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Motivation Strategies  ›  Goal-Setting Techniques

Use Smart Goal-Setting Techniques

All Weight Loss Goals are Not Created Equal

-- By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer
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Overall, your health goals should be:
  • Realistic: Start off with a goal that isn't too ambitious, so you can sooner experience the thrills of success. Build toward grander goals to keep your motivation high.
  • Specific: Make sure it can be measured and tracked.
  • Forgiving: Leave room for the "1 Step Back, 2 Steps Forward" principle to apply.
  • Crystal Clear: Find a photo depicting or symbolizing what you want. The clearer the point of the whole thing is, the easier it is to stay focused.
  • Valuable: Remind yourself why you want to succeed in the first place.
  • Challenging: What do you wish for? This is the goal that will hold your attention the most. There's no reason our wishes can't become our goals.
  • Rewarded: Every little bit of positive reinforcement helps.
  • Backed Up: Prepare for the unknown with contingency plans before problems come up. Have options waiting that will help you stay consistent in the face of the unexpected.
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • I'm a firm believer in setting goals and this article puts it into perspective and gives clarity. - 9/27/2013 3:46:24 AM
  • Love the article. - 9/3/2013 12:46:53 PM
  • I like the article. - 6/17/2013 2:40:01 PM
  • really sound advice on goal setting in any context. Thanks! - 10/2/2012 10:16:56 AM
  • I really enjoyed the three articles from this Best of SparkPeople Daily. Very straightforward and motivational. Thanks for reminding us to set goals and to concentrate on each step toward that goal so as not to get overwhelmed. These are keepers. Thank you! - 12/12/2011 9:56:01 AM
  • Straight forward and to the point. Simplifies setting the goal making it a no brainer to get started. - 10/6/2011 7:57:23 PM
  • Great article. - 7/12/2011 9:35:43 AM
  • PATCHESMANY
    great article. I will do this this week. - 6/4/2011 10:53:37 PM
  • What a great article!! I just did quite a bit of what was said last night! So as I'm beginning this new process, I'll take what I've learned here and fine tune it. Woohoo! So excited! - 5/26/2011 12:45:25 PM
  • I read this article in November 2010, and I followed the tips to the T. Six months later, I have met each of the goals I have set, and I feel confident that I am going to meet the rest of my goals. I realized, after reading this article, that the Key thing missing from my previous weightloss attempts was a solid layout of goals.
    Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed and discouraged with my progress and efforts. I'm glad to have found this article by chance again today. Seeing that this helped me form my "blueprints", and stick to them, is encouraging to me. It's also inspired me to reevaluate my plans today and refresh my approach by adding some new goals which I couldn't have foreseen a few months back (i.e. I'm now feeling energetic and fit enough to take up a Zumba class, which was NOT on my original blueprints!) Thanks again, Mike, for a really important and relevant article! - 5/24/2011 1:47:06 PM
  • GrEaT article...comes at the perfect time too, time to redefine those goals i set months ago. - 5/24/2011 12:16:13 PM
  • I would like some advice about what to do when people make unwanted coments about my progress (eg. "oh, you have a long way to go"), or about my slippings ("this way you'll never reach your goal") etc. It really hurts my feelings, and I feel like what's the point?, it makes no difference anyhow.... I know it does make a difference, and I know I want to do this because I want to be healthier, but it's true, I have a very fragile will power, and my self esteem goes down bellow when people make those kinds of comments. - 5/24/2011 11:48:39 AM
  • I am about to start on this journey to lose weight once again. This article really helped me. Long term and short term goals make a lot of sense to me. Wish me luck. - 5/24/2011 8:33:41 AM
  • REMEMBER all, SMART stands for:

    S - Specific
    M - Measurable
    A - Attainable
    R - Realistic
    T - Time bound - 5/24/2011 6:45:37 AM
  • I have had the same goals for 11 years now. Nada. No matter what I do I do not lose weight. I start an exercise program fitting for a 71 year old, and my body gives out. No good feedback, no victories, no nothing. I GIVE UP!!!!!!!!! - 4/12/2011 9:24:52 PM