Starting a new weight-loss plan is no small endeavor. It can be easy for questions like, “How many calories should I be eating?” “How often should I exercise?” “How do I stay motivated?” and “What if I fall off track?” to overwhelm us before we even take the first step. That’s why setting a SMART goal is a great tool for breaking your overall weight-loss goal into small, manageable steps. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Part of the TOPS approach to weight loss is that it’s better to lose weight slowly over time than it is to go full steam ahead—only to give up or revert back to old habits. Here are tips to help make SMART goals work for you.
- Keep it simple. Life can be complicated enough without adding an elaborate goal that doesn’t work with your schedule and daily life. For example, if you have a jam-packed workday and a busy schedule at home, maybe vowing to work out for an hour every day isn’t realistic. Choosing instead to set an alarm on your phone to get up and move a little every hour during the workday could be a better fit.
- Find a SMART goal buddy. The last time our workplace TOPS chapter set SMART goals, we all paired up and texted our partners a picture of us performing our goal. Our “SMART goal selfies” proved to be a fun motivator and a way to stay accountable.
- Celebrate yourself. When you achieve your SMART goal, treat yourself to something special like a massage or a new shirt for the gym. I’ve been eyeing a new pair of running shoes and plan to treat myself if I achieve my personal goal of going to the gym three times a week for ten weeks.
The road to weight loss can be bumpy. But if we pave it with small, simple goals, we can make the journey worthwhile and set ourselves up for long-term success.