When it comes to achieving any goal, whether it’s renovating your kitchen, getting your driver’s license or losing ten pounds, you can’t just go through the motions. You need a game plan and effective strategy to successfully reach your goal. Trying to lose weight without a strategy would be like driving from New York to San Francisco without a road map or GPS. You may get there but the journey would take way too long, it would be frustrating, will be ten times more effort and you will most likely give up before you get to your destination.
As part of a series on Weight Loss Tips, we are going to look at ways to develop an effective strategy for successfully reaching your weight loss goal and effective tools to help you stay on track.
Setting Your Weight Loss Goals
Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. Goal setting is an important way for anyone to:
- Decide exactly what you want to achieve in your life
- Separate what is important and what’s irrelevant or a distraction
- Motivate themselves
- Build self-confidence as they successfully achieve their goals
A useful way of effectively setting focused goals is by using the S-M-A-R-T Principle:
Specific: Make sure your goal specifies what needs to be done (i.e. lifestyle changes, activities) and a timeline for completion (i.e. days, months, years, a specific date).
Measurable: Your goal should include numbers or descriptions that measure quantity (i.e. pounds, inches, clothing size).
Achievable: Your goal should be reasonable and something that is under your direct control. Do you have access to resources to help you achieve your goal? Can your goal be reached in the timeframe you’ve outlined?
Relevant: Your goal needs to be something that matters a great deal to you. It needs to be something that, when achieved, supports other efforts and needs.
Time-Bound: Your goal should identify a definite target date or timeline for completion.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals
With weight loss you can’t expect to reach your weight loss goal in the exact timeline outlined without a strategy or a plan. It would be like driving across the country without a road map or GPS (as referenced earlier). You can expect to veer off course, encounter potholes and unfavorable weather conditions, run out of gas or get completely lost. To successfully achieve your weight loss goal, it’s important to establish short-term goals. Short-term goals are “checkpoints” along your weight loss journey that provide perspective when your progress is not as smooth as expected. They help to document the journey from beginning to end, in manageable portions, and highlight achievement along the way.
Finding the right way to achieve your short-term goals is a “trial and error” process. You create a strategy to achieve your short-term goal, often times make mistakes, evaluate the results, then create better strategies to overcome the previous obstacles. Short-term goals are dynamic in nature, whereas long-term goals remain constant. If you find this process difficult, speaking with a fitness consultant may be helpful in outlining an effective strategy and getting you started on the right track.
Trying to lose weight is a very challenging and frustrating endeavor. Knowing where you are starting from, your final destination and checkpoints along the way is a good place to start. Unfortunately, that is not enough. Now you need to develop strategies to begin the process of moving towards achieving your weight loss goal.