It’s another start of a new year – a time to reflect and set your goals and intentions for a fresh start. If you’re setting weight loss goals, it’s important to make them specific and measurable and to track your progress for accountability.
If you’ve ever fallen off the bandwagon shortly after starting, part of this is likely because you either didn’t set clear goals, they weren’t realistic, or you weren’t keeping track of your progress.
But not to worry – there are simple steps you can take to kickstart your goals to lose weight and achieve them…
Keep reading to learn how to establish SMART goals for weight loss to increase your chances of success, why you should track your progress, and how you can receive a FREE template to track your achievements.
The first step in the process is defining your own personal goals. Do you want to lose a lot of weight, or do you just want to lose 10 pounds to fit more comfortably in your old jeans? Regardless of your goal, make it unique to your needs.
It’s important from the get-go to set realistic goals for yourself. If you set unachievable weight loss expectations, you’ll end up feeling like you failed and more frustrated than when you started.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when determining your goals:
- How much weight do you want to lose?
- Why do you want to lose weight? (i.e. to have more energy, feel more confident in your clothes, or lower your cholesterol)
- How much time will you spend aiming for this amount of weight loss?
- What will you do if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you’d hoped?
Answering these questions before setting specific goals to lose weight helps you see where you are right now and define a starting point.
Setting SMART goals for weight loss provides a set standard for goal setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
You may have learned about the importance of setting SMART goals professionally, but they can help you set personal goals as well. And because SMART weight loss goals are very specific, they are easy to monitor and track.
The main difference between a SMART goal and a regular goal is its specificity. A regular old goal may be too generic and unclear, such as “I want to eat less and exercise more.”
In contrast, a SMART goal is more defined and clear, so you can more easily track your progress toward meeting it.
For example, a common goal many people make is “I want to feel better.” While this may be true, you’ll want to dig much deeper.
What does feeling better actually mean to you? Less bloat after meals? Better quality sleep so you have fewer sugar cravings? Write the specifics down so you know what you’re doing is working.
SMART stands for:
Be clear and intentional by writing out the actual numbers and details of your goal. For example, how much weight you want to lose and how you plan on altering your schedule to allot time to work towards it.
Make sure to determine what you will track to determine if you’re meeting your goals. This may include metrics to track such as your weight, waist circumference, water intake, or body composition. If there is nothing to measure, you don’t have a definable goal.
Is your goal achievable? Do you have the time, resources, and support you need to achieve your goal in the timeframe you set? Setting attainable goals is so important, as they increase the chances of your success (and reduce any unnecessary frustration!).
Is your goal(s) realistic? The sky’s the limit when it comes to your weight loss goals, but make sure it is feasible for you.
For example, if you want to go very low-carb but you’re a very active person, this may not be the best option for you and can set you up for hunger and fatigue during your workouts.
Leanbean can be a helpful addition in this case, as it has been shown to curb appetite and food cravings.
You should set a clear deadline for when you are to achieve your goals. You can break up the timeframe into shorter chunks of time if needed to make it less overwhelming.
And while having a deadline is important to hold you accountable, give yourself some grace if you didn’t meet the goal within that time. If that happens, simply take some time to reflect and see how you can modify your goals for the next time.
Research shows when you set more specific SMART goals in this way, you’re more likely to achieve bigger weight loss results.
As you sit down to set your own SMART goals to lose weight, you may be looking for some examples to get started. Here are 5 SMART weight loss goal examples to get your goal-setting juices flowing.
- I will eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack
- I will jog for 20 minutes three days a week
- I will drink tea instead of having sweets at night
- I will use smaller 9-inch plates for portion control. (And if portion control is something you struggle with, Leanbean is designed to curb your appetite and make it easier to control portions).
- I will lose 5 pounds in the next month
Thinking about your own personal challenges and goals in regard to weight loss will help you craft your own SMART goals that work for you. Make sure as you establish goals and determine how you will stay consistent in accomplishing these goals.
For example, you can ask yourself the following questions and then answer them in your own words:
- Question 1: What time of day am I most likely to work out? Where can I put this on my calendar?
- Answer 1: Identify the time, then write it down and block your calendar to make sure it happens.
- Question 2: What are my favorite fruits and vegetables? How can I make sure I remember to include them in my meals?
- Answer 2: Strawberries, apples, and spinach. I should always keep these foods on my grocery list, in stock in the house, and front and center so I’m reminded to eat them regularly.
