It’s amazing how many people start a health or weight loss programme, without any clear goals of what they want to achieve. This is like setting out on a car journey, without really knowing your destination!
It’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve as otherwise, how will know when you have got there. Establish your weight loss goals first. It doesn’t just have to be about a number on the scale, but should preferably include, how you will look and feel when you achieve your weight loss goal. It is a good idea to keep a journal or log of your weight loss journey. I would suggest buying a really nice little book from the beginning and writing down your goals. For example, how much weight do you want to lose, how quickly do you hope to lose it and so on. The S.M.A.R.T approach to setting goals (you can have a look at my previous blog for more details about this) is a good starting place to help you be clear about what you want to achieve.
Are your Goals S.M.A.R.T.?
· Specific – what do you want to achieve?What is your starting point ie how much do you currently weigh? What date are you starting your weight loss journey?
· Measurable – How will you know you have achieved your weight loss goal? What will you see, hear and feel? What will you be saying to yourself? What will others be saying to you? What will be your evidence that you have got there? How will you measure your achievements? Will you weigh yourself weekly, or will you know by your dress sizes changing, or how your clothes feel? How will you measure your amount of exercise? Will you note how many minutes you have walked? Will you have a pedometer to help you? Will you keep a note of the zumba classes you have attended? Will you use a star chart to log your exercise at a glance ( I will talk about this more in the 12 weeks when we discuss exercise).
· Achievable- Can you achieve your goal? Do you believe you can achieve this? If the answer is no, then you need to re-think your goal and maybe get support and help from someone else to help you.
· Realistic – Is your goal realistic in the time available? Remember a healthy weight loss is between 1-2 pounds per week.
· Timed– When do you want to achieve this by? Do you have a special occasion in mind, eg a holiday or wedding?
To be a clear goal, however you decide to do it, it must tick all five parts of the S.M.A.R.T. goal test. “I want to lose 15 pounds.” Is that specific? Yes. Is it measurable? Yes. Is it achievable? Yes. Is it realistic? Yes. Is it timely? No. You haven’t decided when you would aim to achieve this by. If you said, “I want to achieve this in 2 weeks” then yes, it would be timely, but now it would not be realistic or healthy for you.
As well as setting your long term, smart goal, it’s also important to set some milestones along the way. This will help you keep on track, will keep you motivated as you achieve them and help you to feel good about what you are doing.
So write down in your book:
1) What are your targets for the first week?
2) Your target for the first month?
3) What do you want to achieve by the end of 2 months etc
Having clear goals and milestones is like having a route map with you on a car journey. You know your destination and you have landmarks (or milestones) to help to get you there.
Also if your goal involves being “slim” – be more specific. What does slim mean to you? I would suggest that it is personal to each and everyone of us. Slim could be being at a size 16 for some clients or it could be being at weight that means you have a healthy BMI or it could be about your appearance and your quality of life (eg having more energy, or being able to run around with the kids etc) Slim is the weight that you want to achieve and will be able to achieve for you.
So right now, start planning your goals and getting clear about how fabulous you are going to look when you are slimmer, healthier, have more energy and can wear those gorgeous summer clothes in only a few weeks’ time.
In my next post, we will look at taking action and stopping procrastination. Until then… happy goal setting. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org