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The SMART Way to Lose Weight

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How Do You Make Effective Goals?

An important part of losing weight and changing your diet is planning a strategy to reach your goal. Setting effective goals is an important first step to make sure you will actually be able to attain and maintain your desired changes.

Try Following the SMART Goal Framework

Peter Drucker coined the “SMART” goal term in his work, “The Practice of Management,” and the method behind it has been used in many areas of work and life since 1954. SMART stands for:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely

How to Make Your Own SMART Goal
Create your own goals now.

  1. It should be specific and straightforward to keep you focused and aware of exactly what you want to achieve. If your goal is to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, make it specific by stating, “I will eat 1 cup of vegetables at both my lunch and dinner meals everyday.”
  2. Goals should be measurable so that you can track progress (for example, taking a waist circumference measurement once every month).
  3. Your goal should be attainable and realistic. Setting goals beyond your reach will set you up for feelings of failure. Aiming to weigh 110 pounds when you have weighed 150 pounds your entire adult life, for example, may not be an attainable goal – or even a healthy one for that matter. Similarly, if you know that you realistically cannot exercise for an hour everyday, but you could feasibly fit in 30 minutes, start doing what you can realistically do now, and work from there. Lastly, set deadlines for your goals, both short and long term. Short term might mean aiming for weekly targets, like exercising three times per week, or weekly weight loss of one pound. Long-term goals may focus on more far-reaching results, such as “In six months I will be 24 pounds lighter.” Sticking to a timeframe will help keep you on target and maintain your motivation to reach your goals. So here’s to your goals and a healthier new you!

Test Your Knowledge?

1. Checking your weight once a week would be an example of this component of the SMART goal framework.

Answer: Measurable

2. Which of the following is a specific goal?
a. I want to lose weight by the New Year.
b. My goal is to lose 25 pounds.
c. I will lose 1 pound per week by cutting 250 calories from my daily diet,
and burning an extra 250 calories a day on the stationary bicycle.

Answer: c

  1. For more on goal setting, see Secrets of Reaching Your Health Goals.

     



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About the Author

Nicole is a registered dietitian, ACE-certified group fitness instructor, and dancer who loves writing about a balanced approach to weight loss. Her goal is to help you reach your healthiest potential. She is based in New York City and currently works at a physicians group counseling patients on heathy eating and lifestyle.


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