- Question 3: How will I make it easier to drink tea at night rather than have sweets?
- Answer 3: I can put the sweets in harder-to-reach places like in the back of the pantry or in the freezer so it’s harder to grab them or they are less appealing. I can keep my tea bags and kettle right out on the counter and stovetop so I remember to make it every night.
If your goals are too broad, it’s hard to see progress and feel inclined to continue working hard. Setting SMART goals gives you specifics to work towards and track to keep you motivated.
For example, if you’re able to see the physical changes happening in your waistline but the scale is not budging, that will give you encouragement to keep going. When you see progress happening, you won’t want to stop.
Tracking your progress is a big piece of the weight loss puzzle. This can help you determine any challenges getting in your way, identify all the good things that are happening, and give you insight into anything you need to modify for weight loss success.
While tracking your weight is one important metric to measure, there are several others that offer insight into your progress and provide a more accurate picture of your results.
Here are some metrics you may want to consider tracking in your weight loss journey:
- Food intake
- Body measurements
- Body composition
- Physical changes
- Mental changes
Using a weight loss tracker is one of the best and easiest ways to track your progress. By tracking your metrics on a regular basis, you are able to see your results in a timely manner and make changes to your plan as needed to bring bigger results.
Our free downloadable weight loss progress tracker can be printed and used for your tracking efforts! Download, print, fill out, and keep this front and center to remind yourself every day of the goals you’re working towards (and see all the amazing progress you’ve made along the way).
Losing and maintaining weight is not always easy, and there are many things that will try to throw you off course.
Before you give up or feel like you’re doing something wrong, remember that NOBODY feels motivated 24/7. Even the most elite athletes don’t always wake up ready to crush their goals.
The secret to reaching your weight loss goals is continuing to practice the habits you KNOW will bring you results – even when you don’t feel like it.
Here are 3 easy ways to stay motivated (take a mental note and refer back to these on challenging days).
Are you eating way too much grilled chicken? Doing the same workout over and over even though you hate it? Pick one new recipe a week to mix things up, and consider a new workout such as hiking, dance classes, or training for a race.
Accountability is key to successful weight loss and especially maintaining that weight loss. While we all strive to hold ourselves accountable, the truth is most of us are more accountable to others than to ourselves.
This is why sharing your goals with a close friend can benefit you. There’s something about saying your goals out loud to someone else – it makes them a reality and makes your chances of sticking to them much more likely.
Enlist a good friend or family member to check on you, or consider hiring a professional registered dietitian to help.
Many times we associate weight loss with deprivation and sacrifice – and that’s not the way it should be.
For your diet, focus on what nutritious and delicious foods you can enjoy and keep them front and center in your kitchen.
Doing this will make it easier to eat in a way that aligns with your weight loss goals, and makes it easier to do.
For exercise, keep your workout gear and water out so it’s ready to go the next day. This will save you time in getting set up when it’s time to exercise, reducing any potential barriers that can slow you down.
So you’ve set your weight loss goals and established how you’re going to track your progress. How do you now start to take the steps to achieve those goals?
Starting with a super simple meal plan can give you that jumpstart you need. Here is a 1-day example:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast and strawberries
- Lunch: Chopped salad kit with cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and grilled chicken
- Snack: Greek yogurt with grapes
- Dinner: Salmon or white beans with brown rice and broccoli
To make meal planning easier, lay out the ingredients and prep what you can the night before. This will save you time on super busy days and will ensure you have healthy meals ready to go.
Healthy weight loss takes time, but it is possible. The entire process becomes much easier (and more enjoyable) when you can set specific goals and see your achievements by tracking your progress.
Setting SMART goals for weight loss is an effective way to hone in on your specific goals and identify the necessary steps to achieve them in the timeframe you’re looking for.
An easy way to follow our progress is by logging in a weight loss tracker that tracks your weight, body composition, water intake, diet changes, and many other factors that give you the full picture of your progress.
Celebrate every win, and remember that progress over perfection wins every time.
Lastly, adding Leanbean to your daily regimen can further support your efforts to eat better and manage your portions for weight loss. Learn more about Leanbean, its ingredients, and what the research says to see how it may work for you.
Disclaimer: The information on the Leanbean blog does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as such. If you would like to learn more about your dietary requirements and related aspects of your health, speak with a registered medical professional.