01 Aug How to Lose Weight with SMART Goals
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, exercise more or just generally improve your health, being smart about your goal-setting can make a huge difference to your long-term success.
How many times have you decided, “I want to lose weight”, only to find, weeks or months later, that you’ve hit a wall, your enthusiasm is lagging, and you’d rather give it all up?
The problem with setting vague goals like “lose weight” is that it lacks any kind of structure or accountability to help you achieve that goal. How do you measure your progress? How do you know when you’ve succeeded? “I want to lose weight” covers all kinds of unending possibilities, meaning that it’s hard to stay on track, recognise your successes, and stay motivated enough to see it through to the end. “I want to lose weight” has no obvious end.
So how can you lose weight successfully and stick to it? The trick is setting SMART goals that set you up for long-term success. These are goals that are:
So let’s take that resolution, “I want to lose weight”, and give it a SMART makeover.
Your goal needs to be specific. Rather than saying ‘lose weight’, let’s give it a specific figure, a milestone to achieve. Plan your steps: 1lb a week; 6 lbs by the end of summer; 20 lbs by Christmas.
Your resolution becomes: “I want to lose 1 lb a week, until I have lost 20 lbs.”
Taking stock of your success is also key to staying motivated. How will you measure your progress so you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Will you fill out one of our Reward Charts? Or use a fitness app?
“I will lose 20lbs and track my progress each week on my phone.”
There’s no sense in picking a goal you half know you might never achieve. You can’t climb Everest without first conquering the foothills. Evaluate your weight loss history – what have you managed to achieve in the past? Setting a goal way beyond this might be unfeasible.
Rather than deciding from the offset to get your weight right down into the healthy BMI range, why not aim for a 3, 5 or 10 percent body weight loss? Research suggests that losing just 5% of your body weight can bring significant health benefits. Of course, once you reach your goal, you can always set a new one.
The goal becomes: “I will lose 20 lbs, tracking my weekly progress on my phone. I will then re-evaluate whether I want to lose any more weight.”
Next, the goal needs to matter to you. What do you want to lose weight for? Perhaps your doctor has told you it will bring health benefits and could get you off your diabetes medication. Maybe you just want to feel more energetic. Keeping this positive end-point in mind is crucial to staying motivated.
“I will lose 20 lbs, tracking my weekly progress on my phone. I will then re-evaluate whether I want to lose any more weight. Losing weight will benefit my diabetes, potentially bringing down my blood sugar levels and allowing me to come off my medications.”
Finally, every resolution needs to be time-bound in order to give it impetus. Decide on a reasonable amount of time to achieve your goal (1-2 lbs a week is a common goal). Stick to it.
“I will lose 20 lbs by Christmas, tracking my weekly progress on my phone. At Christmas, I will re-evaluate whether I want to lose any more weight. Losing weight will benefit my diabetes, potentially bringing down my blood sugar levels and allowing me to come off my medications.”
Smart Steps to Weight Loss Success
By setting a SMART goal you not only give your weight loss journey structure, but also provide yourself with accountability and motivation along the way. Of course, SMART goals aren’t the only key to success, and everyone could do with a bit of a helping hand.