The best way to get started on any weight loss program is to set goals.
The reason many people wander off track and lose motivation is not having clear, attainable and step by step goals to guide them and focus their efforts.
So if you’re just starting out making changes to your diet and exercise routines, or if you’ve been struggling to stick to plans you’ve already made, it’s time to reassess what you want to achieve.
As well as a long-term target, you should create medium and short-term goals that you can check off along the way, focusing on actions and achievements that will help you get to your final destination.
Here’s how to create a weight loss plan that will get you real results…
How To Set Realistic Goals For Weight Loss
It’s important that your goals can be broken down into specific actions you can take to achieve them.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you need to focus on what steps will help you to actually achieve this.
You might decide to set a sub-goal of aiming to take a 45-minute walk five times a week. Or to make an effort to replace your unhealthy snacks with fruits and vegetables.
Concentrating on the day-to-day lifestyle actions you can take makes your goal more achievable and will keep your motivation high.
Choose a goal that you can actually see yourself achieving. Don’t promise to exercise two hours each day if you know you don’t actually have time to do that.
And aiming to lose 20 pounds in two weeks is not only very difficult to achieve, it’s also unhealthy.
By setting unrealistic goals, you’ll only be more likely to judge yourself harshly and lose motivation quickly.
It’s better to set a smaller intermediate goal, and extend on that once you have achieved it.
Although it’s important to choose a goal that is realistic and attainable, you should also make sure you’re actually challenging yourself.
Take small, progressive steps towards your target, but choose steps that are going to push you to extend yourself beyond where you already are.
If it’s too easy, you won’t see fat burning results as fast, which is likely to discourage you.
Your goals should be concrete and specific, making it easier to assess whether you have achieved it or not.
For example, planning to ‘exercise more’ is a less effective goal than deciding to exercise four times a week.
Similarly, ‘eating less junk’ is harder to follow than aiming to limit yourself to one chocolate treat each week. Set yourself specific targets and you’ll have more direction and motivation.
Set yourself a deadline, so you a clear target to work towards, which will help to keep your momentum going.
This is why it’s important to have both short and long term goals. If your final target weight will take you a while to achieve healthily, set yourself some milestone goals along the way. It will give you a sense of urgency that will propel you to act now.
It also makes your larger goal seem less daunting and will keep you focused on the real steps you can take to get there, and gives you a sense of what you are achieving at each step.
A good goal should be measurable, so you can break it down into steps of action and track your progress.
This will help you to stay motivated, because it will remind you that small steps along the way are achievements in themselves, and you’ll see the progress you are making towards your final goal.
Frame your goal in positive terms. The human brain responds better to doing things rather than not doing things or avoiding things.
For example, instead of planning not to snack on chocolate, decide to focus on eating healthy snacks.
If you think of it as a substitution rather than depriving yourself, it will be easier to stick to and you’ll feel happier about it. Think about each step as introducing positive changes into your life.
Write it down
Keeping all this points in mind, write down your goals to crystallize what you want to achieve.
It’s important to actually write out your plan rather than just think it or talk about it. Because it forces you to think about it in more detail and to give you a real roadmap you can refer to along the way.
You’ll probably be forced to assess your priorities, which will help to give you a sense of commitment.
Writing down your goals also means that you can harness your ambitions and gain control over what you want to achieve, rather than feeling overwhelmed by it all.
Once your goals are in writing, make sure that you refer to them regularly. Each time you do, you can consider if you need to review and revise them.
You should also think about the progress you have made towards reaching them, and keep track of what you’ve done.
Whether it’s positive or negative, you can use this information to help make changes to your current behavior patterns if necessary.
Keep visualizing your goal to remind yourself why you’re doing all this hard work – and that it will be worth it in the end. Stay positive and in no time you’ll be working towards looking and feeling your best.