Goal setting “101”

Have you ever gotten in your car and started driving, not really sure where you were going? What happened? Did you just drive around aimlessly, wasting gas and precious time? Well, that is what trying to lose weight without clear goals is like. It’s a waste of time and precious resources, all at the expense of your weight loss confidence.

A great acronym to remember is S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. When setting any kind of goal for yourself, compare it to this checklist. Here’s an example.

“I will never eat chocolate again”. Specific? Yes. Measurable? Uh, maybe, depends on if you keep a food journal. A piece of chocolate, once consumed, is easily forgotten in a matter of minutes. Attainable? Sure, as long as you make sure to never purchase chocolate again, even if your family begs. Realistic? Hmmmm, not so much. What happens when it’s yours (or someone’s close to you) birthday? What about that never ending candy bowl at work? Vending machine calling your name? Okay. So the goal fails the test; how can we reshape it?

How about “I will enjoy chocolate as a once-a-week reward, and will reduce my fat intake on that day to compensate….” This reshaped goal has all the markings of being S.M.A.R.T., and by tracking the intake, whether on your to- do list, your journal or even your checkbook register, you have now implemented one of the most important, yet most overlooked, success strategies for life-long weight loss management; setting goals is your road map to success!

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