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Setting Goals for Success

Weight experts say that, for success, it’s critical to set realistic goals and expectations for the weight loss process. Think about it -- if you don’t set goals you have nothing to work toward. Goal setting is critical. If you take the time to write down what you want to change, how it will benefit you, and how you’re going to achieve it, you’ll have more motivation to stick with it.

A challenge with weight control is connecting the action with the outcome because the results and benefits aren’t immediate. For example, it’s not easy to recognize that turning down unhealthy food choices (like a candy bar or fried foods) today can reduce your risk of health problems 20 years from now. We are not “wired” to eat for tomorrow, so we need more immediate or short-term reasons to manage our health and wellness.

When it comes to goal setting, it is important to be realistic. Your life will never be perfectly balanced. Some days, you’ll eat more healthfully; other days you’ll be more active. And some days you’ll manage life’s little crises better than others. But that’s okay because it’s all about progress, not perfection. Just as you didn’t gain your weight overnight, it’s not realistic to expect to lose it overnight. To help achieve weight loss success, set goals that are specific, realistic and motivating for you!

Focus on creating reasonable goals

The goals that you set for yourself related to your exercise plan and eating should be:

● Specific -- define a set amount and time.

● Attainable -- try to avoid words like “never” or “always”.

● Motivating to you -- why do you want to attain this goal? How will you feel when you reach it?

Here are some examples to help guide you:

Non-specific and unrealistic: “I will never eat chips again.”

Specific, realistic and attainable: “I will satisfy my craving for salty and crunchy snacks by enjoying one package of Jenny’s Cuisine® savory snacks four days this week. I’ll build them into my meal plan in advance.”

Non-specific and unrealistic: “I will exercise every single day.”

Specific, realistic and attainable: “I will walk for 20 minutes before dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week.”

Non-specific and unrealistic: “I will not dine out at all this month.”

Specific, realistic and attainable: “I will limit my dining out to once a week during the next month and plan the meal before I go.”

Keep track and reward yourself to stay motivated

Keep track of the goals you set for the days, weeks or months; and don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach them. Jot down your goals and rewards in the online journal, your day planner or on a calendar. If you choose a calendar, place it on your fridge, wall or desk at work. Besides crossing off the days as they go by on your calendar, get some fun stickers (yes, stickers!) and put them on the days you meet your goals. This will remind you of your success and may motivate you to fill as many days with stickers as you can!

Don’t forget to blog or tweet your success and even your challenges. If you can make yourself accountable to someone else, it may motivate you even more to continue towards your weight loss goals.