The Importance of Goal Setting in Weight Loss

We are complicated creatures. We have a number of conflicting driving forces, from our natural, almost animal instincts to our often contradictory conscious decision making and wishes. It can be hard to motivate ourselves to keep going down one path – we tend to listen to different motivations at different times.

Sometimes the motivation to lose weight will be strong, and we won’t even be tempted by that tub of ice cream sitting in the freezer. Running out in the cold and rain will seem worth it. But then other times we wonder why we even care, we feel the call of chocolate or the sofa and it can be hard to resist.

Goal Setting and Weight Loss

With so much contradictory motivations causing us to act in certain ways how then do we keep ourselves focussed on trying to lose weight?

First of all let us say that you will slip up from any plan you put in place, it is human nature. Accept that it will happen and don’t give up on your weight loss plan when it does. Just get yourself back on track and accept that the slip up was part of the ‘journey’.

More important is goal setting. Goal setting falls into two different types.

1. Short term goals
2. Medium to long term goals

and both types are important to losing weight.

The long term goal is usually what makes us decide that we want to lose weight. The idea of losing 10lbs, 20lbs, 80lbs – whatever you may want, is what will trigger us to start in the first place… and so it is an important motivating factor.

From time to time, when you lose sight of why you are trying to lose weight, it is important to remember that long term goal. Remember what you wanted to look like, remember why you are doing this. Use it to keep yourself on track, to see the ‘bigger picture’, and remember it is the picture that is bigger – not you!

We are often motivated by the here and now though, which is why short term, achievable goals are so important in weight loss. A short term goal will help keep you from straying right now. Want to lose 2 or 3lbs this week? You know you won’t do it by reaching for the ice cream. So a short term goal is more likely to effect your decision making in the ‘here and now’.

What the goals are depends on you, what you are trying to achieve and how well you know your own mind and body. But 99% of the time goal setting is a powerful tool to help you stick to a weight loss regime, so don’t skip it out and decide on the general ‘I just want to lose weight’ idea instead – that won’t get you anywhere.

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