Losing weight isn’t easy. It’s hard work. And it’ll take some time. That sounds pretty discouraging, doesn’t it? I’m not being a debbie-downer, I’m being realistic. And that’s why we need to set smart weight loss goals, realistic goals. Yes, anything is possible but it’s setting up the steps to keep that possibility realistic. You aren’t going to roll over after one trip to the gym and one night’s rest and bam you’re at your goal. That’s not how it happens. The single most effective “tool” I’ve found for sustainable weight loss is to set smart weight loss goals.
- Find Your Focus
Losing weight just won’t happen overnight. What will make it happen is developing better eating habits and exercising. Those are lifestyle changes and it will take a while before they become habits for you. In the meantime, you will need to focus on practicing your new habits daily while focusing on your goal at the same time. If you have a concrete reason of why you want to lose weight you’ll find that focus easier. You’ll feel more motivated. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Do I want to live a long, healthy life? Do I want to set a good example for my kids? Will I have a better quality of life if I make these changes? What are your true motivators for losing weight? Find your focus and use it to reach your goals before as this new lean lifestyle becomes a habit.
- Be Specific
Saying “I need to lose some weight” just doesn’t cut it. Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s the truth. You need to be specific. Set a weight loss goal. Pick a number. How many pounds do you want to lose? How many inches do you want to whittle from your waist? Be specific. The only way you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal is to have a number in mind to reach. Otherwise, while you might make progress, you’ll never reach your goal.
- Set Yourself A Deadline
Someone smart once told me that goals without deadlines are just dreams. There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Without a deadline, you have no frame of reference. As specific as wanting to lose 25 pounds is, without a deadline it could take you a year or a decade. Smart goals have a realistic deadline. Losing a pound to two per week is a realistic goal with a strict diet and exercise regimen. If you aren’t going to be that strict, then you need to extend your timeline. Think about what routines you are going to be able to sustain during your weight loss journey. Set a realistic goal based on that.
Set weekly and monthly goals. It’ll help you notice the progress you’re making and will keep you motivated.
- Celebrate Your Victories
Changing your eating habits and getting your body moving isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been a couch potato until now. Stay motivated by breaking your big goal into little mini goals and celebrating your victories along the way. If your end goal is to lose 25 pounds in 6 months, break it down into 5 pound increments. Give yourself a pat on the back and do something nice or fun to celebrate each 5 pound loss. Just try not to use food as a reward. Maybe buy yourself that new outfit you’ve been eyeing up (think of how much better it’s going to fit now too!) These types of rewards remind you why you’re on this weight loss journey.
- Get Real
Don’t set your goals so high you’ll get discouraged when you don’t meet them. Losing 100 pounds in 3 months just isn’t going to happen. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Instead, set yourself up for success with goals that you can reach … but don’t be afraid to have to stretch a bit to reach them.
And don’t get discouraged if you fall of the wagon every now and again. Life happens and sometimes there’s just no way to say no to that slice of pizza (or two, or three). The important thing is to pick yourself right back up and keep working towards your goals.
- Stay Accountable
It’s nice to have someone that has your back. Find an accountability partner. Ideally this person will be on a weight loss journey as well. You can support and encourage each other. You can call each other out when you’re binging on junk food or skipping your walk yet again. Share your goals with your accountability partner and have him or her hold you to them.
You can do this. You can succeed. Set yourself up for success and you’ll be there before you know it!