If you have ever set a weight loss goal and failed to reach it, you know how discouraging it can be. Every time we fail at weight loss, we lose a little more confidence in ourselves and our ability to lose the extra weight and keep it off. It does not take long before we are convinced we can never do it and we give up completely.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons this happens is because we set goals that are unrealistic. The purpose of a goal is to provide motivation and draw us toward it. We should enjoy moving in the direction of our goal. But if a goal is too big, too distant and too complicated, it will not motivate us; it will overwhelm us and paralyze us. It will work against us and be more likely to bring failure than success.
Keep reading to learn the secrets of setting realistic weight loss goals.
1. Attainable. A realistic and effective weight loss goal is one that is small and attainable. Your goal needs to be something that you can reach in one or two weeks. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” say, “I want to only eat dessert once a week for the next two weeks.” This is a goal that you can reach and it will have a profound impact on your weight: giving up dessert for most of the week! Two weeks is not very long to wait to celebrate your success, and the closeness of it will help to keep you motivated.
2. Controllable. Your goals need to be things that you can actively control. Setting a goal of losing X number of pounds is not completely within your control. There are many things that affect your weight—water retention, physical activity or even weight lifting can cause the scale to go up. By setting a specific poundage loss, you are setting yourself up for discouragement, and it is largely out of your control. Choose instead a controllable goal. For instance, you can control how many days a week that you exercise. A good goal would be, “By the end of next week, I will have worked out X number of minutes.”
3. Measurable. A realistic goal is one that you can measure, so that you know when you have reached it. Saying, “I am going to eat fiveservings of vegetables every day” is much better than saying, “I want to lose a lot of weight.” The first goal is measurable, the second is too vague.
How can you transform your view of goals and your expectations to help you achieve your goals?