How to set SMART weight loss goals and reach them
It’s not enough just to tell yourself you’re going to get fit and healthy and reach your target weight you might also need some tips on how to get where you’re going. People set themselves weight loss goals all the time but what you want to be able to do is set those goals so that you can actually reach them.
If your goal is so far away you can never imagine grasping success you are soon going to give up thinking it is unattainable. The trick is to fool your body into thinking nothing is different so it doesn’t rebel against you. First of all, you need to be able to set SMART goals so you have a chance of measuring your success. This stands for:
Specific: 1 statement for 1 target e.g. I will start using skimmed milk instead of full-fat milk, I will walk 100 more steps, I will take time to relax.
Measurable: make sure you include something in your target that you can see has been done or hasn’t. Taking the previous examples you will be able to tell if you have changed to skimmed milk instead of full fat or walk 100 more steps or if you have taken an extra 10 minutes every day to try to relax.
Achievable: make sure your target is something you can do. Don’t say you are going to run for 1 hour each day if you know you can only organise ½ hour. Take 15 minutes of your lunch break for a brisk walk, park your car a 15 minute walk away from work and promise yourself 15 minutes more in the evening. This would give you 1 hour in total without straining your schedule too much.
Realistic: as mentioned already – don’t say you are going to run for 1 hour each day especially if you haven’t run anywhere since you were a child. Start with a walk every day and work your way up.
Timely: give yourself a time to do this in – it might be, I will do this every day for a week, I will do this until I reach (a small target), or I will review this at the end of the month.
Once you do this you will be able to see if you have or have not reached your goal at the end of the time period. If you haven’t reached it, don’t panic; don’t be afraid to reset your goal but also be aware of why you didn’t achieve it. Evaluation of your goals is as important as reaching them. Was it just that you had a bad week but could definitely do it by the end of next week or was it just too much of a stretch to reach it? Whichever one it was, alter it so it can be reached, either review again at the end of next week or make it a smaller step to reach by the end of next week. Success will spur you on to make the next change, and the next so make sure you will experience it.
You will also need something to keep you on track on a daily basis so make sure you pin up a picture of an outfit you want to get into somewhere you will see it every day.
Plan for your weight loss; people with a plan are more likely to be successful. Plan what you are going to eat that day and write down when and where you are going to eat it. If you can plan your food for the week you can shop accordingly and will be less tempted to nip into the shops and buy impulse items. You also need to plan for when you are going to exercise; if you have a class to go to you can’t put it off for an hour. Planning for your exercise and activity in detail will mean that you are more likely to do it and involving an exercise buddy will mean that you can’t back out and let them down. Put your plans in writing; it gives them power, makes them more important and reminds you what you need to focus on.
Perhaps the most important thing is to reward yourself when you succeed and not punish yourself when things don’t go according to plan. As gold medallist Mia Hamm said, “Success breeds success” so the more of it you have the more you will succeed. Each time you reach one of your SMART goals make a note of this and give yourself a little treat for doing so well. This can be anything that you enjoy (as long as it’s not food) even if it’s something really small and unimportant to anyone else; if it is significant to you, that is the important part. You will see that I have suggested that you write down your achievements as well as your goals. This can be a powerful tool for the times when you feel like giving up; it will give you a physical reminder of how far you have already come and will spur you on to even greater achievements.
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