Weight loss goals help you stay on track to a leaner and healthier you, but only if you’re smart about how you set them. When setting your goals, make sure that they meet three key requirements: your weight loss goals should be measurable, achievable, and actionable. These three criteria are crucial, because you’ll be far more likely to stick to your diet and exercise plan if you can recognize the changes you’re making, stay excited by small successes along the way, and have concrete actions you can take.
Make Weight Loss Goals Measurable
Measurable goals are the best way to mark your milestones. Instead of deciding you want simply to be leaner, fitter, or healthier, promise yourself you will lose two inches around your waist, drop ten pounds, or work up to running five miles. When you can chart your progress by grabbing a tape measure, jumping on a scale, or passing a trail marker on your favorite hiking path, it’s easy to see and feel how much closer you’re getting to having the new body you’ve been dreaming of. Making your weight loss goals measurable helps you stay invigorated, because you’ll always be able to point to tangible proof of how far you’ve come.
Make Weight Loss Goals Achievable
Achievable goals keep you from feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. It’s great to have a big goal for your overall weight loss journey, like losing fifty pounds, but it’s best to have a lot of small goals along the way, like sticking to a set calorie limit for two weeks. Keeping your weight loss goals moderate and short-term helps you knock out success after success, raising your self esteem as you beat a series of realistic, satisfying challenges. Instead of overreaching your abilities with ambitious weight loss goals, take a hard look at what you can actually do, and stick to that. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, and you’ll be more likely to make it to the finish line and to your healthiest weight if you take things one step at a time.
Make Weight Loss Goals Actionable
An actionable goal is one that has to do not with where you’re going, but with how to get there. An actionable weight loss goal is about taking a concrete step in the right direction. Actionable goals are the very best kind, because they immediately tell you what to do, and how to do it. Instead of getting frustrated about how to lose weight, you can just refer to your actionable goal and, well, act on it. Some great actionable goals for weight loss are drinking eight glasses of water per day, making time for half an hour of cardiovascular exercise three days a week, or even going for as many days in a row as you can without grabbing a cheeseburger. These small, actionable goals will help keep you moving forward, shedding pounds all along the way.
Why Many Weight Loss Goals Fail
The right weight loss goals will propel you towards success, but the wrong ones can slow you down, or even stop you from losing inches and pounds. If your weight loss goals aren’t measurable, achievable, and actionable, it’s difficult to build momentum. When you hit a hurdle and don’t have a measurable benchmark of your progress, you can’t look back and see how far you’ve already come. If your goals are too big or overwhelming, you may feel discouraged. If your goals aren’t actionable, you can find yourself lost, and not knowing what next step to take to shed those pounds.