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By Julie Fitzgerald


Tuesday, May 13, 2013.


It sounds like it should be a simple matter, but more and more people begin a health and fitness programme without having any measurable goals in mind. Failing to plan your goals before you start is a lot like diving into the sea when you can't swim.


Your weight loss goals should be established first. That way you’ll have a better idea of how to achieve them. If your goal is weight loss, not only do you need to define that, but more importantly, you need to write a few things down. For example, how much weight do you want to lose, how quickly do you hope to lose it and so on. By using the S.M.A.R.T tool for each goal or mini-goal you will have a blueprint of exactly where you stand. Do remember that a safe, healthy and realistic rate of weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week.


If your goal is to improve your fitness, again write it down and plan how you are going to measure your progress to achieve those goals.


Are your goals S.M.A.R.T.?

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Timed


Whatever way you choose to get to your goal, it must pass all five parts of the S.M.A.R.T. goal test. "I want to lose 20 pounds." Is that specific? Yes. Is it measurable? Yes. Is it achievable? Yes. Is it realistic? Yes. Is it timely? No. You didn’t determine the time period that you expect to lose the weight during. If you said, in 4 weeks, then yes, it would be timed, but now it fails the realistic test. Use the weight loss predictor tool on the main home page to see the exact date you could reach your goal.


Get real about your goals

The goal must also be objective rather than subjective. Think of an objective goal as a stake in the sand. You need to reach a specific point and that point is measurable. You’ll know it when you get there.

If you said, "My goal is to get in shape and lose weight", this is a subjective goal. So, how do you know if you ever achieved it? You don’t.


But if your goal is to "swim 2 extra lengths of the pool every week, be able to walk three miles in x amount of minutes without being winded and drop 2st by x date," that is a S.M.A.R.T. and objective goal.


So start to break it down and set smaller goals. What are your targets for the next 6 weeks?


With goals, you're more likely to stick to your programme. You’ll find that you’re now making health and fitness part of your newly-defined lifestyle. So be sure to set your weekly goal each time you weight in and track your progress as you go.

Rewards

Let's face it's nice to have something to look forward to. Yes! losing weigh is a reward in itself, but ask your diet mentors for ideas and suggestions so you can plan your treat when you reach your goal.


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