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Weight Loss Goals: 3 tips for setting effective goals + my experience

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Also note: While I am a certified nutrition coach, I am not a medical doctor. Information here is not intended to be a replacement for the advice you should seek from your doctor.

Do you often intend on reaching your Weight Loss Goals but give up too quickly? Let’s set effective goals to better support your success!

For the goal-setting worksheets, click below.

1. Make Your Weight Loss Goal S.M.A.R.T.

So, what health goals do you currently have? What do you think you want them to be? Write them down. We’re going to clean those up and turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals. But what exactly are smart goals?

S.M.A.R.T. is an achronim of:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Attainable
  • Relevant 
  • Time-based 

Your goals should have all of these attributes!


  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Why is the goal important?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

If you don’t have a solid moving why – go, watch my Finding your why” video


Your goals must be measurable! For our example, we will use pounds of weight lost. However, you can benchmark triglyceride levels, or whatever you want to use that aligns best with your goals.


  • How will you know when it’s accomplished?
  • Is your goal attainable?
  • Ask yourself how can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal based on other restraints such as financial factors?
  • Is your goal relevant and realistic?

A relevant and realistic goal can answer yes to all of these questions.

Relevant / Realistic

  • Does this goal seem worthwhile?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Am I excited?
  • And does this challenge motivate me?

If you don’t feel strongly about the goal, you might need to clarify or change it.


A smart goal is time-bound. When do you want to accomplish this goal?

After having set SMART goals, it is possible to work backward in order to break up actions and create a timeline for achieving your goals.

2. Break Goals Down into Skills

Next, you’re going to want to break down your goal into the skills you need to master in order to reach your goal. For example, eating appropriate nutrients and choosing higher-quality foods.

Here are some skills to consider. All of the following skills facilitate healthy sustainable weight loss. Where might you need to improve to better your chances of reaching your goal?

  • hydrating properly
  • eat appropriate nutrients
  • eating mindfully 
  • managing your stress and sleep
  • getting exercise
  • having valuable and supportive relationships (Yes, this is important!)
  • having a growth mindset

    See the image below for more ideas

3. Break Skills Down into Practices

Next, you’re going to want to break those skills down into practices. For example, in order to eat appropriate nutrients, you can practice eating enough protein and choosing a rainbow of veggies. These practices are areas that can be improved to achieve that skill.

Each practice should meet the following five S criteria

  1. Segmental part of a larger process that works together with other manageable steps
  2. Simple non-intimidating and easily done in the context of your life
  3. Sequential introduced at the right time and in the right order 
  4. Strategic addresses the biggest thing that is preventing your progress right now
  5. Supported it is backed by appropriate knowledge and expertise
5 S Formula

Now that you’ve got the skills you want to develop and the practices required to get you there, what actions will you do daily to practice? Let me first say that there’s nothing wrong with jumping right into following a food guide. Here you can generate your own. 

However, be honest with yourself. If following the food guide is a total life overhaul, focus on the practices only. Regardless, you should predominantly focus on practices as these are healthy habits that will help you succeed in the long term. So, what actions will you do daily to support your practice? 

Some useful practices

Here are some actions you can take for a couple of different practices: 

  • In order to hydrate properly, swap out your high sugar and/or calorie beverages for a healthy alternative (or preferably, water) and count servings.
  • For the eat enough protein practice, you can track how many servings of protein you have every day
  • To eat a rainbow of veggies, try new vegetables of diverse colors and count servings

    See below for more examples

Now that you have everything clarified, write it down with the practices, actions, and a reasonable timeline. Make sure to put all actions and practice start dates in your calendar. A visual reminder of why you’re working toward this goal is tremendously helpful as well.

More on that in the “Finding your why” article.

And remember, whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve!

Mountains landscape with an inscription on it "Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve!

For the goal setting worksheets, click below.

Any questions on what skills and practices you should be targeting? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to help you out!

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Do you often intend on reaching your weight loss goal but give up quickly? Let’s set effective weight loss goals to better support your success!

♬ original sound – Clean Cooking w/ Caitlin

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