Set goals based on healthy behaviors, not related to weight or size. Weight loss, weight maintenance, and improved physical and psychological health are natural byproducts of healthy behavior!!
In my obesity-related research, I found that self-efficacy is the number one predictor of starting and maintaining behavior change. We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. The confidence that if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we will succeed. This type of confidence leads people to accept difficult challenges and persist in the face of setbacks.
The main premise of self-efficacy is: Keep it Simple.
- You must choose goals that are realistic, something you can actually do, something easy, and something you have time for. You must believe and know you have the ability to meet the steps in your goal. It must be easy enough to ensure you will decide to do it, that there can be no excuses.
SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound
- “I will walk for 20 minutes (specific) 3 days each week (measurable, achievable). I will do this around my house, outside, or at the gym; wherever is most convenient that day (realistic). I will do this for 2 weeks (time-bound).”
Having this specific of a goal increases perceived self-control, which increases self-efficacy, and these multiply to create automatic reinforcement to continue positive behavior change and maintain healthy behavior.
Create daily and weekly SMART goals.
- Reward yourself with positive thought when you achieve a daily goal.
- Wake up each morning and consider the positive things you accomplished the day before, consider how good you feel. If you got off track, remind yourself of your reasons for creating these goals and get back on track.
Reconsider and Revise your goals over time. Write down your goals and reasons for goals. Review these daily. This will increase your chances of success and getting back on track more easily when things get in the way. Remember, doing something toward your goal, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing.