Achievable Goals Key to Your Weight Loss Success?Posted: Nov 12 in Health And Wellness by Dr. Lazarus
What is the key to success, whether it is losing weight, saving money or following a career path? It might just be as simple as just making goals that are within reach. Achievable goals will create a flow that keeps you moving in the right direction. If you set the bar too high, you fail over and over until you get discouraged and quit. With reachable goals, you create a sense of achievement that pushes forward. Consider some rules for finding success by using achievable goals.
Establish Goals That Motivate
What is the point of having a goal if you don’t get excited about it? When it comes to weight loss, it is common for people to set goals that are difficult, if not impossible for them to reach. Often the goal sets an arbitrary weight that the person wants to reach in a specific amount of time. Ten, twenty or even 50 pounds are all achievable amounts to lose, until you match them with a time scale that is not physically possible. When unrealistic goals are set and not reached, it is normal to feel discouraged and it becomes more difficult to keep going.
To keep motivation high, set many intermediate goals that are smaller and easier to attain. Each success is motivating and helps you move toward the bigger goal without needing to compress the time scale.
Be Specific When Setting Your Goals
Something arbitrary like “I will exercise more” is less promising than “I will exercise for five, 30 minute sessions a week.” Better yet, “I will spend thirty minutes at the gym before work every Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM.” The devil is in the details when setting goals. If you leave it open to interpretation, you give yourself an opportunity to modify the meaning of your goals to fit circumstances. . Make your goals specific and measurable, so you know when you have met them.
Develop Positive Goals
If the goal is to “never eat cookies,” as soon as you eat one cookie you “failed” and might as well eat the rest of the box. How about a goal of “Eat 1 cookie on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work.” This helps you control the number of cookies. Also, since eating the cookie is a positive goal, instead of eating the cookies and feeling guilty about it, you can reward yourself with the cookie, and have the food you like within the context of a healthy eating plan. Similar positive goals can be set for drinking water, having a piece of chocolate, or even a glass of wine (Tuesdays and Saturdays, one white wine glass full of wine, for example).
Develop Goals that are Relevant
Another relevant goal when it comes to weight control is keeping a journal. If you want to cut back on your spending, the best way is to write down everything you spend. Studies have shown a marked decrease in spending just by keeping a financial journal. The same is true for weight control – one of the most important habits for weight control is keeping a food journal. This is not to count calories – it is to help you be motivated and engaged. How about a goal to keep a food journal? If daily is too much, how about keeping a food journal just one day a week, on Mondays? Again, studies have shown improved weight control with this simple goal.
Put It on a Timer
“I am going to start dieting” is not going to work. “My diet starts Monday” is a better approach but even better is to define the date and time. Give yourself a certain amount of time to achieve each goal. You wouldn’t say, “I will save $1,000 sometime.” You would give yourself an exact number of months to come up with that money. Your approach to weight loss should be no different. The vaguer you are, the less likely it is you will succeed.
Let your weight loss doctor help you establish goals that are both realistic and achievable to guide you toward weight loss success.