As with everything in life, setting goals for your weight loss is an incredibly important part of achieving your ultimate aims. The trouble is, many people often dive into weight loss without proper planning, and creating realistic – and achievable – actions they can actually meet. Without this kind of plan, there is little chance of fulfilling your targets, and the chances are that you will fall off the wagon at some point, without making much progress at all.
So, while there are a million and one guides and posts on losing weight, today we’re going to touch on something that is, perhaps, even more important: setting achievable weight loss goals. This guide will go through everything you need in your armory to plan ahead, set the right kind of targets, and get your new weight loss regimen off to the best possible start.
Setting Achievable Weight Loss Goals 101
OK, so let’s start with the best way to set goals. The first thing to understand is that it is vital to be realistic about what you are trying to do. For example, rapid weight loss of anything more than 2 pounds a week is recognized by many medical professionals as unsafe – so the most you should try to lose is about 2 pounds per week. For example, if you want to shift 25 lbs of weight, your ultimate aim should take you just more than a year – that’s a very realistic goal and highly achievable.
It’s also important to be incredibly specific about what you are going to do. As an example, a lot of people start out by saying they will exercise three times a week. But what, exactly, does that entail? You are far better off going into detail, such as walking briskly for a half hour on a Monday, jogging for an hour on Wednesday, and attending a circuits class on Friday. Not only does this mean you don’t have to plan your activities on a weekly basis, but you can also make sure you have dedicated time slots which you can fit into your day and stick to.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of tracking your calories. While there is more to losing weight than just ‘calories in < calories burned,’ it’s an excellent place to start. And instead of just saying ‘I’ll cut down on eating,’ again, it’s vital to be specific. Work out your recommended calorie intake according to your BMI, and get yourself a calorie counter app – there are plenty of free ones you can find in your app store of choice.
Stop Talking About Weight Loss!
The next point is a hugely important one: stop talking about your weight loss goals! Losing weight is one thing, and it’s great – but it’s actually a short-term concept. Once you hit your ideal figure, how do you intend to keep those extra pounds from coming back? The truth is that successful weight loss isn’t about shifting pounds at all – it’s just a benefit of making better lifestyle choices, and, in fact, forming different life goals.
If it isn’t feasible to continue your plan after you hit your targets, the chances are you will put all that weight back on. All those bad habits you used to have will come back to haunt you, and without making those all-important changes, it’s likely you will return to your former figure, attitude, and sedentary lifestyle that got you into trouble in the first place.
So, when you set your targets, always think about the long-term changes you are making. What is more realistic? Is it living on cabbage soup for the rest of your life, or are you more likely to succeed by being mindful of what you eat, and allowing yourself the occasional treat?
Learn The Ropes
Another big reason people fail to meet their weight loss goals comes down to a lack of information. While it might seem obvious to say, unless you know what you are doing, success can be tough to achieve – and that goes for weight loss as well as anything else in your life. And unless you are willing to put in the effort – mentally as well as physically – it’s unlikely you will get near hitting your targets and changing your lifestyle for the better.
The good news is you can learn a lot online for absolutely nothing. Blogs like this one host a wealth of information that you can use to increase your knowledge about health and fitness, and will also teach you about some of the problems you may encounter on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Having the tools you need can help you be successful.
Also, even if you don’t have time to spend poring over every weight loss post from your favorite site, there is still plenty of help available. A personal trainer can teach you, and you can learn a lot from doctors, physios, and nutritional experts, too.
Ultimately, you need to learn the ropes to have a basic understanding of why you are doing specific workouts or eating particular foods. And once you realize what it is all for, your ultimate goals will be all the more achievable.
Breaking Things Down
The next step is to work on the ins and outs of your new weight loss plan. Let’s be clear here – weight loss is a big project, and approaching it from the perspective of ’you must lose x amount of pounds’ is likely to end in failure. Instead, you need to break that huge target into more achievable goals.
As with any other project in life or business, there will be milestones to plan, and risk factors to manage – and you need to make yourself aware of all of them.
To get started, try writing down what you want out of your lifestyle changes. Then it’s a case of breaking each of those goals into smaller chunks, including milestones, and a few ideas of how you might achieve them. It’s also vital that those milestones are pretty easy to accomplish in the early days. And as you progress, you can set yourself more challenging targets.
The Importance Of Motivation
No matter how supercharged and excited you are about embarking on a weight loss plan, there will likely be troubling times ahead. There will be days when your motivation deserts you, antipathy sets in, and you feel like giving up. It is essential that you understand where you can get help when the chips are down. You have two choices, here.
The first comes from within. Self-motivation is an integral part of breaking through your mental roadblocks, and a great way of keeping yourself on track is to remind yourself why you are doing this.
So, before you start your weight loss journey, get writing! Jot down all the reasons why you want to make changes. Write about how crucial it is to you – and your family. Be frank, too – outline how you are feeling, and all your pain points, fears, and self-consciousness about your current situation. And finally, don’t forget to write down your dreams – where do you want to be when all this is done? The journal you create here should give you as much ammunition as you need to defeat discouragement and self-doubt.
The second source of motivation can come from others. As you can see from ClubFitness.us and other fitness sites, reading other people’s stories can be a great way to motivate yourself. You’ll find that you are inspired by other people’s successes, especially those that started off in worse condition than you were ever in.
But it’s also vital that you get support from family and friends. Before you get started, tell them you need their help – whether it’s to look after the kids for an hour every other day, or just to come along with you for the occasional workout. You’ll be surprised at how effective the support of your loved ones can be – so try to involve them, if at all possible.
Match Your Regimen With Your Lifestyle
Not all exercises work for everyone. You might hate the gym, for example, or dislike a particular type of food. Perhaps you have an injury from your youth that prevents you from going jogging, or maybe you are allergic to one of the critical foods on a particular diet plan. Obviously, if your weight loss plan includes these activities, it’s unlikely you would succeed.
So, make sure you consider your current lifestyle when setting your goals. There are alternative exercises out there for anyone, whether it’s using home DVDs, joining a local sports club, or swimming instead of high-impact activities like jogging.
It’s the same thing with nutrition and dieting. If a recommended food is something you don’t like, find out why it’s important to eat and understand the vitamins and nutrients it gives you. Then it’s just a case of finding another source of those same nutrients, to make sure your body gets what it needs. As we discussed earlier, knowledge and research will be a powerful tool on your route to weight loss success, and this point underlines why.
And there you have it – following these guidelines should lead to a successful and achievable weight loss plan. Good luck on your journey!
What tips do you have for setting achievable weight loss goals? What works for you?
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If you enjoyed this, you may want to check out:
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