How to Set Weight Loss Goals

Setting realistic goals – including weight, weight loss exercise, food and psychological goals – before you begin a weight loss plan is essential to a successful program.


1. Begin by setting some small daily goals. Your weight goal might be to lose 1 pound per week. If you hardly exercised in the past, you might want to walk around your neighborhood for 20 minutes every day. (If you like, split it into a 10-minute walk in the morning and another in the evening.) Your nutritional goal may be to reduce your fat intake. Your psychological goal may be to write in a journal every day.

2. Establish intermediate goals that are a little more ambitious than your original goals. For instance, two weeks after you begin to meet your daily 20-minute walk goal, extend your goal to a daily 1-hour walk; start eating smaller portions at every meal; and seek counseling for any self-esteem issues you might have.

3. Determine big-picture goals; this includes the total amount of weight you’d like to lose by the end of your program. Make a commitment to jog or run every day to maintain your weight and health; learn how you can shop, cook and eat as nutritiously as possible; and take up an activity that you think you have a knack for – this can keep up your self-esteem.

4. Set time frames for your daily, intermediate and big-picture goals. As you progress from one to the next, reward yourself. Go shopping, get a facial, take a weekend trip. You deserve it!


  • Be specific when setting your goals. For instance, determine how much weight you will lose, as opposed to simply resolving to lose weight. (To come up with a final goal that’s healthy and appropriate, see “Determine Your Body Mass Index” and “Interpret Your Body Fat Percentage,” under Related eHows.)
  • Determine your daily, intermediate and big-picture goals before you begin your weight loss program. This will help you work realistically and gradually toward your final goals, as well as help you to gauge your progress.
  • Talk to your physician when you are setting your goals – he or she can help determine what is safe for you.

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