I made goals every time I wanted to lose weight. Nearly each time I attempted to lose weight, I failed. It seemed like I started over 365 times every year. I needed do-overs, not because of my willpower, but because the goals that I set were doomed for failure.
First, there was the vague, intangible goal.
I want to look and feel better.
You look pretty fine to me. For some people, looking better is as simple as getting a hair cut. For other people, feeling better could involve gastric bypass surgery and looking better involves several cosmetic procedures. What is it you’re exactly looking for?
I want to lose weight.
I want to lose 40 pounds.
You’ll gain and lose 40 pounds many times over a lifetime. It’s totally doable for you to to lose 40 pounds, but why do you really want to lose the weight?
I want to lose 40 pounds because I’m getting married and I want to feel comfortable in a wedding dress.
What? You mean you don’t want to be squeezed into Spanx at your wedding, and you like to breathe in air sometimes? Okay, I get it. I don’t want you to pass out at the altar. When is your wedding?
I want to lose 40 pounds by my wedding day in June 2016, because I want to feel comfortable in a wedding dress.
Can I lose 40 pounds a year in 15 months? Yes, losing one half of a pound a week is healthy and manageable.
That is a SMART goal, worthy of all self-improvement writers who sell books about achieving the life of your dreams. It’s specific, because I want to look better by losing weight. It’s measurable, because it’s easy to quantify how much weight I lose. It’s attainable because it is a healthy weight loss goal. It’s relevant because it matters to me. Finally, it’s time-bound, because I have a general idea of my wedding date.
Great, I set a weight-loss goal. Now I need to figure out how to achieve it.