Set SMART goals to ditch those excess kilos this Spring

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Can you feel the temperature rising and desperately want to fit into your old swimming costume? Are you carrying around a few extra kilos of cargo that you’d love to get rid of? Do you set yourself weight loss goals and fail to achieve them every time? Losing excess weight is never easy, but when you throw a few unachievable goals in the mix, it makes it even harder! If your goals are vague, unrealistic or down right impossible to achieve, you’ll never reach them. In fact, you will probably be so disheartened by the fact you didn’t achieve them, that you give up altogether. Your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Setting SMART goals will give you a much greater chance of shedding those excess kilos and feeling fantastic.

What are SMART goals anyways?

Smart goals are:

  • Specific

    There’s no room for blurry lines here. For example, ‘exercise more’ or ‘lose weight’ are very unspecific goals and are difficult to follow. You don’t really know what you are working towards, so you are unlikely to achieve the goal. Remove the blurry lines and set yourself a specific goal, such as ‘walk for 30 minutes, twice per week’ or ‘lose 2 kilos this month’. They are specific and you can work towards them.

  • Measurable

    If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? If you have some type of measurement system for each of the goals you set, you will be more likely to accomplish them. A measurable goal might be ‘run for 10 minutes without stopping’ and you can use a stopwatch to time yourself, so you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal. For each goal you set, make sure it can be measured.

  • Attainable

    If your goal is impossible to achieve, you are merely setting yourself up for failure. Your goals may be difficult, but they need to be achievable for you. Aiming to run a marathon when you have arthritis in your knees is probably not attainable. Look at your goals and ask yourself whether you have the resources and abilities to achieve them.

  • Realistic

    The goal that you set needs to be realistic to you and your circumstances. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 kilos, but losing 12 kilos will give you a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index), is 20 kilos realistic? Probably not. Set goals that are realistic to you, so that you are able to achieve them. There is no point aiming for goals that can’t be reached.

  • Time-bound

    If your goal is to get back into your favourite dress from three years ago, then you need to set a time frame to achieve this. Are you giving yourself a month or a year to fit into the dress? Setting a time frame allows you to track your progress and to determine whether or not you have achieved your goal. A time-bound goal holds you more accountable and makes you work harder towards achieving it. ‘Fit into my favourite dress within 3 months’ is a time-bound goal.

How do I develop my goals?

Now that you understand what a smart goal is, you are ready to develop your goals. There are three main focus areas that you can set your goals. These are diet, lifestyle and weight. Setting and achieving your goals in the diet and lifestyle areas, will ultimately help you to achieve your weight goals. First, look at your diet and areas where you could possibly improve. Review your intake of alcohol, soft drink, biscuits, hot chips or other foods you indulge in too often and set yourself a limit to one portion per week for example. Secondly, look at your lifestyle. How much activity are you currently doing and are you able to increase it? Get up 20 minutes earlier and go for a walk, or join a fitness class. Finally, set your weight goal. Be realistic and aim for ¼- ½ a kilo per week, or aim to go down a clothing size. Look at these three areas, pick a few goals and make them SMART.

What will help me achieve my goals?

  • A vision board: Writing your goals down on paper, and looking at them every day is a great way to help you achieve them. If you are constantly exposed to them, they will be at the forefront of your mind and will help you to stay focused and motivated. Put your goals up on a vision board, on the fridge or even on your bathroom mirror so you can see them regularly!
  • Stress less: If you are highly stressed, you are more likely to stray from the path and less likely to attain your goals. Take time out each day to relax. Engage in meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, spending time outdoors or anything else that relaxes you. If you need some extra support, the amino acid Tyrosine increases levels of the relaxing hormone dopamine, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall mood.
  • Get support: For some people, having a goal is not enough to motivate them. They need to be held accountable in order to achieve them. You can tell your friends and family about your goals and get them to check up on you. Alternatively, you can join a walking group, fitness class or get a personal trainer to guide you and motivate you.
  • Do some research: Perhaps there are imbalances in your body that are making it difficult for you to achieve your weight loss goals. Seeking out the health of a professional and sorting out any underlying health issues can make a huge difference. Dr Cabot’s book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why outlines the different reasons why you might struggle to lose weight, and provides a 12-week metabolic weight loss plan, complete with delicious recipes for you to follow.
  • Keep going: If you don’t achieve your goals straight away, don’t be disheartened and give up. You can do it, just keep going! Take another look at your goals and analyse the possible reasons why you didn’t achieve them. Perhaps you need to amend your goals, or come up with some strategies to overcome the barriers that are stopping you from achieving them.
  • Be prepared: Ensure that you have all the tools you need to achieve your goals. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks, your fridge with fresh produce and ensure you always have clean workout gear on hand. Being prepared will make it a lot easier for you to succeed. Keeping a good quality protein powder at home, at your work desk or in your hand bag will help to tie you over when you have the munchies. Synd-X protein powder is extremely low in carbohydrates and high in protein, and can help to curb hunger and reduce sugar cravings.

Are you ready to be SMART this Spring? Burn off those excess centimetres and feel great!

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