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Setting a SMART Goal - Tips for Weight Loss

Updated on August 13, 2015

Have you written down your goal in your day planner?

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Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Patton, 21, of Oakland, Calif., performs raised pushups during a fitness enhancement program (FEP) workout in the hangar bay of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Patton, 21, of Oakland, Calif., performs raised pushups during a fitness enhancement program (FEP) workout in the hangar bay of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). | Source

If you just got in your car and said, “I'm going to Houston,” you may or may not get there depending on if you know how to get there, how close you are, if you have the gas or a reliable car, etc. It works the same way with weight loss. The clearer you can visualize your destination and the path to get there, the more likely you are to succeed. Is it realistic for you to get where you're aiming, and is it even healthy? If you aren't sure what weight is healthy for you- read my hub, What Should I Weigh? Your goals should be SMART- that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Specific

Your goal should answer those old questions you learned in English class- Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Measurable

Instead of just saying you want to lose weight- decide how many pounds or how many inches. You should be able to track your progress and know when you've accomplished your goal.

Attainable

It is realistic to lose 1 to3 pounds a week from diet and exercise. If you are working with a dietician or personal trainer, they may be able to help you lose more than this, especially if your beginning weight is higher and the benefits outweigh the risks. Your ultimate goal may be larger but you shouldn't focus on losing more than 10% of your current weight at a time. Many smaller goals are more attainable than one large goal.

Relevant

Cutting soda is great, but if you only drink one can a day, it's not going to make a real impact within your goal time frame. If you eat fried foods most days- that's where to substitute something healthier. There is no single diet or exercise program that works for everyone because all of our tastes and habits are unique. Don't just follow what some generic plan tells you to do- make it matter to you. It is also important that you WANT to lose this weight, really and truly. Not just that you want the weight to be gone but that you want to go through the work of losing it. Why do you want to lose? Are you trying to fit into a wedding dress or bathing suit? Feel more comfortable in your clothes? Keep up with your kids/grandchildren? For help, read my hubs, No Excuses- Finding Your Motivation for Weight Loss, and How to be a Stronger Person Inside and Out.

Time-bound

Set a date. Put it on the calendar. (If its written down, you are more accountable and you can look back to it for motivation. Otherwise, its too easy to "forget" or cheat and lose sight of your goal.) As long as you've been honest with the rest of your goal setting, and you stick to it, you will achieve it. This isn't just the date you want to achieve your goal though, you're also committing how many days in a week you're going to exercise.

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Example

“Amy wants to lose 20 lbs in 2 months by walking/jogging 30 minutes on her treadmill 5 times a week and instead of eating fast food every day, she's going to limit eating out to once weekly, because she wants to look good in a bathing suit this summer”

Specific: Who? Amy What? Wants to lose 20 lbs. When? In 2 months. Where? On treadmill. Why? To look good in a bathing suit this summer. How? By walking/jogging 30 minutes, 5 times a week and limiting fast food.

Measurable: 20 lbs. 2 months.

Attainable: 2-3 lbs/wk is attainable. Amy currently weighs 205, so 20 lbs is an ok first step (10% of her current weight)

Relevant: She usually eats most of her meals in her car after pulling through a drive thru. If she took the time to buy groceries and prepare meals, she knows what a healthy meal looks like and she enjoys eating that way. To keep her going, she will reward herself for successful weeks by following the advice in my hub, The Best Fast Food for a Diet.

Time-bound: 2 months to lose 20 lbs. Walking/jogging 5 times a week.

I have also found that setting an immediate SMART goal, a larger one, and an ultimate one can help as well. For example, you might set a goal for this month, then a goal for 4 months from now, then your dream goal. This helps you keep what you're doing now in line with where you intend to be in the future.

If you found this information helpful, please use the Share button below to pass it on, as someone else may find it helpful. That's why I write every hub I write- what good is a gift in your pocket when you can share it with others?

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    • Matthew Ryczko profile image
      Author

      Matthew Ryczko 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Marcy! I'm so glad you liked this article (:

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I like the way you organized this into manageable steps! Great job! Voted up and useful!

    • Matthew Ryczko profile image
      Author

      Matthew Ryczko 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Robin! I'm glad you found this information useful (:

    • profile image

      Robin Kemp 5 years ago

      You have given some specific strategies for weight loss. Your hub is clear and to the point. Thank you.