Set SMART Goals
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A good goal-setting strategy is the SMART goal checklist.
Be sure that your weight-loss goals
— whether a process goal or an outcome goal — meet the following criteria:
Specific. A good goal includes specific details. For example, a goal to exercise more is not specific, but a goal to walk 30 minutes after work every day is specific. You're declaring what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it.
Measurable. If you can measure a goal, then you can objectively determine how successful you are at meeting the goal. A goal of eating better is not easily measured, but a goal of eating 1,200 calories a day can be measured. A goal of riding your bike is not measurable. A goal of riding your bike for 30 minutes three days a week is measurable.
Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have enough time and resources to achieve. For example, if your work schedule doesn't allow spending an hour at the gym every day, then it wouldn't be an attainable goal. However, two weekday trips to the gym and two weekend trips might be attainable. If a particular type of exercise, such as running, is physically too difficult for you, then running every day would not be an attainable goal.
Realistic. For most people, a realistic outcome goal is losing 5 to 10 percent of their current weight. Process goals must also be realistic. For example, your doctor can help you determine a daily calorie goal based on your current weight and health. Setting an unrealistic goal may result in disappointment or the temptation to give up altogether.
Trackable. Goals are best achieved if you keep a record of your progress. If you have an outcome goal of losing 15 pounds (7 kilograms), record your weight each week. If your goal is to eat 1,400 calories a day, keep a food diary. Keeping track can help you evaluate your progress and stay motivated.