Health & Wellness Articles

Write Your Vision Statement for Weight Loss

Find Out Why You've Set Your Goals

If you give it some thought, I bet you’ll agree that losing weight is not really your goal. Sure you want to lose weight and it's important to you. But why? Is it because some number on a scale is really that important and meaningful in and of itself? Probably not.

If you’re like most people, you probably want to lose weight because in your mind that will make it easier for you to live the kind of life you want to live.

What this means in concrete terms will be different for everyone. It may involve solving or preventing medical problems; living to see children and grandchildren grow up; having the ability to do activities that you enjoy (or need to do); or looking in a mirror or going out in public without feeling like some kind of escapee from a circus side show act.

But whatever your real goals might be, losing weight is just one thing that will help you achieve those goals. It is not the ultimate goal itself, and that's important to keep in mind while working on your weight loss. Maintaining your motivation for a long-term project like weight loss means clearly picturing the real reasons for all of your hard work. If you make the mistake of getting the means confused with the ends, at least two major problems can develop:
  1. You may develop weight loss tunnel vision. You’ll be so focused on the scale and your weekly weight loss drama that the inevitable ups and downs you experience will make you miserable, stressing you out so much that you become your own worst enemy. Emotional eating, here you come.
  2. You’ll make the first-then mistake. This involves the incorrect belief that you need to lose the weight first, before you can do anything else about reaching your actual goals. This is a tragic mistake. You may arrive at your weight loss goal, only to realize that being lighter doesn’t magically solve other problems in your life. Many people go back to their old ways at this point, regaining the lost weight. If you expect everything to be different when the weight is gone, but don't work on making other necessary changes, you'll put too much pressure on your weigh-ins. You’ll tell yourself that not dropping pounds means you are still that much further from having the life you want, but that’s just not true.
To avoid these problems and others, you need to prepare your Weight Loss Vision Statement right now!

Writing Your Weight Loss Vision Statement

A comprehensive and wide-ranging Vision Statement sets the stage for everything that follows in your weight loss efforts. This Vision Statement can (and should) provide both inspiration and direction.

Your Vision Statement should tell you why you want to lose weight or get fit, and why the hard work and effort to accomplish your goal is worth it. Your answers to these "why" questions can include some "general" elements (feeling good about yourself, being around for your grandkids, being a good role model, having the career or relationship you really want, etc), but as much as possible, the big picture you paint here should have specific details. You can generate this detail by asking yourself questions like:
  1. What do I want my life to look like in (1, 5 or 10) years? Explain what you want to be doing, the roles you want to take on, how you want to see yourself, etc.
  2. What would my ideal days look like? Explain why you'd look forward to getting up in the morning, the first thing you'd do every day, who you'd spend time with, the good experiences you want to have each day, how you'd face challenges in your daily life, etc.
  3. What personal values (love, human connection, security, independence, comfort, variety, interest, excitement, contribution to society, family, career success, etc.) do I want my daily life to express and reflect? Include how you'd rank these values if you had to choose between them at any given moment.
Your Vision Statement doesn't need to include all these questions and answers—just your main goals and concerns that float to the top. The questions are just tools you can use to get yourself thinking. It should also include your beliefs about why losing weight is crucial to meeting your "big picture" goals.

Your Vision Statement should tell you what else (besides your weight) needs to change within yourself and your life to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. For example, you could take the list of ranked values you created above and compare that to the values that appear to be guiding your life right now; you could compare your ideal day to your typical day now.

It is crucial NOT to get down on yourself over the way things are now. Make sure you are focusing on what you CAN do to change your life as you see fit. If you aren't ready to give up the self-blame, skip this part of your Vision Statement for now.

Your Vision Statement should be in writing. It’s also a good idea to include pictures or other objects that will remind you of your goals and vision on tough days. Use your Vision Statement regularly to remind yourself why you are committed to your weight loss plans, especially on those hard days. For more ideas you can use to prepare your Vision Statement, see:

Create a Vision Collage
11 Things Children can Teach You about Weight Loss
Stop Dieting and Start Living

This article is Step 6 in SparkPeople's Mind Over Body series, a 10-step program to ending emotional eating and creating a permanent healthy lifestyle. View the full series here or continue to the next step.

