Weight Management- Goal Setting!
Welcome back to our next installment on long term weight management! Educate, empower, and enrich yourself as we explore another important theme found by the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being- goal setting!
Clear, personalized and continually adjusted goals were an important theme found throughout multiple studies. While externally defined goals (such as goals defined by weight loss groups, or goals set by doctors) were found to provide guidance and accountability, self-defined goals were overall more important and beneficial to sustained weight management. Having highly personalized goals for yourself in regards to your gym schedule, fitness level, and diet enhances your feeling of bodily autonomy and your overall success rate!
Part of making goals for yourself is understanding that sometimes unexpected things can happen- you may have to skip the gym one day because something unexpected comes up, or you might have to skip making a healthy meal because you need to eat quickly on your way to an unanticipated event. While this was common for individuals in these studies, the individuals that were successful at overcoming these obstacles had this in common- they prioritized their goals and adjusted them in regards to daily, weekly, or monthly activity instead of tossing out their goals altogether when faced with unexpected obstacles. This is a part of long-term goal setting. Instead of only focusing on today, you must realize that you need to focus on the bigger picture and set goals for long term success.
So what does goal setting look like for the individuals that were able to maintain long term weight management? Setting goals for activity level, such as gym time, steps taken each day, or even just cycling to and from work, as well as setting healthy eating goals, such as calorie intake per week, reducing alcohol intake, reducing snacking, and increased fruit and vegetable intake where some of the most common goals that were able to be sustained long-term. Checking in with yourself and making sure that you are not doing too much all at once is important too. Remember that any step in the right direction increases your confidence that you CAN find your internal motivation and continue to set new goals in the future!
Make your goals permanent, non-temporary goals, and do not expect instant results. This is key- it helps you stay on track long-term. In addition, individuals reported that it was easier to stay on track when they did not take an all or nothing approach! We all make mistakes, but realizing that mistakes are ok, and all it means is that we need to reflect on the motivation behind those goals, and what changes we need to make to adhere to them. This focused, long-term approach to goal setting is what continues to motivate you in your fitness journey!
Remember, when setting goals for yourself there is no “one size fits all” approach for weight management. You may need to change goals you previously made based on what changes in your life, but continuously reassessing your goals and making sure you are staying on track in the long term is what is going to make the biggest impact. At FIT St. Charles, we understand this, and can help you make and maintain realistic fitness goals that fit your individual lifestyle!
So why not set one realistic goal for yourself this week, and remember WHY you want to stick to this goal, because remember, internal motivation is the best way to sustain long-term weight management! Let us know what goal you are setting this week!