Setting Sensible Weight Loss Goals
Dropping excess pounds is the most common resolution set for a new year. Although our goals are set with the best of intentions, by February, we’ve set aside our fitness-related gifts and we’ve stopped scheduling time at the gym. In order to make a weight loss goal for the New Year stick, it is important to set sensible expectations before getting started. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your new year’s weight loss goals.
Set SMART goals
No matter how big or small your weight loss ambitions are for the upcoming year, it is imperative to make sure they are SMART – that is, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Specific – know exactly what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it and why you are doing it. For example, setting a goal that you want to lose 10 pounds by reducing your sugar intake and taking a spin class twice a week so that you feel more energized each day is a specific weight loss goal.
Measurable – a goal that is measurable is one that you can track and easily identify as a success. For instance, stating you want to lose one pound per week is a measurable goal for weight loss. You can hold yourself accountable at the end of each week, and you can quickly know if you are on track to reach your overall weight loss goal for the New Year.
Attainable and realistic – in order to successfully reach your expectations, goals must be both attainable and realistic. An attainable goal is one that you can see yourself reaching within your comfort zone, even if it means a shift in lifestyle or an increase in effort; a realistic goal is one that you can truly reach based on your schedule, your current fitness levels and your specific dietary needs. Instead of stating you will work out every morning, set a goal that you will go to the gym or attend a fitness class three times a week. These goals are much more attainable and realistic, and will set you up for success.
Timely – every goal you set should have a specific timeframe. For example, stating that you want to lose 10 pounds by May is a timely goal (not to mention realistic and attainable). Having a “deadline” will increase motivation to reach your weight loss expectations, and will allow you to track your level of success a well.
After you have set your goals in a SMART way, it is important to reward yourself for the milestones you reach throughout your plan. If you are tracking your weight loss each week and consistently meet that truncated goal, reward yourself for your hard work with a sweet treat (as long as it is not an entire box of chocolates), a new bag, a spa day or an evening out – anything that will keep you motivated during your weight loss journey.
In order to set and ultimately meet your weight loss goals for the New Year, your expectations should be sensible to begin with. If you diligent about creating goals that are SMART, and you remember to reward yourself for a job well done, you will have a greater chance of being successful in the New Year.