By Shawn McKee
The difference between a goal and a dream is planning. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by your birthday with diet and exercise, we can help you do that. If your dream is to have a body like Giselle Bundchen, marry a millionaire quarterback and be a princess, well, we probably can’t help you with that.
Stop dreaming about losing weight and getting healthy, and start doing it. Tweak of the Weak sat down with eDiets’ top experts to help you set realistic, specific goals to help you get the body you’ve always dreamt of.
The Long and Short of It
“Many of us make a goal to lose weight, but don’t think about the steps it takes to get there,” explains eDiets Director of Nutrition Services Pamela Ofstein.
“Having short-term goals — like a small change in daily or weekly behavior — reinforces that you can do it and gets you that much closer to your long-term goal. Each time you achieve a short-term goal, you can move on to the next one, keeping you motivated and striving to reach the ultimate goal of weight loss and healthy living.”
Pam recommends using these short-term goals to build momentum for your long-term goal. Make behavioral changes that will help you feel good about accomplishing them, at the same time aiding in your ultimate weight-loss goal. She suggests things like bringing a healthy lunch or snack every day for a week, eating a balanced breakfast for a week or giving up soda for a day.
Small achievements can lead to big results. eDiets Chief Fitness Pro Raphael Calzadilla echoes these sentiments:
“A short-term goal allows a person to achieve an immediate success, as well as the physical and emotional satisfaction that goes along with it. They key to long-term goal success is creating short-term goals all along the way.”
Let’s Get Goaling!
“Goals must be S.M.(a)R.T — Specific, Measurable, Realistic and based on a Time frame,” Raphael explains.
“The goals can be short and/or long-term, but they must be measurable. Record dates (beginning and ending), as well as anything that’s quantifiable and important to you such as scale weight, body composition, percentage of strength increases, duration of cardio sessions or participation in athletic or special events.”
Raphael recommends limiting yourself to three goals at a time to keep you focused and your goals manageable. You’ll definitely need a plan of action to achieve your fitness goals, so he suggests you find exercise that is enjoyable so you can stick with it.
Raphael’s Dos and Don’ts of Goal Setting
Examples of how NOT to set goals:
1. I will get in good shape this year.
2. I will get to my goal weight.
The above goals are too general. There is no way to measuring them, a lack of specificity and vague time frames.
Examples of how to set goals:
1. Decrease from 200 pounds to 170, for a total of 30 pounds. Average fat loss of 1.25 pounds per week. Start January 3, 2011 and achieve goal by June 3, 2011.
2. Begin a running program and be able to run one mile in 8 weeks. Begin Januaury 3, 2011 and achieve goal by March 1, 2011.
3. Drop 5 inches off my hips with proper diet and exercise. Begin January 3, 2011 and achieve goal by April 30, 2011.
Each if the above is S.M.(a)R.T.!
Use your daily and weekly goals to make the behavioral changes necessary to reach your long-term goals. Short-term goals can be simple, but be accomplishing them will give you the confidence you need to achieve the long-term goals that will take more time and effort. You have to celebrate your victories and bounce back from your slip ups.
“Take ownership of your goals,” Raphael says. “Contemplate what you want to achieve and think about what you’re going to have to sacrifice to get there. Ask yourself how bad do you really want this and visualize what you’ll feel like and look like when you hit that goal.”