Setting Your Weight Loss Goals
Setting weight loss goals is crucial to your journey if you want to succeed.
You might as well be a chicken without its head without proper goals; you don’t know where you’re heading. When you are trying to lose weight, it could be the difference between success and failure. The good news is that setting your weight loss goals is easy once you understand how to proceed.
I dream of…
What are your dreams? Do you dream to be rich, healthy, or simply happy? Dreams are universal, and they are all goals; you work towards achieving them your whole life without realizing it. So what is different with setting goals to lose weight?
Losing weight is not part of what we call life goals. Having children, achieving financial freedom, and growing old are life goals, and we don’t see them as needing an exhaustive plan. Most of the time, we just go with it and hope for the best.
Losing weight is the opposite. No one says, “hey when I’ll be 80 I want to weight 50 pounds less”. They want to weigh that shortly.
Since your weight is, most of the time, not a life long goal, it is imperative to set weight loss goals to achieve what you want.
SMART is an acronym for different words that qualify a goal, and each one is as important as the other to the success of your endeavor.
A goal must be specific in order achieve it. You need to know when you’ve reached it and for that, you need to ask yourself questions:
- What I’m I trying to accomplish?
- What is the outcome of this goal?
- Where I’m I going to be doing this?
- What do I need to succeed?
- Why is it important to me?
When trying to lose weight, one might answer this.
“I’m trying to lose weight. I want to lose 20 pounds to be better in my body. I will go to the gym, eat clean, and cook my food from now on. I need my (partner/friend/family) to support me, encourage me so that I can succeed. Losing weight is important to me because I’ve had body image issues my whole life and wanted to take control over it.”
The goal you set needs to be measurable. Lucky for us, when you want to lose weight, it’s easy to track: Use the scale.
It will keep you up to date with your progress and will play a vital part in your motivation. It will make sure that you stay focused on the job.
An example of this would be:
“I want to lose twenty pounds in three months time, which accounts for roughly 1.6 lbs a week. To reach that I need to eat X calories less per day, not counting on the exercise I will be doing.”
Attainable or achievable
Your goal needs to be realistic. Saying you want to lose one hundred pounds in three months will not happen, and making it a goal will push you towards a path of failure and disappointment. But how can you know if your goal is realistic? Ask around, seek the opinion of experts, read on the subject, and then you can set your goal.
Another factor to take into consideration is your everyday life and schedule. If for your goal of losing weight you say you will be cooking ALL your food but are not at home during 12 hours of the day, it will be difficult, even impossible to commit to this.
Money is also a factor. Saying that to reach your goal you will only buy organic food from now on but doing so topples your food budget by 200% is unrealistic.
For a goal to be attainable, it must answer to these questions:
- How can I accomplish this?
- What do I need to achieve it?
- Is this goal realistic to my family or me?
- Have I thought of all the factors involved with this goal (time, financial, skills required, etc.)?
Relevance is about making sure that it matters to you. Do you really want to lose weight? Is it your decision, or is it because someone else wants you to do so (that happens more than you think)? Your weight loss goal must be on par with the other goals in your life.
If you want to lose 20 pounds but are also looking to have a baby, then it is incompatible as you’ll gain weight as you become pregnant.
A relevant goal should answer yes to these:
- Is it worth it to me?
- Is it feasible in my current environment?
- Is this the right time?
Just like your goal needs to be measurable, it needs to be time bound. You need to set a target date so you have a deadline and can then set smaller time bound goals.
As an example, you set your goal of losing twenty pounds to be in three months exactly from today’s date. As we’ve seen earlier, that amounts to around 1.6 lbs per week. So every week you’ll be weighing yourself and then readjusting your goal. Your “primary goal” should remain the same, but you can play with the time frame and numbers inside of it.
If after a month you realize that you’ve lost only five pounds instead of the 6.4 needed, then you’ll change your goal for the next month. Instead of trying to lose 1.6 lbs per week, you’ll try to lose 7.8 pounds to stay on course to reach weight loss goals.
Don’t focus on the outcome.
Rather, concentrate on the present.
I know you want to lose twenty pounds. But it’s pointless to focus on that since it is three months from now. Instead, focus on what you are going to do during these three months.
What are you going to do this week that will put you closer to achieving your goal? Meal prep can be an important aspect to think about and do. You can also make your weekly schedule in advance, so you know exactly what to do and when.
Focusing on these smaller objectives will keep you busy and make it easier for you to attain your ultimate weight loss goals. For each one that you do and succeed at, it will boost your confidence and motivation.
Your goal must have a positive outcome and be fun to you.
The third rule to succeed at losing weight is to enjoy yourself. If every day you want to quit and binge on junk food because all you eat is boring or disgusting, then you’ll eventually stop and fail. Your will has its limit, and it is good not to push it too much.
Make sure you are going to enjoy your diet or part of it. Dieting brings a lot of changes, and they are not all fun, so you’d rather make fun and enjoyable the parts that you can. Think about which ones they are.
Write your goals down
Writing down your weight loss goals is important. Make a plan, write everything that you want to achieve and how you will do it. Set up a calendar and pin it on your fridge, so it’s always in your face. Check off items that you’ve done on a daily basis to keep yourself accountable.
Share it with someone
Sharing your goal with someone that has similar objectives is great. You can keep tabs on each other to see if you are on the right path to succeed and remind each other of what to do and not. I used to diet with a friend, and we would call each other every time we were thinking of cheating; eating junk.
And every time it would keep us straight, prevent us from derailing from our weight loss goals. It was a big part of our success. Find a friend, someone in your family, a co-worker, or anyone that is willing to do the work just like you and do it together. It will be much easier.
In the end, setting your weight loss goals is as important as the journey itself. Planning will make sure you stay in line with what you set up to do and help you reach your goals. Think about it; marathon runners do plan for months before the actual run. The odds of failure are just too high if they don’t think it through. It’s the same with weight loss.