How To Make SMART Weight Loss Goals And Get On Track
We all find ourselves with a few extra pounds to lose now and then. But when trying to slim down, most people struggle to follow a plan and to see results.
One solution? If you’ve ever heard of “SMART” goals, you know that SMART weight loss goals might be just what you need to get back on track and stay there.
Why Goals Matter
Weight loss is a journey. Trying to lose weight without a goal is like trying to navigate your journey without a map. Where are you going? How are you going to get there? With a specific plan in place, you will be able to track your progress, change course when needed, and stay motivated throughout the process.
What Is a SMART Goal?
“SMART” goals are a popular type of goal setting tool that make you more effective at implementing your plan and seeing results. “SMART” is an acronym, and each letter stands for one aspect of creating a SMART goal. A “SMART” goal is:
When setting your goal, get specific! The more specific, the better. Don’t say “I want to lose some weight,” or “I want to lose 10 – 15lbs.” Think about your current weight. What is your ideal? What number do you need to see to put yourself back into a healthy BMI? Name it. Write it down. “I want to lose __ lbs,” or “I want to reach__ weight.”
Maybe your goal is to eat healthier. But don’t quit there – it’s too vague. Make it specific.
What does eating healthy mean for you? Does it mean following a specific diet plan? What types of food can you eat? The more detail you can add to your goal, the easier it will be for you to track your successes and to stick with your plan.
Measurable means just that – that there is something about your goal that you can measure or track. For example, if you want to lose 10 lbs, how can you measure your progress toward your goal? You could track your weight each week to see whether you are achieving the results you are striving toward.
If your goal is to eat more healthy snacks, how can you measure or record your progress? If you want to work out more often, you could log your workouts in order to verify whether you are meeting your desired frequency or length of workout time.
When a goal is Measurable, you have a way to analyze data in real time to see if you are achieving it or not, and to make adjustments when needed in order to make that goal happen.
Achievable – Make sure that your goal is realistic! If you have a goal to lose one pound per week, this is a realistic goal because we know- and doctors confirm– that it is possible to achieve this amount of weight loss with some dietary and lifestyle changes.
But a goal of losing 10 pounds in a week is not realistically achievable. If your goal isn’t achievable, you’re setting yourself up to fail from the start! Don’t do that. Make sure your goal is something that you know is possible, and that you have the necessary tools to achieve.
When a goal is Relevant, it is in alignment with what you are most wanting to achieve.
Let’s say that your big goal for yourself is to be healthier. But of course, that is not a SMART goal, because it is not specific or measurable.
So you thought about what you would need to do or change to be healthier, and you decided on healthier eating. You set a goal for yourself to begin taking one health boosting supplement each day.
Is this goal “relevant” to your bigger picture desires for being healthier? Yes! This is an excellent “relevant” goal! On the other hand, a goal to work less, clean the house more often, or earn more money would likely not be relevant to your big picture.
Making your goal time bound is a way of attaching a deadline to your efforts. How many times have you procrastinated on an important project until the last moment before it was due, and then rushed to get it done?
What if there hadn’t been a deadline- would you have ever gotten to that project? A deadline creates a sense of urgency and a “finish line” for you to celebrate at! It’s easy to say you want to do something “someday” and then never take action to achieve it.
So, instead of saying “I want to lose 10 lbs,” make your goal time bound. “I want to lose one pound a week for 10 weeks.”
Now you know how to make a SMART weight loss goal. If you have tried and failed to stick with weight loss efforts in the past that’s okay – it happens to the best of us! The important thing is not to become discouraged. A new strategy may be just what you need to get going.
Whether you’ve hit a plateau, fell off your plan for a week or two, or you are just getting started on your personal health and weight loss journey, give SMART goals a try and see if they work for you!