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Member Comments

  • My vision board is complete!
  • I just found these 10 steps for Healthy Lifestyle. Fabulous. I am already learning so much. It's not just less calories more exercise. I need to delve deeper into WHY do I overeat? Have 2 very pointed ideas on that. I'm retired and I thought I had myself on the front burner, but I don't. I'm just sitting and waiting for life to get great. Hey, that's up to me. No one can do that for me. I'm responsible for every emotion and also every morsel that goes into my mouth. I got sober 10 years ago and that was my decision, my actions, my 12 steps, and many many One Day at a Times. I can apply these 10 steps and 12 steps to change my unhealthy eating habits. Thanks Sparkpeople.
  • This is a great article. I printed it out so I can utilize the information to write my own Vision Statement. Thanks so much!
  • This is a great article. Started SP in July 2014 and lost 37 pounds by the end of December 2014. Although I have gained some of it back, I'm no where near where I was. I will turn 65 this year and I am working on keeping my weight down. I will utilize this article to help me visualize my goals better.

    Thanks SparkPeople!
  • My vision board is complete!
    I want to thank Spark People in general for the wonderful information, recipes and articles that you give to all of us. MOST OF ALL I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU PROVIDE IT ALL FOR FREE!!!! I am 71 years old. I am working on my vision plan and I am going back so that I can see the five articles that came before this one. I do not participate in most blogs or in the Community pages. I don't know why but I am examining that aspect of my weight loss journey. I have lost weight several times in my life but I always allow it to come back and then I hate myself again. I am trying really hard to stick to the Spark People eating plan but I am still struggling. I do rely very much on the scale and I am trying to weigh only once a week and rely more on my tape measure. I walk at least 7000 steps each day and I know it is my eating that is the problem. Thank you for being here for us.
  • Write a Vision Statement??!!! I'm not a writer. I'm also a realist. I look in the mirror and see what really exists, a 65 year old fat Goodyear Blimp! This is not negative, it's fact. And you can't argue with facts. Can I change it? To some degree, yes. But I'm not 40 years old anymore, I can't walk for 45 minutes. Realistically, if I'm consistent (daily) with nutrition and exercise, it will take me at least 2 years to take the weight off. So, yes, I focus on the scale, because that's my only way of tracking how I'm doing.
  • Lordy! Every time I read one of your blogs I am moved - if not swept away! Thank you for being here and writing these posts. I have been a spark member for nigh on to 6 years and have never done a vision collage because ... I couldn't see where to start. Thanks for that too.
    I find the more I focus on the scale, the less luck I have. We tend to focus so much on what we need to lose with weight loss, that we tend to forget what we are gaining: better health, more energy, increased self esteem, a longer life. This reminds me that I need to focus on the beautiful gifts I will be gaining, and if I do that, the weight is more likely to take care of itself. I still weigh myself, but my primary focus is no longer the scale and the number to the point where I obsess over it. It's about balance, inspiration, and doing this for ourselves and a healthier lifestyle. =)
    I get it - and for the most part I agree. But my main goal is to fit in my cute, smaller clothes. The ONLY way that is going to happen is if I lose weight - and that means focusing on the numbers on the scale and measuring tape. If I'm truly honest, everything else (easier movement, better health) is all secondary. I know I'm pretty. I know I have a great, positive personality. I just want a hotter body. Unfortunately, I also love all the foods that make me fat.
  • Wow, i rally loved this article it hadso much good information. I'm s glade i found ths site.
  • Great article. I do really well at weight loss then stress, hubby and anxiety get the best of me. I can't help I keep picking the wrong ones for husband material. I have been married to hubby #2 for over17 years but often feel like throwing in the towel.
  • When we goal set sometimes we need to purge not only our kitchen cabinets of bad food products, but other negative influences as well. rethinking our choices in what we allow into our lives has a profound result in our success with our weight loss, and maintenance for life at our final goal weight. Negative creates stress, stress creates the hormones that increase our Omentum fat, we ruin our health and looks when this happens. For myself, I have not only purged my kitchen, I have purged other areas as well. What television or radio shows I watch, who I socialize with, what gym I attend, what volunteer groups I'm involved with, what social clubs, and friends and family who to put it bluntly...just drag me down and are sources of sabotaging my weight loss goals.
  • Good points. But, this little gem: "looking in a mirror or going out in public without feeling like some kind of escapee from a circus side show act." -- that was a pretty cruel statement. This is the kind of crap that overweight people need to stand up AGAINST -- especially morbidly obese individuals who struggle with disabling issues EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. They don't need to read stuff like that -- especially when they're HERE trying to change their lives. Be kind. It's pretty easy, really.

About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

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