How to Set a Realistic Weight Loss Goal

As many of you know, I am a teacher.  I teach fifth grade to 26 amazing kids.

Last week we were beginning the process of talking about and writing down New Year’s Resolutions (or revolutions as they called it).  We were brainstorming what New Year’s resolutions were and why people make them.  They were pretty quick to come up with what they were – something someone wanted to do in the upcoming year, but setting one for themselves is when the real challenge started.

I got one answer that totally cracked me up.  One boy wanted to grow a long curly mustache and tie bows on the end.  That led perfectly into “how” to come up with a New Year’s Resolution that they could actually attain.  All the other kids agreed that that wasn’t very attainable because they had not started growing facial hair yet!

I realized that maybe people don’t achieve their New Years Resolutions or Weight Loss Goals is because they are not attainable.

When setting a weight loss goal, there are three key things to remember.

1.  Your goal must be realistic – Obviously, a fifth grade boy isn’t going to grow enough facial hair to be able to put bows on it.  I am not going to be able to workout 7 days a week.  It just isn’t realistic for my schedule.  I work a full time job and two part time jobs so working out three to five days a week is much more attainable.  Seven days – I am setting myself up to fail.  Make your goals realistic and attainable.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.

2.  Your goal must be specific and measurable – One child in my class said, ” I want to help my mom more!”  I said that was a great goal but is has to be more specific.  HOW is he going to help his mom more.  He then told me that he was going to do the dishes at least three times a week.  Perfect, I said…that is specific and measurable.  How many people come January say, “I am going to lose weight.”  Then, six months later, they haven’t lost weight and they don’t know why.  If you want to lose weight, HOW are you going to lose weight?  Be specific.  You might say, “I am going to lose 20 pounds this year by going to my Weight Watchers meetings and exercising three times a week.”  Specific, yes.  Measurable, absolutely.

3.  Reward yourself all along the way- Let’s say you want to lose 30 pounds this year and you have a plan to do it.  Every 5 pounds you lose, reward yourself.  Go shopping, get a mani/pedi, get a massage, buy those pair of shoes you have been eyeing.  DO something good for yourself.  You worked hard, you earned it and that just might be the motivation you need to keep going to reach the remainder of your goal.

Now, with all of this, it is okay to challenge yourself.  You don’t want to make your goal so simple that it doesn’t have any benefit to you.  I told my kids this story when talking about setting goals for themselves:

“In January of 2009, I was having severe migraines.  I had been to the doctor several times and had finally been given migraine medication.  In January I decided that I would try to go the whole year, from January 1 to December 31 without eating anything “sweet”.  No cakes, no pies, no candy, no cupcakes, no sugary drinks, nothing that would be considered dessert or full of sugar.”  I then asked them to raise their hand if they thought I did it.  About half of them raised their hand and the other half didn’t.  Then, I proceeded to tell them that I lost 75 pounds that year and let them re-vote.  A few more people put their hand up after they heard I had lost a lot of weight that year.  I told them that I did, in fact, go the whole year without any dessert or sweet drinks and some of them were shocked.  They didn’t think it was possible.  When I set the goal for myself that year, I didn’t know if it was possible either.  But, the headaches were so bad that I HAD to try.  And, shocking everyone, I did it.

I remember I told my fourth grade class that year that I had decided to not eat anything sweet and they totally supported me.  For Valentine’s Day, instead of bringing me chocolates, I got flowers and cards.  They TOTALLY supported me!  This brings me to my last point…

TELL OTHERS!  You will be surprised at how others will help you.  Just this past Sunday, my husband and I were in the grocery story grabbing some things for the week and we supported each other in things we wanted to give up.  I didn’t buy diet soda and he didn’t buy tots.  If we had not TOLD each other that we wanted to try to cut back on those things, we would have purchased them for the other person because we thought we were being helpful.  Well, now that we know we are trying to cut back on soda and tater tots, we can NOT buy them to support the other person.  You will be surprised at how supportive MOST people in your life are when they know you are working toward a goal.

Now, sit down and write out a goal for now until the end of February.  Make your goals small, attainable, and specific.  Then, plan out how you are going to reward yourself when you meet the goal.  Then, immediately call someone close to you and tell them what your goals are.

Set yourself up for success!  You can do this!

Be a Goal Digger

 

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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.