Andreia’s no-nonsense guide to setting a weight loss goal and plan
While I am always hearing from people that they want to lose weight, very few actually seem to be on the right track to achieving their objective. If you find yourself in a constant struggle to lose weight, you might be going about it incorrectly. Let me share with you how to set up a plan to achieve your weight loss goal and why it is so important.
Determine what you want.
Wanting to lose weight and actually setting a weight loss goal are two very different things. For example, you want to maintain a healthy body. This is not a true goal, as it is not defined, or measurable. Does “healthy” refer to a normal blood pressure? Or your body weight? Or perhaps your body composition? You see, there are many ways to define and specify an objective. So, the first step to setting up a plan is to actually determine what it is that you want. Write down your goals, starting with the general goal.
If you want to lose weight, then write that down. Do you want to be physically healthy? Have more energy? Sleep better? All of these are great objectives! Now let me show you how to turn these into concrete goals!
Make them SMART goals.
All of your goals should be SMART…
Specific –Where do you want to lose weight? What part of your health do you wish to improve?
Measurable –How much weight do you want to lose? How much time can you commit and actually devote to a weight loss plan to achieve this? Set your target and timeline.
Achievable –Do you have the skills and knowledge to lose weight correctly and the healthy way to get it done? Do you have the resources to do so?
Reasonable/Realistic – Can you follow a weight loss plan on the given amount of time considering your schedule and other commitments? Is the amount of weight you want lose achievable given your timeline? Are you being too ambitious? Or not ambitious enough?
Timely – Have you considered other factors regarding your health that may be of concern should you go into a weight loss program? If you do, have you consulted a professional if it’s the perfect time to start and you’re good to go?
Despite these, there should be some room for flexibility in your goals to allow for some changes in your schedules or unplanned circumstances. Be open to the idea that there might be some little changes and adjustments to your goals or to achieving them along the way without being lax or losing focus.
Write them down.
Next to where you have written your general objectives, write down the details you envision for each goal to define each objective precisely. By writing them down, you are beginning to commit to something more concrete. I recommend that you put your goals where you can always see them rather than writing them in your planner or diary and then tucking it away after. Post/place your note somewhere visible where it can serve as your constant reminder. As a screensaver on your desktop computer/laptop maybe? Or how about posting it on your bathroom mirror or dresser?
Tell people about it!
Make it known that you are on a mission! People always support a good cause. You won’t believe how much support you’ll get from the people who care about you and how this can keep you motivated and focused! You might even discover someone who wants to achieve the same goals as yours and be your buddy or even inspire others like yourself to take up the same healthy objective.
Be sure that your family members are also ready to be there for you when things get tough. If you need help or fall behind, reach out to your partner or friends for a little help!
Make it a routine.
Now that you know exactly what you want, and people are rooting for you, it’s time to work harder towards your goals until it becomes a part your daily routine. To lose weight, you must draw a healthy eating plan as well as a daily physical exercise in advance. Be sure to engage in an active physical lifestyle by including this in your daily and weekly schedules ahead of time. The rule of 21 applies very well here! If you commit to making an effort to do something for 21 days, it might just become your habit. If working for your set goals becomes a part of your daily routine, and ultimately a habit, the likelihood of success of achieving your end goals is doubled right away.
Plan ahead for failures and hiccups.
It is certain that along the way, you will eventually hit a wall. Lose your motivation, miss a workout or go for the sugary meal you’ve been missing out on. It happens to everyone! Encountering these bumps and slumps along the way doesn’t mean you failed, though.
Expect hard times and you’ll be more prepared when it happens. Know that reaching your goals is a process, and it is something you should work hard for and enjoy at the same time. Being prepared simply means that even if there will be times when you’ll take more calories than you should or skip a day or two at the gym, you’ll never lose sight of your weight loss goal. There will be some short detours, but you’ll jump right back on the horse in no time to continue working hard to achieving your weight loss plan. No bump or slump can completely get you off the track if you have planned ahead.
Track your progress.
A great way to stay on track and follow your plan for weight loss is to track how you are doing along the way. I don’t recommend weighing yourself too frequently, though. Once per week or bi-weekly is more than enough. Find other ways of tracking your progress besides your body weight. We know that the scale is not always the most accurate way of determining if you have lost weight. A measure of your waist or hip circumference is also an excellent tracker for progress on a monthly basis.
Celebrate the small stuff.
Finally, and I learned this from the great astronaut, Chris Hadfield; “If you view crossing the finish line as the measure of your life, you’re setting yourself up for a personal disaster.”
Make it a point to celebrate your small successes along the way. You followed your workout plan perfectly this week or perhaps you managed to say no to that slice of cake. No matter how small a milestone is, it is still a milestone, so don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back and be proud of your achievement. Do not dwell on and get drowned by the enormity of your desired end-goal. Your weight loss goal is your objectives for a healthier you, they are not to define or measure your life.