The Inside Scoop on Setting a Health Goal

The First Step to Meeting your Health Goal is Making your Health Goal

Before embarking on any weight loss journey, you need something to aim for. It’ll help you keep your eyes on the prize! But you may be wondering, why do a whole entire post on setting a goal? Because. It's. Important. (So important that I broke the rules of grammar and punctuation just to emphasis the fact).

You'll never get where you want to go if you don't know where you're headed.

Let's Break it Down

Your goal should be measurable, specific, and time-oriented.

Measurable = quantifiable.
Think about what you want to achieve, and how to find a way to measure that achievement. Weight loss, blood sugar readings, and number of headaches are all measurable, because you can put a number on them.

Specific = Specific.
Enough said? No? Ok, I'll expound.
Pick a specific number. Instead of setting a goal to reduce blood sugar, make it specific- reduce blood sugar by 15 points.

Time-Oriented = Constrained to a specific time frame. Set a deadline for yourself to meet your goal.

For Example...

“Lose two pant sizes” is specific & measurable but doesn’t give you a good time-frame to work with. “Lose weight by my birthday” gives you a timeline to work with, but it doesn't give you a specific goal weight to shoot for.  “Lose two pant sizes by my birthday” is specific, measurable and includes a good end-date to strive for. 

 

What is Most Important to You?

Most importantly, your goal has to mean something to you. Setting a goal to lose two pant sizes won't work for you if your goal is to decrease fat/increase muscle mass but stay the same dress size. Start by thinking about what you want your end result(s) to be: do you want to a) look better, b) feel better, c) weigh less, d) improve your health, or maybe e) all of the above? (Or maybe NONE of the above?) If you decide (like I did), that you want e) all of the above, then figure out the best way to measure that.

Deciding on a Time Frame for Yourself

The key is to make it realistic, but the rest is up to you! In a future post I’ll discuss a healthy weight loss pace, but for now go with your gut. A ten-pound weight loss in two weeks just isn’t going to happen, but maybe two months from now it can. Take into account things like special events or vacations coming up, how much effort you’re going to be putting in, and how big your goal is.

My Goal is to Lose 10 Pounds...By Christmas

I decided upon this weight loss goal by realizing that a ten-pound weight loss would help me get back to weight at which I looked better, felt better, and was healthier.

Ten pounds isn't a giant amount, but it isn't nothing either. I decided to give myself a little more time than I thought I'd actually need so I could be realistic and forgiving with myself if need be. Knowing how many temptations there are between Halloween and Christmas, I decided it couldn't hurt to have a little extra accountability by having a goal to stick to until then.

Ghosts of Holiday Meals Past

One Last Word of Advice

Be flexible with your goals as time goes by. It’s OK to change your goals based on what you’re experiencing. If you need help figuring out which goals are appropriate for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help! A doctor, trainer, chiropractor, or nutritionist (like me!) can always help. 

Stay Tuned...

... Next time we'll talk about STEP TWO of your weight loss journey: Finding accountability!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post! If my goal is to both be healthier and lose weight, what’s a good way to measure both? I find that’s where I struggle. I can count calories but seem to be the wrong kind of calories!

    • Jessica,
      Good question, because it isn’t always black and white like we’d like it to be. If you’re only counting calories then you have the flexibility to eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your calorie goal. However, being healthy is definitely not just about maintaining an appropriate weight. If total health is your goal then you’d be wise to prioritize protein, vegetables, and fruits, while minimizing sugar and unhealthy fats.
      One simple step is to start your day with a breakfast containing protein, some healthy fat, and some produce. That way, no matter what else happens throughout the day, you know you’ve gotten some of “the good stuff” in (try a smoothie if you don’t know where to start). Alternatively, you could do this with each meal. Figure out where your protein is going to come from (it’ll fill you up and help you build lean muscle), and how you’re going to get your veggies in FIRST, and then build the rest of the meal around it. You’ll still be able to have some of the foods you may really enjoy (like cheese, for example), but you’ll have a better idea of how much of those foods you can enjoy at one time. I’ll put together a full post with some more details in the upcoming weeks, so be on the lookout 😎
      Amy

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