8 Amazing Goals You Can Achieve in the Next 8 Weeks

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you're just starting a long weight-loss journey, it can be tough to keep up your motivation week after week, much less month after month, or even year after year. We all know that slow and steady wins the weight-loss race, with "get thin quick" schemes often proving to be unsustainable or even downright dangerous. That said, acknowledging some small, short-term victories can help maintain your momentum along the way while setting you up for success, short-term goal by short-term goal.
Instead of feeling discouraged by the long road ahead, try shifting your focus to specific goals you can achieve in the next eight weeks. While you may have an ultimate goals in mind (lose 100 pounds, run a 5K, etc.), setting a few short- or medium-term goals is a motivational hack to keep you pushing toward a benchmark victory before you ultimately reach your finish line. These little victories along the way are not only great for your self-esteem and determination, but they'll also fill you with purpose and instill lifelong healthy habits. Start with these totally achievable targets, or substitute your own!

Ways to Be Great in 8 Weeks

1. Increase your water intake.
It's been proven that the body often mistakes thirst for hunger, which can easily lead to hundreds of unnecessary calories each day. Make it a goal to gradually boost your water intake up to eight cups per day. Over the course of eight weeks, you can strive to increase it by one cup per week.
Registered dietitian nutritionist Mandy Enright recommends easing into a more H20-friendly life by making minor daily changes, such as setting a timer to remind you to drink water throughout the day, keeping a refillable water bottle handy to monitor intake and using water-drinking apps. If plain water isn't your favorite beverage, try adding flavor by infusing it with fruit, herbs or essential oils.
"In addition to increasing intake of water, a bonus side effect can be decreasing intake of other beverages, most notably coffee or soda," says Enright. "If just one of these beverages can be swapped for water each day, that provides a decrease in caloric intake."
2. Get a stronger core.
Strengthening your core—the muscles that support your abdominals and back—not only gives you a flatter tummy, but also improves your posture and makes it easier to perform your workouts and daily activities.
Not a fan of crunches? You can build a stronger core in two months with this 8-week plank challenge from Runner's World magazine. If the idea of planks makes you quiver, don't fear—this challenge is geared toward beginners, starting out with short, 15-second planks and gradually extending the hold times each week. By the end of the challenge, you should be able to complete four 50-second planks and 10 back extensions.
3. Complete a 60-day workout streak.
It may sound daunting, but once you make it a regular habit, working out consistently every day will become a manageable goal, and maybe even a source of stress relief. Start now with just 10 minutes of exercise—whether it's walking, jogging, doing the elliptical or lifting light weights—and repeat that every day for the next seven-and-a-half weeks. 
4. Eat more whole grains.
While the recommended daily serving of whole grains is 25 to 38 grams, most people only consume around 13 grams. According to nutritionist Toby Amidor, adding more whole grains has a slew of health benefits, including reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Plus, they can help you feel more satiated after eating meals—which means you'll be less likely to go hunting for snacks in an hour or two.
Amidor does caution against going from eating very few whole grains to an all-grain diet overnight, as it can cause digestive issues. Instead, she recommends adding more grains slowly. Each week, try switching one food to make it whole grain or add a whole grain. For example, if you like your peanut butter and jelly on white bread, switch to 100 percent whole-wheat bread. The second week, if you usually eat white rice, switch to quinoa or sorghum. "By slowly changing over to whole grains, after eight weeks you should be meeting the dietary guidelines recommendation of making at least half your grains whole," says Amidor.
5. Reduce your stress level.
Stress is blamed for a myriad of issues, from headaches and insomnia to irritability, heart disease, depression and weight gain. If you're among the one in four people dealing with significant stress, it is possible to regain control and achieve a more calm, centered mindset over an eight-week period.
In a study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, those who participated in an eight-week meditation program actually experienced physical changes in brain structure. Specifically, there was a reduction of gray-matter density in the amygdala, which has been shown to influence stress and anxiety. Look for a meditation app online or commit to discovering a relaxation technique that works for you over the next eight weeks.
6. Master a new fitness feat.
Set a goal to tackle a new fitness challenge, such as performing 100 pushups (or even just 10!), running or walking a mile, mastering a yoga pose or stepping outside of your comfort zone by completing a weekly exercise class. If you're stumped for ideas, try talking to a personal trainer or friends to see what goals they've set for themselves in the past. From there, it's just about creating a consistent program that progressively challenges your stamina or strength. 
7. Deep-clean your social media.
Over the next eight weeks, focus on upgrading the quality—not always the quantity—of your online communities. Strive to fill your screens only with content that inspires and motivates you to become a better version of yourself. Follow health-oriented people and companies who post positive, encouraging messages, and unfollow any individuals or groups that aren't conducive to your goals. Over the two-month period, you should start to notice a more constructive and motivating online environment.
8. Lose up to 16 pounds (about two pounds per week).
If losing weight is part of your health and wellness goals, you'll achieve more long-term, sustainable results by ditching the crash diets and shedding pounds slowly. The most effective strategy to lose two pounds per week is eating nutritious meals, tracking your food intake and exercising regularly.

