Guest Author - Patricia Mitchell
“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” ~Brian Tracy
Trying to lose weight without goals is like driving to some unknown destination without a map or trying to assemble a multitude of parts without a manual. It's important to develop a specific plan for losing weight that will provide you with precise instructions and guidance to help you attain your weight loss goals. Goals can help you stay on track with proper nutrition and motivate you to workout. Additionally, they provide a basis for evaluating the success of your current weight loss plan.
Follow the guidelines below to help you succeed on your weight loss journey. Learn to set goals that are action oriented and that will motivate you to stick with your weight loss program.
1.Set general long term goals- Long term goals are broad ideas of something you want to achieve in the future. A good long term weight loss goal might state how much weight you want to lose by a future date. It's important to set general goals that provide the basis for your weight loss plan, and help you organize the necessary steps to help you achieve your goal weight. Make sure to include a time frame on your long term goals. A reasonable time frame is a weight loss of one to two pounds per week. This will help you avoid a decrease in your metabolism and the loss of lean muscle.
2.Set specific short term goals- Your short term goals should be action oriented and include specific steps to help you reach your goal weight. A good short term goal may be to workout six days during the week or to plan a healthy menu and create a shopping list. Review your short term goals each week to make necessary changes and to set plans for the following week.
3.Write your goals down- Written goals will help keep you on track and focused. It's important to look at your goals frequently to remind you of what you can do each week to bring you closer to your final weight loss destination. Post your goals on your refrigerator or desk to keep you on track and motivated. Write specific short term goals on your calendar that include scheduling your workouts and planning nutritious meals.
4.Evaluate your goals-Evaluate your goals periodically to determine if your weight loss program is effective. There are many ways to evaluate weight loss goals. Make sure you start with a beginning assessment of your weight and measurements. Using a tape measure is a great way to determine if you are losing body fat. The scale is a more generic measure of weight loss and doesn't reveal if you are losing body fat. Although, it's a good indicator of progress, your scale weight can be affected by hormones, salt intake, hydration, and other factors. Therefore, taking measurements with a tape measure is a better evaluation of progress. Generally the measurements are taken of the chest, the smallest area of the waist, the hips, and the largest part of the thigh. Take your initial measurements at the beginning of your weight loss program and reassess approximately every four to six weeks. You may want to weigh yourself weekly, but remember that your scale weight is not as important as your measurements when assessing progress.
5.Revise your goals- Evaluating your progress in imperative if you want results. Frequent assessment of progress can help you determine if your weight loss program is effective. If you are not losing weight and your measurements are not changing, you need to revise your plan by setting new short term goals. If one of your short term goals is to work out three times a week and you are not losing weight, you may need to change the goal to five times a week. Evaluate your plan every two to four weeks and make changes as needed if you aren't seeing progress.