If you’ve embarked on a weight-loss journey, chances are you’re following an eating plan, added healthy fruits and vegetables to your fridge, perhaps started journaling and adding more physical activity to your day. But have you outlined actual goals that can help you succeed at losing and maintaining a healthier weight?
Determining the right goals—ones that are realistic and well-planned—can help you in your weight-loss efforts, while those that are unrealistic and too aggressive may actually sabotage those efforts.1 Read on for six ways to keep your weight-loss goals on track and stay motivated.
1. Be specific—but realistic.
Many people dive into weight loss with ambitions of losing a specific amount of weight, such as making it back to their college weight. And while having such a specific goal is great, being too lofty in your expectations can lead to disappointment—and potentially failure.2
Instead, many experts recommend starting out with a more modest goal, at least initially, of losing 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight, as such a loss can have dramatic positive effects on your health and well-being.3 Once you reach the 5- to 10-percent mark, re-assess where you are, and if you still want to lose more, set a new goal. Continue to re-assess and re-calibrate throughout your weight-loss journey, setting new goals, if necessary, as you go along.
2. Consider what works for you.
We’re all individuals, and what motivates one person may not work for you. For instance, do you like to focus on one over-arching end goal, or do you like to celebrate smaller wins along the way? One study4 showed that people who had the highest weight-loss targets experienced the greatest weight loss at 12 months, although the researchers noted that others may have better results by setting a greater number of smaller weight-loss goals.
3. Focus on the process as well as the outcome.
While it’s great to have a final outcome goal, you may also want to set process goals: how you are going to achieve your desired result.5 For instance, you might set a goal of eating a certain number of fruits and vegetables a day, or going for a walk every day during your lunch break, or getting enough sleep.6 (That’s right—adequate sleep can be integral to your weight-loss success.) In other words, outline a specific, detailed plan of how you will lose the weight you want to lose.
4. Set a timeline.
In addition to setting a goal related to your desired weight loss, come up with a realistic timeframe for yourself to reach that goal. For instance, if you’d like to lose 20 pounds, set a date by which you aim to lose the weight, keeping in mind that a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is realistic—and recommended.7
Setting a timeline will allow you to have an end point in mind so that you don’t feel like the process will go on forever. And if you haven’t met your goal by that date, chances are you’ll be motivated enough to keep going—with a revised date in mind.
5. Set both short and long-term goals.
Short-term goals, such as being able to fit in your favorite pair of jeans or losing another 5 pounds, help keep you on track and motivated. Long-term goals, such as lowering your blood pressure or easing your knee pain, can also be motivating but also signify the lifestyle change that is necessary for long-term weight management.
6. Find an accountability buddy.
Even with the best-laid plans and the most realistic goals, we all can stumble and misstep along the way. So find someone to help you keep an eye on the prize—someone you can call in a pinch, or who can be extra motivating if you find your resolve wavering. If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, your personal weight loss consultant is the perfect person to hold you accountable and help keep you on track!
Above all, keep in mind that losing weight is a process, and there will likely be challenges along the way. Having solid, well-thought-out and reasonable goals can help you keep going—and on the path to being your best you.
Are you ready to set goals, lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle? Contact us for your free appointment to get started.
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig