This is exactly how to write SMART goals for weight loss that will get you results instead of leaving you feeling like a failure.
First of all, you are awesome just for reading this post.
It means that you want to get serious about your weight loss journey and working on developing healthier habits.
I don’t care how many times you’ve tried before and not met your weight loss goal.
Give yourself credit for trying again because the worst thing you can do is quit.
(Just ask me how many times I tried and failed before I was finally able to lose 100 pounds and keep it off!)
Maybe you aren’t the problem here. Your goals are.
Every year, I would set the same New Year’s Resolutions:
- Lose weight
- Get healthier
- Eat better
- Exercise more
And every December, I would feel like a failure when I hadn’t lost enough weight, eaten healthy enough, or exercised enough.
When I changed my goals, I was able to actually achieve them and get the results I wanted.
I’m going to show you how to set weight loss goals that actually work.
How To Start Losing Weight
The first step to start losing weight is to get
Chances are, you feel pretty guilty that you’ve let your healthy habits slide and you are embarrassed that you’ve gained weight.
Maybe you used to be a runner and now you get winded just walking up the stairs.
You’re getting back on track starting today.
No matter what your weight is, your fitness level is, or your diet looks like, it’s important that you realize you have to start where you are.
Of course you wish things were different. They will be.
But first, get a realistic picture of your starting place.
Suggestions For Finding Your Starting Place:
- Weigh yourself and record your starting weight
- Use this hand-held machine to measure your body fat percentage at home
- Fill out a weight & measurement tracker
- Use a fitness tracker (like a pedometer, Garmin, or Fitbit) to find out how many steps you take on a normal day
- Use either time or distance to measure how far you can run right now
- Use MyFitnessPal or just a pen and paper to track your food for a few days to get a realistic idea of what foods and how much you are eating right now
- Take a “before” picture straight on and from the side
**Remember, finding your starting place is not about feeling guilty for being where you are now.
It is just a tool to help you develop the best steps for moving forward.
How to Set SMART Goals for Weight Loss
Now that you know your starting place, you should have some ideas on how you want to lose the weight.
Maybe you want to work on improving your diet, getting more active, or drinking more water.
To make sure you actually achieve those things, make sure to set SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Let’s break down what each of those means.
Do you remember my old New Year’s Resolutions that I talked about before?
There is nothing wrong with the idea of losing weight, getting healthier, eating better, or exercising more.
The problem is that all of those goals are vague.
- How much weight is “enough”? What are you going to do to lose the weight?
- How are you going to get healthier?
- What does eating better mean? Eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day? Only having dessert 3 nights a week?
- What does “exercising more” look like?
Words like “more” or “better” are words you want to avoid when you are setting goals.
Get specific about what exactly you are going to do and how you are going to do it!
Which leads us to the next part of setting SMART goals.
You want to be able to measure your progress.
Think about things you could check off of a list.
Everybody might have a different way to measure what “exercising more” looks like, but maybe you tracked your steps for a few days and saw that you were only walking 2,000 steps a day.
Now, instead of saying you will “walk more,” you can decide to walk 4,000 steps a day.
Or maybe you decide to walk for 30 minutes three times a week.
Those are measurable goals that you can write into your calendar and check off a list.
Check out this post for a bunch of great ideas for all kinds of weight loss trackers.
Writing measurable goals gives you a way to write out your action plan for how you are going to lose the weight.
Don’t skip this very important step!
Your goals need to be realistic.
This is why it is so important to find your starting place.
If you are having a hard time walking to your mailbox, you shouldn’t set a goal to run 5 miles by the end of that week.
Take some time to consider:
- your starting place ( your current fitness level, diet, etc)
- your schedule
- your priorities
Then come up with realistic goals that you can follow through on.
It’s important to challenge yourself enough to step out of your comfort zone, but not overwhelm yourself to the point that you burn out and give up.
This is one of my favorite parts of SMART goals because this is where you make sure your goal fits well with your priorities.
Your goal should be relevant to the things that are important to you.
Why is meeting this goal important?
- want to be a good role model for your kids
- are facing bigger health problems because of your weight
- want more energy to do the things you love
- want to be able to get on and off the floor to play with your grandkids
Think about your top priorities in life and why this goal will help you focus on those.
For me, it was important to honor God in the way I treated my body, have the energy to play with my niece and nephew, and increase my confidence to break through my insecurities.
The last part of a SMART goal is making sure it is time-bound. There needs to be a specific day when you will achieve that goal.
It’s okay to have big dreams (like losing 100 pounds), but break it up into short-term goals.
I recommend setting a time limit no longer than 90 days to stay motivated.
You don’t need a big thing to mark the end of each goal you achieve, but the more fun you make that final day, the better!
If you want to follow a couch-to-5k program, ask a friend to do it with you and sign up for a fun 5k at the end. (And check out my beginner’s guide to running for tips!)
Just make sure you set an end date and mark it on your calendar!
Other Tips for Weight Loss Goal Setting
Family emergencies arise, injuries creep in, unexpected work crises occur.
There are so many things you can’t predict in life, so just remember to be flexible.
Set specific SMART goals, but know that goals are not set in stone.
Rather than giving up on your goal altogether when something unexpected happens, take the time to tweak your goal to fit your new situation.
Do The Best You Can In Your Situation.
There is never an ideal time to lose weight.
There is always another holiday, birthday, family trip, work emergency, or school deadline.
Part of setting SMART goals is accounting for real life.
This isn’t The Biggest Loser and you aren’t living on the ranch with the only goal of losing as much weight as possible.
Find ways to honor your priorities, enjoy celebrations, and still stay on track.
The reason SMART goals work so well is because it encourages you to be intentional.
Knowing you want to lose weight is one thing but actually having a plan to move you forward is what is going to get you results!
Track Your Progress
Once you have your SMART goal set, take the time to write things into your calendar.
Plan your workouts, print out tracking sheets for your food or exerciser, write out your running plan, etc.
Having a calendar, checklist, or plan to follow will help you stay motivated as you see your progress working toward your goal.
Check out these bullet journal layouts for weight loss for a fun, visual way to track your progress!
Don’t Give Up
Every single time I tried something new on my weight loss journey, whether it was a crazy fad diet like juicing or a new workout program, I learned something.
The reason I was able to lose 100 pounds wasn’t
It’s because I didn’t give up.
I kept trying, even when things didn’t work (again and again and again).
One small change at a time, I lost 100 pounds and you can get the same kind of results.
Just keep going. You’ve got this!
If you need some extra encouragement, read my letter to you, “Dear Discouraged, Don’t Give Up.“