve Sleep Quality

“To help improve my sleep quality and reduce fatigue, I will practice two 30-minute mindfulness exercises weekly for the next three months. These activities will help me have more restful and restorative sleep.”

Specific: The person is looking to establish a routine of mindfulness activities and wants to achieve better sleep quality.

Measurable: Ensure that two 30-minute mindfulness exercises are completed weekly.

Attainable: This is achievable if you put in the necessary effort to practice and learn mindfulness techniques.

Relevant: The patient wants to improve their sleep quality, which is important for managing cancer fatigue.

Time-based: There is a three-month end date for meeting this certain goal.

9. Stay Positive and Encouraged

“I want to use my support system and seek coping strategies to stay positive during cancer treatments by the end of four months. This may involve journaling, talking to a counselor, or joining a cancer support group.”

Specific: This goal is focused on staying positive and encouraged throughout cancer treatments.

Measurable: Observe how often the person seeks coping strategies or uses their support system.

Attainable: It is possible to stay positive and encouraged when a patient has the right resources, such as a support system or access to counseling.

Relevant: A positive attitude can make a massive difference in treatments and the patient’s health.

Time-based: The deadline is set for four months from now.

10. Reach Out for Help When Needed

“I will seek help or support when I feel overwhelmed or need assistance with my cancer treatments. I’ll use available resources such as friends, family members, and healthcare professionals.”

Specific: The individual is aiming to reach out for help when needed.

Measurable: Count the times they seek help or support and the resources they use.

Attainable: This is feasible as it requires seeking help or support when needed.

Relevant: This SMART goal is appropriate because it can help patients manage their cancer treatments better.

Time-based: Make an effort to reach out for help on a regular basis.

11. Find Joy in Life’s Little Things

“I’ll try to find joy in the little things by investing time and energy into activities that bring me peace, such as reading, painting, or spending time with loved ones. I will prioritize this by the end of three months.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, stating precisely the objective and how it will be met.

Measurable: Time and energy can be tracked to check how much effort is put into this goal.

Attainable: Pursuing activities that bring joy is achievable and can be accomplished with dedication.

Relevant: This statement is pertinent to finding peace and balance in life.

Time-based: There is a three-month window for lasting success.

12. Improve Your Health Habits

“I’ll make healthy lifestyle choices and regularly follow up with my doctor by the end of 7 months. I will participate in patient education programs and ensure I take all the necessary steps to treat my cancer and improve my overall health.”

Specific: The goal is clear, and the patient knows what is required to achieve it.

Measurable: Regularly follow up with the doctor and participate in patient education programs.

Attainable: This statement is achievable if the patient makes the necessary effort.

Relevant: People should make positive lifestyle choices to treat cancer and improve their health.

Time-based: Goal attainment will be met within 7 whole months.

13. Remain Informed and Educated

“I’ll stay updated on the latest research and information about cancer by reading one news article or journal article related to cancer each week. I hope to maintain an informed understanding of the cancer community to make more informed decisions.”

Specific: The goal is to actively learn more about cancer and the medical research associated with it.

Measurable: This can be evaluated by being updated on the latest research and information each week.

Attainable: Reading one article per week is an achievable goal that can be easily met.

Relevant: Understanding the cancer community is critical to making informed decisions.

Time-based: You should read an article related to the topic every week.

Final Thoughts

Pursuing SMART goals helps cancer patients take control of their health and well-being while providing a sense of purpose. By breaking down the goal into actionable steps, they can find viable paths to success.

A goal-setting system allows cancer patients to remain motivated on their journey to wellness. Patients will feel empowered rather than overwhelmed throughout their journey toward recovery.

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