As with most things in life, it helps to set goals and track your progress. That way, you’ll know where you’re going and when you’ve achieved your goal. Goal setting will also give you a clear view of your goals along the way so you can keep track of whether or not you’re going to meet your final goal.
But, many people set goals that are unattainable or unrealistic. If you set goals that you can’t reach, you will never succeed, and you will become frustrated and give up the whole project.
So, the first step in reaching your goals is to make sure they’re realistic for you. There are three things to look for when you’re setting your goals. They should be:
If your goals don’t have these three characteristics, they will be much harder to attain. So, instead of setting a goal to lose 100 pounds in 6 months, which might be attainable, but the end is very far away, try making it your goal to lose 1-2 pounds each week. Then celebrate every time you reach that goal. Pretty soon, all those 1 and 2-pound losses will add up to a big weight loss.
Sometimes behavior goals work even better than weight goals so, for example, you can make your goal to drink 8 glasses of water every day for a week. This goal is doable, measurable and very specific. Best of all, it will help you lose weight, which is your end goal.
Set goals for exercise, how many vegetables and fruits you eat every day, and keep an eating journal to record what you eat. The feeling when you’ve accomplished a goal is often reward enough for many people.
Playing the Numbers Game
As tempting as it is, don’t let dieting turn you into a scale watcher. If you’re always watching the scale, you will become obsessed with your numbers. Then, if your progress is slow, you will start to become frustrated and feel like a failure. But there are other ways to measure progress besides the scale.
Another great way is to track your measurements. Sometimes these numbers will go down faster than the scale and will show your success. If you take your measurements weekly, and keep a log, you’re going to feel good about your progress and you won’t lose hope too soon.
It’s best to measure around your upper arm, waist, thigh, hips and your bust or chest. If you take these measurements every week, you will be able to see just how much your body is changing.
Another way to measure your progress is a body fat test. You can use electronic measuring devices or calipers to measure your body fat. As with your measurements, sometimes you won’t be losing weight, but it will be obvious that your body fat is decreasing.
In addition to the above physical body measurements, there are several medical measures that you can track to measure your success. For example, your doctor can help you track the following:
- Heart Rate
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Glucose
It is amazing how just a few weeks of dieting can change these essential numbers. These are the measures that will show your success so keep a journal where you can see and appreciate your progress or create a graph that will visually show how you’re doing and let that chart become your inspiration.
Remember that dieting is a long haul, but you can celebrate many milestones along the way. So, reward yourself for all the small wins rather than waiting until you reach your goal weight.
Here are some goals you can create rewards for:
- Drinking water daily
- Every 5 pounds lost
- Bigger milestones like 20 pounds lost
- Exercising 3 times in one week
- Getting your cholesterol below 200
- Taking less diabetes medication or stopping completely
When you’re deciding what rewards you will give yourself, be sure they are not related to food. Having special meals to reward success is a time-honored way to celebrate, but it’s not a good choice if you’re dieting.
Instead, try rewarding yourself with something that will help you stay motivated, such as:
- Splurge on an outfit in your new size
- Go see a movie
- Get a mani/pedi
- Buy a new pair of earrings (you won’t have to worry about the fit!)
- Take a short holiday
- Get a massage
Just remember that there are many ways to reward yourself and a million reasons to do so. So, celebrate all the little victories, and you will soon find that you’ve reached the biggest one of all!