Ensure your weight-loss goals program follows some simple rules and you will achieve goal success with your efforts to lose weight and feel great!

In a previous post on Self Image I mentioned how an inability to picture myself slim was a key factor to overcome in my own weight-loss goal setting success. I lost over 50 lbs in eight months. And I learned some valuable lessons along the way.  Lessons reinforced by advice from the renowned Mayo Clinic. Their advice on how to achieve weight-loss goals can mean all the difference between success and failure.

Realistic, well-planned weight-loss goals keep you focused and motivated. They provide a plan for change as you think about and transition into your healthy lifestyle. But not all weight-loss goals are helpful. Unrealistic and overly aggressive weight-loss goals — for example, losing 10 pounds each week or fitting into your high school jeans from 20 years back — can undermine your efforts.

Follow these Mayo Clinic 10 tips for weight- loss goal success (and a vital tip no. 11 that I have added at the end) and you will achieve your goals to stick to your weight loss plan!

  1. Personalize your goals. Set goals that are within your capabilities and that take into account your limitations. Also, consider your personal fitness level, health concerns, available time and motivation.
  2. Aim for realistic weight loss. Healthy weight loss usually occurs slowly and steadily. In general, plan to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week (0.5 to 1 kilogram) — even if your initial weight loss is a little faster in the first week or two.  For instance, set a goal of losing 10 percent of your current weight, rather than 30 percent.
  3. Focus on the process. Make most of your goals process goals, rather than outcome goals. “Exercise regularly” is an example of a process goal, while “weigh 145 pounds” is an example of an outcome goal. It’s changing your processes — your daily behaviors and habits — that’s key to weight loss, not necessarily focusing on a specific number on the scale. Just make sure that your process goals are specific, measurable and realistic, too.
  4. Think short term and long term. Short-term goals keep you engaged on a daily basis, but long-term goals motivate you over the long haul. Your short-term goals can become stepping stones to reaching long-term goals. Because healthy, permanent weight loss can be a long process, your goals need to be feasible for the long term.
  5. Write it down. When planning your goals, write down everything and go through all the details. When and where will you do it? How will you fit a walk into your schedule? What do you need to get started? What snacks can you cut out each day? Then track your progress to see if you’re meeting your goals.
  6. Pick a date. Timing is crucial, often making the difference between success and failure. Choose a definite start date for your weight-loss program and don’t put that date off for anything. Be sure to account for life circumstances that might hamper your efforts, such as work or school demands, vacations or relationship problems. You may need to resolve some issues before starting.
  7. Start small. It’s helpful to plan a series of small goals that build on each other instead of one big, all-encompassing goal. Remember that you’re in this for the long haul. Anything you undertake too intensely or too vigorously will quickly become uncomfortable, and you’re more likely to give it up.
  8. Plan for setbacks. Setbacks are a natural part of behavior change. Everyone who successfully makes changes in his or her life has experienced setbacks. 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.
  9. Evaluate your progress. Review your goals each week. Were you able to successfully meet your goals last week? Think about what worked and what didn’t. Make plans for how you will reach your goals both today and during the course of the week.
  10. 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, 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. If you find that you have to make frequent adjustments downward or constantly scale back, you may not be setting realistic weight-loss goals in the first place — head back to tip No.1

Some of the things that helped me most in the above 10 weight-loss goal tips was focussing on the process of making changes to my eating habits – especially eating too fast and too much and for the wrong reasons – like when bored, tired, angry or anxious.  I had to learn new habits and coping mechanisms and it was difficult in the beginning. Which is why picking a date and starting small and focusing on the longterm (with a vision board) goal plus smaller shorterm goals paid off big time. “One day at a time” is the best ever short-term motto you can have.

There is one more absolutely vital tip I would add for achieving your weight-loss goals – get support from a coach, mentor and/or supportive buddy. Make sure they are keeping you accountable on your journey and before you know it you will be slinky slim, healthier, more energetic and proud you achieved your weight-loss goals after all.