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A new year is upon us, and I think it’s safe to say that most people are entering this new beginning with a craving for a sense of control over their circumstances. Due to 2020’s overwhelming global theme of COVID-19, people want to regain authority over their lives, and especially their health.
However, with COVID trailing along, it will take a little longer until we get back to normal. And, our new “normal” will undoubtedly look different than what we once knew. While public health is completely out of any one individual’s control, you have almost full control over your own physical health. And when thinking about physical health, body weight is often in the front of people’s minds.
Knowing that you’re in control of your body weight is an empowering thing, but it can feel very defeating if you make weight loss goals year after year that never get met. The key to success with your weight loss goals is to make them into SMART goals, so the steps you have to take (literally and figuratively) are clearly laid out for you in a fail-proof way.
In this article, we are going to look at the value of SMART goals and why you should know how to use this goal-setting tool to lay the foundation for your weight-loss success. Then we will go over 9 SMART goal statements that, if followed closely, will guarantee you see the results you’re envisioning.
But let’s start by looking at what a SMART goal is and why it’s so effective.
What Is a SMART Goal?
First introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran, the concept of SMART goals was initially born in an effort to help managers create objectives to keep up with changing trends in the economy and maintain the most effective staff possible. Today, SMART goals continue to help us meet our objectives by assigning an action plan to your visions so they can become a reality.
You can use this goal-setting tool to ultimately give you a guide that will let you know at any point along the way how much progress you’ve made toward reaching your goal and how much work you have left to accomplish.
The SMART acronym can be translated in a variety of ways, but here, we refer to SMART goals as being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Let’s look at what each of these components mean.
Let’s take a quick look at what SMART goals for weight loss do not look like to help clarify your understanding of them:
A well-thought-out SMART goal will serve as a roadmap that will walk you through the process of meeting your ultimate milestone and keep you motivated along the way. So, if you have tried and failed in the past, don’t blame yourself–blame your former plans. Let’s take a look at some examples of plans that will get you on the right track.
9 SMART Goals Examples for Weight Loss in 2021
If You’re Just Getting Started:
1. “I will walk with a coworker for 15 minutes during lunch three days per week for the next four weeks to break up my sedentary day and increase my activity level.”
S: This statement identifies the specific action the person is going to take and addresses its purpose.
M: Each midday walk acts as one unit of measurement out of three for the week and each walk must be 15 minutes.
A: The goal setter has all of the tools they need to achieve this goal.
R: This goal is relevant to the ultimate goal of losing weight.
T: Because this is a healthy habit for people at any weight, this goal-setter has made this an ongoing goal.
2. “I will eat the rainbow fives days per week for the next six weeks to ensure my body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.”
S: This statement pinpoints how this person will eat to ensure their body is healthy and energized.
M: Each meal plan for five out of seven days will need to include all six colors of the rainbow at least once.
A: With proper planning, this is an achievable goal.
R: One’s diet is a critical component to their weight loss success, making this a relevant goal.
T: The deadline for this piece is in six weeks, but will likely be extended in order to maintain weight loss.
3. “I will bring my lunch to work at least three days per week to limit my intake of restaurant food for the next two months.”
S: This statement declares this person will avoid eating at restaurants for lunch at least three days per week.
M: Each packed lunch this person has each week will count as one out of three for the next two months.
A: This is an achievable goal for anyone–plus it will help save money.
R: Researchers report that making your own lunch at home reduces caloric intake by 20% to 35%, which makes this a relevant goal.
T: The deadline for this goal is in two months.
If You’ve Already Made Some Progress:
4. “I will add a morning exercise routine to my schedule five days per week for the next four weeks to help increase my metabolism.”
S: This person is adding a physical activity to their day to help burn more calories.
M: These morning workouts will be completed on five out of seven days each week.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: One’s activity level is relevant to their weight loss success.
T: The deadline for this is in four weeks.
5. “I will go to bed at 9:30 and wake up at 5:30 each day unless and until my daily schedule dramatically changes. This steady sleep schedule will help me maintain my energy throughout the day and make time for my morning workouts.”
S: This person is creating a specific bedtime and wake up time to ensure they have the energy to complete their physical routine during the day.
M: This sleep routine will occur every night to get 8 hours of sleep.
A: With the right tools in place, this is an achievable goal.
R: One of the most important elements of losing weight is getting adequate sleep, which makes this goal relevant.
T: This bedtime will be sustained indefinitely for continued optimal health.
6. “I will bring my lunch to work at least four days per week and limit my dinners out with family to twice per month until my weight loss goal is complete.”
S: This goal builds on goal #3 by increasing the frequency of dinners made at home as well as lunches.
M: This goal will be measured by the number of meals (lunch and dinner) that will be prepared at home.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% activity, which makes this goal relevant.
T: This goal will be ongoing to maintain weight loss.
If You’re Nearing Your Goal:
7. “In one month from today, I will have lost 6 pounds in order to reach my final goal weight of 150 pounds.”
S: A 6-pound weight loss is specific.
M: One’s starting weight vs. the weight on the final day of the month is measurable.
A: It is realistic to expect to lose 1.5-2 pounds per week with proper diet and exercise.
R: Weight loss is the ultimate goal.
T: The deadline is in one month.
8. “I will replace soda on 9 out of 10 occasions for sparkling water to increase my hydration and decrease my caloric intake.
S: This person will choose sparkling water over soda 90% of the time.
M: This can be measured by the number of sodas vs. soda water this person drinks.
A: With commitment, this is an attainable goal.
T: This is an ongoing goal to maintain weight loss.
9. “I will add a 10-minute meditation session into my nightly routine on weeknights to help reduce my stress and focus on meeting my weight loss goal. This will help me stay motivated until I reach the finish line.”
S: This person will be adding a meditation ritual to their weeknight routine.
M: This can be measured by timing each 10-minute session and completing a session 5 nights per week.
A: With the right tools in place such as these meditation apps, this is an achievable goal.
R: Research shows that stress leads to weight gain, so this is a relevant goal. Furthermore, visualizing yourself reaching your goal is an effective tool to keep you motivated until the end.
T: The deadline for this is whenever the goal has been met.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals Examples for Weight Loss
Weight loss can be a daunting subject. Depending upon how much weight you have to lose, the idea of committing to the process may feel overwhelming or even impossible. But by breaking your large goal down into small pieces, which are then further broken down into SMART goals, you will be setting yourself up for success.
Tailor these examples to your own weight-loss situation by adjusting the numbers as needed. When you start seeing progress and reaching your small milestones, you will gain motivation and you will be able to see that your larger goal is attainable. Break it down into as many small steps as possible–what’s important is that you keep moving forward.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.