This is your year! And, do you know when it comes to New Year’s resolutions and setting goals, weight loss is the number one most enthusiastic goal? Though weight loss is the most popular, ambitious goal, research shows that only 20% of goal setters actually succeed in maintaining their long-term weight loss. For many of us, we treat goal setting the same way. We dream about what we want to accomplish, then we put it on the back burner in our heads, failing to create a road map. Our goals need to be more than scribbled ideas on a piece of paper; they need to be complete and focused to come to fruition.
Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
If your goal is to lose weight, the SMART goal setting tactic will work especially well for you. The list below can help you set more focused specific goals that will measure up to what you want to accomplish.
- Be Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
People are more likely to stick with goals that are specific and focused, rather than unclear, unrealistic or not doable. Your goals need to be actionable and measurable. The first most important step you should take is to write your goal out in complete detail.
Instead of saying “I will exercise more,” write, “I will work out a minimum of 30 minutes per day doing all three forms of exercise throughout the week: 30 minutes of cardio 3 times per week, 30 minutes of strength training 3 times per week and 5 minutes of stretching exercises daily.” By writing your goals out in complete detail, you subconsciously provide your mind with a detailed road map to get you there. The more information you give it, the clearer the final outcome becomes.
If there is a clear way to tell if the goal is being met (or not), then it’s specific. The specificity holds you accountable because it minimizes wiggle room that can potentially deter you.
2. Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
When you have measurable goals, you can track your progress and stay motivated, which will keep you focused and excited as you approach your goal. An example of a measurable goal is to write, “Starting January 1st, I will lose 1 pound per week, 4 pounds per month totaling 20 pounds in 5 months (by May 31st).”
3. Achievable (agreed, attainable)
You will be more successful when your goal is more realistic and attainable for you. When you set a new goal, you do want to get out of your comfort zone and stretch your abilities, but you still want your goal to remain possible. To set an achievable goal, you need to ask yourself, ”How will I accomplish this goal and is it realistic for me to achieve it with my current abilities, and do I have the tools, skills, knowledge, support and time?” For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you will have to dedicate yourself to preparing better meals, developing a healthier relationship with food and maintaining a steady exercise routine. You will need to gradually improve your eating habits more and more each day. Breakfast is a good place to start. If you are normally eating kolaches and bagels for breakfast, switch to a more high-protein, high fiber breakfast, such as oatmeal with berries and eggs to reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day.
4. Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
You want to assure that your goal really matters to you. A relevant goal that you really want to pursue will make all the sacrifices to obtain your goal worth it. Ask yourself, “Is this goal worth pursuing, is it good timing, does it meet my needs and desires and can I realistically do this?” For instance, if you are trying to lose weight on every fad diet and you are not successful, you may want to seek professional help from a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you with a plan that works for you, your body type and lifestyle.
5. Timely (time based, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Having a time-bound goal with a target date will give you a deadline to focus on and something to work towards. Create mini goals per day, per week and per month which will eventually lead you to your long- range goal and will also help you track your progress. For weight loss, I like to set incremental goals with a time frame in mind with my clients, which helps to make their goals more achievable.
It’s a new year and if your number one goal is weight loss, then I can help you get there and you will never look back and think about your weight loss struggles again. For more information on Sugar Land Nutrition’s weight loss programs and to book an appointment, please feel free to visit our website @patty.rd.com.