Knowing how to set weight loss goals can make or break your weight loss plan. Losing weight is a volatile process filled with many emotions and struggles. Taking the time to set balanced and realistic goals can set you on the right path to achieve the body that you’ve been dreaming of.
Steps To Create Weight Loss Goals
1. Take note of where you are right now
In order to measure progress, you need to acknowledge where your starting point is. Take a note of your:
- body fat percentage
- clothing size
- calories consumed on a typical day
- exercise frequency
The above list is a good place to start, but is not enough. In order to effectively lose weight, you need to also address your lifestyle, habits, and even your emotions. Take a moment to look at all aspects of your current life such as:
- What do you typically eat?
- What is your eating pattern (light breakfast, heavy dinner, etc.)?
- How often do you drink alcohol?
- What is your lifestyle like (stressful and coming home late, etc.)?
- When do you tend to overeat (weekdays, weekends, etc.)?
- How much sleep do you typically get?
2. Decide where you want to end up
What is your ultimate goal? Set a target weight. At this point, you should also think about the benefits you wish to reap from losing weight. Do you want to be physically attractive? Do you want to be free of all the weight-related illnesses? Do you want to have an active life with your spouse/kids?
3. Set your goal for one thing at a time
It is tempting to make all changes at once, and hope for the best. However for most people, changing everything at once is too much and not sustainable. Focusing on one change at a time is a lot easier, manageable, and sustainable.
Make a list of things you need to change to lose weight, and start with one thing. Start with an obvious one that will be easier to achieve. But you must give yourself real goals for these. Don’t slack.
Set a reasonable time frame to change this first item, maybe a few weeks or a few months depending on what that is, and know that you have to stick to this.
Focusing on one thing at a time can be very powerful. You can really think about how you will change and have strategies in place. For example, let’s say your first goal is to limit soda to one a week. You can think about when you tend to drink soda and why. If you enjoy the carbonation, you can try sparking water instead. If you need the caffeine, you can try drinking tea (green tea is recommended) instead.
Maybe next, you can move on to the goal of exercising once a week. If you have never exercised regularly, start with a small goal such as walking 20 minutes once a week. Again you can focus on this one goal and strategize. When is the best day/time for you to walk 20 minutes? Where will you walk? How can you enjoy your walk?
In the beginning, if you are only changing your lifestyle habits (and not exercising or cutting calories), you may not lose weight. That is ok. You are laying the groundwork for future weight loss.
4. Set realistic weight loss goals
This is the most important part. You do not want to set unrealistic goals. The purpose of setting goals is to HELP you lose weight. If you set unrealistic goals, you will naturally not achieve them, which will discourage you and may make you feel like you failed. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic, aggressive goals. If you lose more than your goal, fantastic! You can always be happy about that. But set goals that you can achieve, and relish each achievement. Any improvement is an achievement really, and leads you closer to your ultimate goal.
5. Revisit your weight loss goals
Did you know that companies update their financial plans constantly throughout the year? This is because reality is almost always different from our plans (especially our optimistic plans). Perhaps you had a really stressful week/month/year and could not make any progress. That is fine, and it is called life. Create new weight loss goals and/or new timelines for yourself, and continue with your weight loss efforts. The only important thing is to never give up and never stop!
As you start your weight loss journey, you will be amazed how much you will learn along the way, about yourself, about food, nutrition, and the human body. This wealth of knowledge that you accumulate will ultimately enable you to lose weight and keep it off. So don’t ever give up trying to lose weight. You are a lot closer to your goal than you think.