Are you looking to shed a few pounds and get into shape? Setting goals is the first step on your journey to weight loss success. Goals help provide focus, motivation, and direction for achieving any desired outcome. But how do you set practical goals for weight loss?
This blog post will cover setting the main goal, which becomes your north star. We will then deconstruct that main goal into smaller achievable and measurable goals and help you stay on track.
We will then use the smaller goals to create a weekly and daily to-do list. Finally, we will discuss how to treat your weight loss journey like a science experiment and how to adjust your strategy.
Let’s jump in and set some goals!
Primary Goal – Your North Star
Defining your main goal is going to be your north star. This is your ultimate ambition, the driving force behind all future decisions until this goal has been fulfilled.
When deciding on your primary goal, make sure it is specific, measurable, attainable, resilient, and time-bound. For example, “I will lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks”.
Identifying why is the key to setting a decisive, resilient main goal for your weight loss journey. It will help you to stay motivated and on track, even when times get tough.
Congratulations! You’ve created a S.M.A.R.T. goal that can provide direction as you progress on your journey, and you have taken the time to reflect on why it is important to YOU – which will further fuel your motivation along the way!
Small Achievable Chunks
Your goal is going to take a while. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed. The key is breaking it down into smaller, achievable chunks that help you stay on track without feeling like the goal.
When I coach my clients, I encourage them to take this overarching goal and break it down into monthly milestones. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks, then each month, you would have 5 pounds.
Typically when we get to this stage, we can identify if this goal is realistic but it will take some work.
Go Even Further
Breaking your monthly goals into weekly and daily tasks can be a great way to stay on track with your weight loss journey; it allows you to hyper-focus on the smaller tasks, helping you get one step closer to your goal.
What does a week look like
Once we get to this stage of the weight loss goal-setting process, it’s time to start thinking about what a typical week should look like.
This is when we start to plan how many days and times we’re going to devote to exercise, how much time we’re going to spend prepping food ahead of time, and how much time we’re going to spend reading educational material related to nutrition.
What does a day look like
Breaking down your goal into smaller, achievable chunks and creating a daily to-do list will help you focus on the tasks that need to be completed each day to reach your ultimate weight loss goal.
Set up some systems.
Once you have defined the primary goal, created smaller goals, and devised a weekly/daily plan of attack, it’s crucial to set up systems to help you follow through with your plan.
One of my clients decided to hire a personal trainer to help them stay on track with their exercise routine since having someone waiting for them to show up for a session was a great motivator.
Another of my clients created an email reminder system that would remind them to log their meals in their food journal and plan out their daily/weekly meals.
These systems are key to staying consistent and seeing long-term results. Your focus should be on these systems moving forward. Use your compliance with whatever system you have as a barometer for success.
Once you have set up your systems and are ready to start your weight-loss journey, remember that it’s ok to take small successes and celebrate them.
Track progress and set rewards for each milestone reached
Tracking and rewarding your progress is a great way to stay motivated and on track toward reaching your weight-loss goals. As you work towards your goal, measure your progress regularly and set rewards for each milestone reached.
These rewards do not have to be anything extravagant, and they can be as simple as taking yourself out for a coffee or buying something small that you’ve been wanting.
Remember, the key is to stay focused on your goal and keep taking small steps toward achieving it while celebrating your successes.
Stay motivated and focused on your goals.
Weight loss and transforming your body are hard. It requires hard work, dedication, and staying committed.
The only thing I can guarantee is that life will not stop because you are trying to lose weight. Kids will get sick, the bose will ask you to stay late, and you might catch a cold.
It’s easy to get discouraged along the way, but staying motivated and focused on the goal is essential.
To do so, surround yourself with positive and supportive people, and stay focused on why you started your journey in the first place. Finally, use visual cues like a vision board or sticky notes.
Treat your weight loss like a science experiment.
One way to stay motivated and on track with your weight-loss goals is to treat it like a science experiment, where you are constantly testing different strategies to see what works for you.
When we look at the data, the best weight loss strategy is the one that you will stick with. This means that there is no one way to approach weight loss. Instead, you try and find what works best for you!
Let’s say you’ve committed to a strategy that needs to be fixed. This is not the reason for you to quit. Instead, you have learned one weight loss strategy that does not fit your lifestyle.
Being able to pivot and adjust your strategy is essential to success. You will try many strategies, and it is important to recognize what works and doesn’t.
When it comes to setting and achieving weight loss goals, the best approach is to treat it like a science experiment. Find what works for you by testing different strategies and adjusting your plan.
Make sure that you set up systems that will help keep you on track, such as hiring a personal trainer or creating email reminders.
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself when reaching milestones along the way – this should serve as motivation and encouragement towards reaching your ultimate weight loss goal.
Know that you are not alone. I have coached hundreds through weight loss goal setting. If you need someone to bounce your weight loss goals off of, schedule an introductory appointment today.
Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.