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Motivation Articles  ›  Goal-Setting Techniques

Advice for New SparkPeople Members

A Little Help from Your Friends

-- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader
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Do you remember the feelings you experienced when you first joined SparkPeople? You might have been nervous or excited about committing to a lifestyle change, worried about whether or not you would succeed, or overwhelmed at exploring all the tools and resources that SparkPeople has to offer. If you're experiencing these feelings as a new member, you're not alone. Even our most experienced and successful members had to start somewhere. Now, their experiences can help you.

Here are some pointers from long-time SparkPeople members that will give you a push in the right direction:

YVONNE.PALMER: "Remember to set short and medium term goals—especially if you have a long way to go. I have found that breaking my desired total loss into smaller chunks has helped me tremendously because the smaller bits are 'doable,' where the total number seems impossible. Also, I have found pacing myself to be vital. With the initial enthusiasm I had when I started, I wanted to rush off and start a huge exercise program. Common sense prevailed, though, because I knew I would not have the time or the energy to sustain that very long. By gradually increasing, I have managed to incorporate a lot more activity into my lifestyle and that is likely to remain rather than be ditched at the first hurdle."

CHUBETTE: "Use all the tools available on SP and find a buddy."

MARIEK1995: "Track everything—food, exercise, water...it makes a difference. Plus use the tools available, recipes, message boards."

REBCCA: "Begin each day by writing down five things you are grateful for, as cultivating an attitude of gratitude crowds out any deprivation feelings."

JAZZORAMA: "Take time to explore the site. Become familiar with all the wonderful tools available to help you on your journey, such as the food tracker and the exercise tracker. Also, concentrate on mastering your three 'Fast Break' goals: drinking 8 cups of water per day, going for a walk, not eating in front of the TV...whatever three goals you have chosen. Try to make those goals daily habits over time."

KARMABUG: "Involve yourself on the message boards. There is no better support than what we all give each other to help us reach our goals."

LILSPARKGIRL: "Be truthful and count every bite. Stick to the fitness plan. Shake it up and try new foods."

NANCYJAC: "Emphasize using the Resource Center. It is a great wealth of information on so many topics."

For more advice, or to share something that helped you when starting out, visit our What Advice would You Give to a New SP Member? Message Board thread.
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • As weight loss is a journey, so too will be exploring all the useful tools on the SparkPeople site.......enjoy the journey one stop at a time!!!! - 2/7/2013 11:01:11 AM
  • Thanks for the advise! I hope I can be sucessful at this! - 5/16/2012 11:06:13 PM
  • Great article and advice! I am resisting the temptation to make a goal that is too big. I know I am going to be successful thanks to all of the help available from everyone on this site! - 4/30/2012 10:10:32 AM
  • I read the article and it makes sense to me old saying( Rome wasn't built in a day) I agree with the article - 11/19/2011 6:40:12 PM
  • today I am hoping this is a start of a healthy lifestyle for myself and child. It seems to be alot of fun, hope i can keep up, I'm not very good at finding my way around on the computer. But I am going to give it my best. - 3/17/2011 5:00:12 PM
  • It is such a pleasure to meet others in my age group who are struggling to become healthy again. I hope to improve my flexibility and exercise tolerance. Presently I could go to sleep after doing very lilttle. I am fighting it and each day it seems to get a little better. I was always active and still am to a ceratain degree. I am a nurse and need to be able to lift very heavy patients ( some weigh in excess of 350 lbs.) I am 71 years old and am in fair to good health. My biggest problem is the weight . I am 45 lbs overweight and I have bilateral hip replacements. My goal is to live to see all my grandchildren finish college and be healthy along the way. MaresL - 5/30/2009 8:39:18 AM
  • I just joined this Tuesday, 3/2/09. Still finding my way around. Think I'll do better next week, since I'll have the weeks menus in advance. Right now I'm doing a lot of substituting. I sure would like to see more lean meat in the menus. I really like chicken and fish. I am 67 years old and don't need the calories I've been eating. YIKES. My hubbie isn't much help. He weighs over 300 lbs. Double YIKES.
    chat later, bye for now - 3/5/2009 2:05:43 PM
  • It takes time to become familiar with the SP site. I joined in March but didn't get started until April on the weight loss journey, so I now belong to both teams - March and April. But it is so worth it! Such a helpful site with all of its motivational talks and the nutrition tracker is valuable beyond words. Thank you, SP - 10/23/2008 9:36:55 PM
  • FRANCESTWO1
    I enjoy being member of spark people.I kneed help learing all about computers. So please bare with me .Iam sure i will get better at learning at sending messages. - 10/23/2008 9:03:44 PM
  • I am somewhat 'lost' here, so this is valuable to me! Thanks - 9/11/2008 10:35:13 AM