Well-planned weight-loss goals can help you convert your thoughts into action. Here's how to create successful weight-loss goals.
Weight-loss goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Well-planned weight-loss goals keep you focused and motivated. They provide a plan for change as you think about and transition into your healthy lifestyle.
But not all goals are helpful. Unrealistic and aggressive weight-loss goals — for example, losing 10 pounds each week or fitting into your high school jeans — undermine your efforts. They're difficult, if not impossible, to meet. And if your goals are beyond reach, you're more likely to feel frustrated and discouraged and leave your weight-loss plans by the wayside.
So how do you create weight-loss goals that will help, not hinder, your weight-loss efforts? These 10 tips can get you started.
Personalize your goals. Set goals that are within your capabilities and take into account your limitations. Also, take into account your personal fitness level, health concerns, available time and motivation. Tailoring your expectations to your personal situation helps you set achievable goals.
Aim for realistic weight-loss goals. Healthy weight loss occurs slowly and steadily. Aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. To do this, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day through a low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Losing weight more rapidly usually means losing water weight or muscle tissue, rather than fat.
Focus on the process. Make your goals "process goals," such as exercising regularly, rather than "outcome goals," such as losing 50 pounds.
Changing your process — your habits — is the key to weight loss. Make sure that your process goals are realistic, specific and measurable. For example, set out to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Think short term and long term. Short-term goals keep you engaged on a daily basis, but long-term goals motivate you over the long haul. Your short-term goals (for example, running 30 minutes every day) can become stepping stones to reaching long-term goals (running in a marathon).
Write it down. When planning your goals, write everything down and go through all the details. When and where will you do it? How will it fit into your schedule? What do you need to get started?
Pick a date. Timing is crucial, often making the difference between success and failure. Choose a definite start date and don't put that date off for anything. Be sure to account for life circumstances that might hamper your efforts, such as work or school demands or relationship problems. You may need to resolve some issues before starting.
Start small. It's helpful to plan a series of small goals that build on each other instead of one big, all-encompassing goal. Remember that you're in this for the long haul. Anything you undertake too intensely or too vigorously will quickly become uncomfortable and you're more likely to give it up.
Plan for setbacks. Setbacks are a natural part of behavior change. Everyone who successfully makes changes in his or her life has experienced setbacks. Identifying potential roadblocks and brainstorming specific strategies to overcome them can help you stay on course.
Evaluate your progress. Review your goals each week. Were you able to successfully meet your goals last week? Think about what worked and what didn't. Make plans for how you will reach your goals this week.
Reassess and adjust your goals as needed. Be willing to change your goals as you progress in your weight-loss plan. If you started small, you might be ready to take on larger challenges. Or, you might find that you need to adjust your goals to better fit your new lifestyle.
Edited by: MOMMA48 at: 3/10/2009 (21:05)
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