How To Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Weight Management

Setting goals can help to provide direction and motivation towards achieving lasting change in your life. This is especially true when starting a weight management program. However, all goals are not created equal. Goals that are vague or unrealistic, for example, may in fact sabotage your efforts, leaving you feeling discouraged when you don’t reach them. The Mayo Clinic has created a goal-setting approach to help you successfully manage your weight, called S.M.A.R.T. Follow these guidelines to create your weight management goals and start on the path to success!

                  S = Specific

                  M = Measurable

                  A = Attainable

                  R = Realistic

                  T = Timely (or Tangible)

    Specific. Make sure that your goals are clear and specific. Incorporating a plan of action into your goals will help you to focus your efforts. For instance, instead of setting a vague goal to “lose some weight,” a more specific goal would be: to lose 10 pounds by jogging 5 miles, three times a week.

    Measurable. When setting goals, be sure that you structure your goals so that you have a way to measure your progress. Being able to track the progress you’ve made will keep you motivated to stick with your plan. “I want to look good in a bikini” is an immeasurable goal, and won’t allow you to track your progress along the way. Re-worded as “I want to lose 15 pounds in three months,” you now have a goal that you can measure by weighing yourself regularly and recording the dates of your weigh-ins to see if you’re on track towards reaching your target date.

    Attainable. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to find ways to achieve them. However, if you set goals based on someone else’s expectations (such as your doctor or family member telling you you need to lose weight), or that are too far out of reach, it is unlikely that you’ll commit to them.

    Realistic. Setting goals that are realistic and achievable are crucial to your success. While they should be ambitious, your goals should also represent objectives you are both willing and able to work towards achieving. Sometimes it is helpful to break large goals up into smaller goals.
    Timely (or Tangible). Creating a timeframe in which to achieve your goals gives you a set target to work towards. Without a timeframe, your goals may be too vague and won’t force you to commit to them. The “T” in S.M.A.R.T can also stand for Tangible, meaning that you can experience it with one of the senses. Tangible goals are easier to make specific and measurable, thus making them more attainable.

    Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.


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