Set Realistic Goals for Success

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When someone sets a weight-loss goal (or any goal), it needs to be realistic because that is what sets us up to succeed. If we set some wild and crazy goals for ourselves that is too difficult or that we know cannot be achieved, we are setting ourselves up to fail and that doesn't get us any closer to where we want to be.
When it comes to weight-loss, many people have a certain number in their mind of what they want to weigh, whether it is because we remember being that weight at a certain time in our life, it is what we think is ideal, or any other number of reasons. For me, I had a number in mind, but I honestly don't know where that number came from. So I had my goal weight in my mind and like many others, I wanted to get to that number fast. But after reading some articles on SparkPeople, I realized quickly that the weight wasn't going to be lost as fast as I would like. I was still feeling ambitious though and set the maximum weight-loss goal of 2 pounds per week. Was that a realistic goal for me? No. Was I defeated? No way! Although, most of the time I was lucky to lose a half pound per week. Even though I did everything right (eating healthy and exercising), I never had a week with a 2 pound loss.
A few months into my weight-loss journey, I realized that I needed to change my outlook on the whole process and come to terms that I needed to update my weekly weight-loss goal with something more realistic. I eventually took my goal down to a loss of 1 pound per week and focused less on the number on the scale. Once I did that and started focusing more on how my clothes fit, along with other things such as my energy level, fitness improvements and other things that are more ideal to work on for a life-long healthy lifestyle, the better I felt and the more I started to see results. Strange as it sounds, when I stopped being so worried about that number, things started to fall in place for me. I not only found a way to set a realistic goal, but I also found a way to not let the scale (or the number on the scale) dictate who I was or how I felt about myself.
I eventually reached my weight goal, but found that wasn't a realistic goal for my body. While it was exciting to reach that goal weight that I had in mind, I would have had to go through drastic measures to stay there, which I wasn't willing to do since it wasn't healthy or realistic. I did find a good weight range for me and I am happy to say that it is realistic for me to stay here with all the healthy habits that I have learned and managed to keep throughout this entire journey. Of course, this all took quite a bit of time and trial and error for me to learn what was realistic and what wasn't. It turns out that creating/maintaining healthy habits and living a healthy lifestyle are more important and realistic than playing the number game with the scale.
Click here to take a quiz and find out if your weight-loss expectations are realistic.
If you took the quiz above, are your weight-loss expectations realistic? What tips do you have to offer for setting realistic goals?

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RYCGIRL 7/24/2021
thx Report
Logging everything keeps my mind with playing games with me. Report
JUDY1676 7/7/2021
Thanks Report
I try to focus on slow and steady weight loss Report
RYCGIRL 12/31/2020
thx Report
CATNAP6291 9/25/2020
great article Report
thank you Report
I took the quiz & it was a good reminder about one's main motivation. However most of us have multiple reasons to sustain weightloss attempts or maintenance of same. I have to admit I want to look better tho' what is important is both being healthier & living longer. To me those last two go together: If you aren't healthy you won't enjoy living longer, or might not make it as many years. Report
Great blog. Thank you Report
Very true, great article! Thank you! Report
Even small progress is still progress Report
Very helpful information. Report
SMART article! Report
Good article. I set a goal of 25 lbs more but no time limit on how long. Just keeping up the good work I’ve set for myself Report
Great article! Report
Good article thank you. Report
I have to be more specific when I write my goals. Good article! Report
Great info, SMART! Report
I could have written this article bc it was my life till I became realistic. I am now near the healthier goal after the original goal weight wasn't realistic. I had gained back 10-20 lbs and finally got motivated to lose it again when the goal was better suited for my body. Report
It took me 5 years and a great deal of trial and error to reach my goal weight. I immediately set a new goal and have not had progress in reaching the new goal over the past year. I am thrilled that I have not gained any of what I lot and fight disappointment daily by not progressing. I continue to be disciplined with exercise..not so much with eating lifestyle to progress to the next phase...but I am trusting the progress I see beyond the scale. I am toned, energetci and generally happy with my lifestyle. Report
I am glad I read this article! I keep thinking that my goal weight is not what I can be at and remain healthy. I am going back to take the poll and see what it says. Report
I didn't take the poll but I am starting to gravitate away from the scale and go with things like how clothes fit and how difficult / easy things are to do etc. Report
Yep, can totally relate to this. My "goal" weight has been 179. Why? Because on the BMI scale, that is "normal" for me. But as my Dr and PA have reminded me on countless occasions, my frame is more suited to be in the 180's, and to be honest, the last time I was in the 180's -- high school -- that was my ideal "fighting" weight! And back then (70's) -- I'm not sure BMI existed, or if it did, no one brought it up!

So what I have noticed is that I'm pretty much settled into the mid 180's -- yesterday the weekly weigh-in was 184.6. And I have been in the 180's now for nearly 3 months. I still want to get to 179, but I have decided not to get all anal about it and let it come gradually. Report
I teach SMART goals to my patients trying to achieve all sorts of changes in their lives. I have added a second "A", however - "Action-oriented". I was noticing that many of my patients (and sometimes myself) would set goals that depended on waiting for something to happen to them (once my medication starts working I will...) or for someone else to do something (when my husband stops XYZ, I will...). Requiring them to identify whether something is action-oriented helps to clarify what active steps they can take to achieve their goal in spite of others or circumstances. Also, teaching other people to set realistic goals helps me stay accountable for my own! Report
I realized that my goals are on going and never ending. Just because I reached a certain number does not mean that I am done..........New goals to reach, new things to try, it's a life style.......... Report
My measuring tape became my best friend and not the scale
Had to laugh when I saw the graphic for this article. My company is running a program on "Wildly Important Goals" and guess how a goal is defined? Yup, SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Report
I realize that my problem is that I only set a weight loss goal. I never took any body measurements. I think I might see more improvement in those areas as my clothes are a lot looser. This blog was helpful. Report