We all go into the new year with the best intentions, but many of us lose sight of them before we follow through. Here’s how to set goals for weight loss.
With the holiday season approaching, those of us with weight loss goals have our sights set on January 1st; the day to make resolutions and stick to them. But the fact of the matter is that 80% of resolutions are broken before February.
In this article, we are looking at how to set goals that will help carry you through those difficult early months and onwards towards weight loss success.
How to Set Goals
In their article on why most diets fail, the Diabetes Council explain that often those who want to lose weight focus on a fixed period of dieting rather than a change of lifestyle over a long period.
This can set you up for failure, meaning that even if you do lose weight you will regain it when you return to your previous habits.
Making plans for sustainable weight loss means setting long-term goals. The Center for Disease Control recommends a weight loss level of 1-2 pounds per week. This should give you a guide as to how long your weight loss journey is likely to be.
We can learn lessons in how to set goals from the world of business. You may have heard about SMART goals, a Mnemonic that helps make sure that goals are achievable. Smart stands for:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based.
Specific – Are you going to choose a target weight, measurements or a clothes size that you want to get to?
Measurable – How will you know when you’ve succeeded?
Achievable – Don’t set yourself up to fail, think about that 1-2 pounds a week guideline. What would your calorie intake be to achieve that?
Realistic – Is January a good time of year to do this? If you’re going to find it hard to exercise, or you have lots of social engagements, it might be better to wait.
Time-Based – You need a deadline or a target to head for.
If you’re looking for a long-term goals example, then check out this website where a couple talks through their health & fitness goals for 2019.
Turn Goals into Steps
It’s all very well to set a goal, but how are you going to achieve it? As tempting as it is to look for the express elevator to our goals, the truth is that it’s going to take time and commitment to achieve them.
Long-term goals can be daunting. If you have 100 lbs to lose, you are looking at a year before you have met your target weight. So, rather than keeping your eye on that final figure, break it down into smaller steps.
They say it takes 21 days to establish a habit, so how about making that your first step, or short-term goal? For 21 days, can you meet your healthy eating and exercise goals? You might have heard that it’s best to start exercising first to boost your metabolism, but a recent study showed that the best results were gained by starting both dietary changes and exercise at the same time.
Once you’ve achieved this first step, set another. Focusing on the next few weeks will help you to stay engaged with your plans, and will help them feel manageable.
Set Yourself up for Success
Understanding why you picked up the bad eating and exercise habits in the first place is a big part of changing behavior. If you eat because you get upset, then spend some time thinking about what you could do to comfort yourself instead of turning to food.
For some people, acknowledging that they’re feeling unhappy and making a conscious choice to do something to help meet long-term goals can help. For example, choosing to drink herbal tea or have a glass of water rather than raiding the snack box.
Fill your fridge up with healthy choices, so that no matter how tired you are you can always conjure up a healthy meal quickly and easily. Do the same with exercise, one of the most helpful weight loss tips is to get dressed in your exercise clothes. You’re much more likely to find time for a walk, run or to do that fitness video if you don’t need to get changed first.
There might be times when you don’t meet your goals. If that happens, just accept that it’s happened and don’t give yourself a hard time. One missed workout or order of desert doesn’t undo all the good that you’ve done.
Accept that it happened, but don’t let it make you stop. Just make your next decision a good one. A powerful way to change can be to make it one decision at a time – make the choices that the person you want to be would make. The fit version of you wouldn’t skip leg day, so you shouldn’t either.
Try Different Things
When it comes to exercise, there are plenty of choices. You don’t have to keep doing the same thing – in fact, it’s beneficial to mix it up. If you’re working out from home, then YouTube has plenty of exercise videos you can use as the basis for your workout, so you don’t run the risk of getting bored.
If you’re going to the gym, then having 6 weekly sessions with your personal trainer will help you keep things fresh. You’ll need to keep raising the bar to increase your fitness, and a PT will make sure that you’re working as hard as possible.
You Got This
We all have the same 24 hours in the day, whether we’re Beyonce or Bob down the street. The only thing that differs is how we choose to use them.
And now you know how to set goals which will see you easily getting past those early days of enthusiasm. You can make changes that will help you lose weight and make those lifestyle changes that will keep it off. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read our piece on how to stay motivated or view our back catalog for other tips and tricks for changing your life.