Long-term and short term-goals

Long-term goals help you focus on the big picture. They can shift your thinking from simply being on a diet to making lifestyle changes. But long-term goals may seem too difficult or too far away. You may benefit from breaking down a long-term goal into a series of smaller, short-term goals.

If your outcome goal is to lose 15 pounds (7 kilograms) in three months, you may break it down into separate goals for each month, perhaps 7 pounds (3 kilograms) for the first month and 4 pounds (2 kg) for each of the last two months because early weight loss is often faster. An example of a process goal might be to walk 30 minutes a day. If you currently don't walk regularly at all, you may want to walk 15 minutes a day for two weeks and then add five minutes to your walk each week.

Allow for setbacks

Setbacks are a natural part of behavior change. Everyone who successfully makes changes in his or her life has experienced setbacks. It's better to expect them and develop a plan for dealing with them. Identifying potential roadblocks — a big holiday meal or office party, for example — and brainstorming specific strategies to overcome them can help you stay on course or get back on course.

Reassess and adjust your goals as needed

Be willing to change your goals as you make progress in your weight-loss plan. If you started small and achieved success, you might be ready to take on larger challenges. Or you might find that you need to adjust your goals to better fit your new lifestyle.

June 12, 2015 See more In-depth