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RAPUNZEL53 8/6/2020
Great Report
2DAWN4 8/2/2020
I am going to work on some of these goals. But the first one is going to deep clean my soical media! Report
ROBINRS 8/2/2020
might try planking. Report
PLATINUM755 8/2/2020
Nice list... Thx! Report
STORMYG56 8/2/2020
Great ideas! Some I am already working on. So this was motivating! Report
LISAMARIE2015 8/2/2020
Great tips!! Report
AZMOMXTWO 8/2/2020
thank you again Report
GMACAMI 8/2/2020
interesting article and comments Report
CECTARR 8/2/2020
Thanks Report
JILLIAN0216 8/2/2020
Great ideas and some I surely can work on. Report
LEANJEAN6 8/2/2020
I love this! Report
NEPTUNE1939 8/2/2020
ty Report
Great ideas of small goals to try Report
KIMP123 8/2/2020
This is so timely that I found this article. I will be incorporating a few of these suggestions starting today. Thank you! Report
MARITIMER3 8/2/2020
4 1/2 months into COVID-19 restrictions, I needed to read this today. There are so many things that I CANNOT do... thank you for showing me that there are things I still CAN do. I am starting today with the 10-minute fitness challenge. Report
RCLYKE 8/2/2020
Great advice Report
So great! Will implement some of these! Report
EMGERBER 8/2/2020
A second reading of this article and still more things noticed to implement. Report
Awesome, thanks Report
DMEYER4 8/2/2020
awesome Report
JANIEWWJD 8/2/2020
Great reread Report
LIS193 8/2/2020
Great things to work on Report
METAFUKARI 7/23/2020
Getting a stronger core and make social media more positive, YES! Report
CHERYLHURT 5/18/2020
Excellent Report
USMAWIFE 3/16/2020
thank you Report
QUEENFROG 3/6/2020
same Report
Some great information. Report
Thank you! I think that I’ll try 2 of them. Report
2DAWN4 1/11/2020
I love setting goals for myself.........even if I don't reach them. At least I tried! Report
RAPUNZEL53 1/11/2020
Interesting Report
CECTARR 1/11/2020
Thanks Report
AZMOMXTWO 1/11/2020
thank you Report
RCLYKE 1/11/2020
Great info Report
A great reminder! Especially the core challenge. Wondering if my shoulder and elbow can handle it. Report
NANCYPAT1 1/11/2020
Thanks Report
LEANJEAN6 1/11/2020
great ideas to work on Report
Who are the experts? Ask yourself “how’s it working out for you?” Standard America diet does not work for all. Think outside the box and heal your body and lose weight with the ketogenic lifestyle. I have and lost weight also. Report
Who are the experts? Ask yourself “how’s it working out for you?” Standard America diet does not work for all. Think outside the box and heal your body and lose weight with the ketogenic lifestyle. I have and lost weight also. Report
EMGERBER 1/11/2020
Great list! Report
AQUAGIRL08 1/11/2020
Thank you for the reminders! Report
NEPTUNE1939 1/11/2020
ty Report
FERRETLOVER1 1/11/2020
Great. Report
CD24848958 1/11/2020
Thank you Report
LIS193 1/11/2020
Good article Report
JANIEWWJD 1/11/2020
Great artcle!!! Report
PAMBROWN62 1/11/2020
I wish I could lose 16 pounds that quickly. Unfortunately, I am at the end stage of my journey and the inches are coming off much more readily than my pounds are. Report
FRAN0426 12/27/2019
Thanks for the great tips Report
Achievable goals. Report
Great ideas. I think we all have to decide what we can and cannot do. We can modify if we need to. Thanks. Report
Thank you but many of these ideas for exercise, even starting slowly, would overwhelm a senior or anyone who has large amounts of weight to lose.
Would like it if SP would categorize these articles next to the title so we know,beforehand what we are picking. Report