Setting a weight loss goal is essential to ensuring that you have success with your weight loss program. It's actually no different than setting any other goal. You may have already heard of the S.M.A.R.T rule. It has several variations but for the purpose of weight loss this variation seems to work the best: specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time bound goals. Here are some examples of how a SMART weight loss goal may look versus a goal that doesn't follow this principle:
Specific: I want to lose enough weight to fit into my wedding dress vs. I want to lose lots and lots of weight.
Measurable: I want to lose 20 pounds vs. I want to lose enough weight to feel better.
Attainable: I want to lose 20 pounds in 4 months vs. I want to lose 20 pounds this week (you might want to think about using the chainsaw with this one!)
Rewarding: I want to lose 20 pounds so I look great at my wedding vs. I want to lose 20 pounds just for the heck of it.
Time bound: I want to lose 20 pounds in 4 or 5 months vs. I want to lose 20 pounds as quickly as possible.
The combined SMART weight loss goal may read something like this: I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 4 months, enough weight to look great in my wedding dress.
Now that you know how to construct a SMART goal, let's talk about how to figure out what kind of goal will work for you. This will actually depend on your individual life goals. Are you trying to shed some pounds so you can fit in those clothes you bought last year? Planning to switch professions and become a professional athlete? Aspiring to be an abdominal machine model?
Losing weight takes a lot of time and effort. It's very important that your overall life goals are not parallel with your weight loss goals or they will be very difficult to achieve. For example, if you've got an office job that requires you to sit behind a desk 8 hours a day it will be very difficult to have a goal of having a rock hard body that idols a professional athlete. Can it be done with a long enough time frame? Of course it can, just be realistic about what you can accomplish.
Once you have a SMART weight loss goal that is realistic for what you want to achieve, it's time to set up a structure on how to reach your goal. What are the steps that you need to take to reach your goal? When will you take these steps, who do you need to work with, where do you need to go, or how much money do you need, etc, etc? You'll pleasantly surprised to see that your path will become very clear once it's down on paper. And you can adjust things as you go if necessary.
The final step in your weight loss goals will be to execute your plan. Find a weight loss program that works for you, set your goal, and review those steps that you've written down. I know this seems like a lot of work but in the end, when you've reached your goal, you'll be so glad that you did it. Keep your chin up and get to work right away!