How to Set SMART Goals for Weight Loss

In order to achieve just about anything worthwhile, it’s important to have goals in mind — and weight loss is no exception. Shedding the pounds is not something that happens overnight. It’s a long-term project, and a journey that includes many small stepping stones along the way. Smaller “wins” along the way will go a lot further in your weight loss journey than setting goals that are unattainable and unrealistic. It’s about setting yourself up for success by setting and reaching smaller, realistic goals that will keep you motivated, happy and successful. 

SMART goals are one of the best aids to your weight loss program. When you set these objectives for yourself and then reach them, you’ll enjoy a sense of accomplishment, and increased motivation to continue your weight-loss journey.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are usually specific, short-term goals that can help you attain bigger goals. The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific. You want to clearly identify your goal in specific terms.
  • Measurable. You should be able to measure your goal in quantifiable ways.
  • Attainable. Your goal should be realistic for your circumstances.
  • Relevant. Your small goal should help you to progress towards your larger objective.
  • Time-bound. You want to determine the deadline by which you should achieve your goal.

Why Are SMART Goals Important for Weight Loss?

There’s an old saying that goes: “How do you eat an elephant? Slowly, and one piece at a time.” The point is, it may be impossible to achieve your weight loss goal within one day, one week, or even one month. However, with effort and determination you can make your vision a reality — and SMART goals will help you to stay focused on the bigger picture. (Please note: we are not encouraging you to eat an elephant.)

Research shows that smaller goals that contribute to a bigger objective promote action. When people feel like they are making progress, even towards a relatively minor goal, they are more likely to buckle down and put in the work that’s needed to reach that goal. On the other hand, if you have a long-term goal in mind but no smaller goals along the way, you may get discouraged when it seems like you’re not making any progress.

The bottom line? Short-term SMART goals will keep you motivated to lose weight, despite the challenges.

What Are Some SMART Goals You Can Set?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what SMART goals you can set for yourself. In terms of weight loss, here are just a few examples of what a SMART goal may look like:

  • “I want to eat my meals more slowly so that I don’t eat as much. To help me do that, I will chew each mouthful of food 10 times before swallowing.”
  • “I will not call myself fat or talk down to myself for an entire day.”
  • “I will go for a 15-minute walk 2 days per week for an entire month. After I accomplish that, I will increase my walking to 3 days per week.”
  • “I will eat at least one ketogenic meal per day.”
  • “I will eat 3 full vegetables every day.”
  • “I will not eat anything after 8:00 in the evening for 2 weeks.”
  • “Instead of drinking soda, I will drink water with my lunch for the next week. After I reach that goal, I will replace soda with water during supper, too.”
  • “I know that stress-eating is a big factor in my weight issue, so I will set aside at least 30 minutes per day to engage in a stress-relieving activity (aka ‘me time’).”

Of course, you can adjust your goals according to what’s realistic and reasonable for you. The key takeaway is that setting SMART goals will keep you focused on the big picture, and fuel your motivation to put in the work needed for weight loss. If you set those little goals along the way, you may reach your big goal sooner than you’d ever expect!