Weight Loss Support - Do goals help you in any way?

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03-08-2009, 01:40 PM
I've noticed that most people like to set a ton of goals- weekly goals, monthly, even daily goals. I like setting them because they remind me of what my weight will most likely be if I stay on plan and lose a normal amount of weight (2 pounds a week, usually). It doesn't really keep me on track, or help me lose more, but it makes me smile to see it.

I don't adjust my actions according to my goals, because I just stick to my plan no matter what.

Do you believe that setting goals helps you lose more weight, or does it help you in other ways?

How often do you set goals, and do you tend to overestimate or underestimate?

03-08-2009, 01:52 PM
I tend to have mental goals that do help me. I try not to use a date or deadline too much because I think that adds too much pressure and can make for disappointment.

For instance, I started in the 190's and looked forward to getting into the 180's, Once there I shoot for the 170's. I try to not say I want to lose so much by a certain date. If I do that and say wanted to lose 10 lbs, then only lost 8, I would feel disappointment about not losing the 10, instead of accomplishment at losing 8.

Just want to try to keep things as positive as possible.

Thats what works for me, anyway.

03-08-2009, 01:54 PM
Curiously, I was just about to post some percentage goals for myself but the site locked out (it keeps doing that to me), and when I got back, here you are asking the question.

I think that lots of little goals don't particularly help me to stick to the plan, not that I've wavered this time round, but they do make me feel good once I can see I've passed a few. Like you, they make me smile.

Also posting them means I'm not eating!

03-08-2009, 02:06 PM
I avoid date-related goals, because they caused me more trouble than they were worth. If I missed the deadline, even by a pound I'd feel at least a little disappointed. Also, if I found that I was lagging behind my goal, the temptation was too great to try to catch up with extreme and even unhealthy methods.

Sometimes I am tempted to use date goals, because I think the little bit of added pressure would help me lose faster, but I remind myself that faster isn't necessarily better, because losing faster usually means that I'm making more sacrifices, and adding stress to my plan, leading to feelings of frustration and deprivation. I've dieted most of my life, and every time I quit, it was out of frustration and deprivation. Treating my hormonal issues and carb-addiction (addiction may not be the technically correct term, but it comes pretty close) were a large part of success this time, but I also can't dismiss the role of eliminating, as best I can, frustration and deprivation.

That being said, I do set up short term rewards for losing weight. I have a sticker chart for weight loss. Each pound earns a sticker, 5 stickers earn a small reward like a specific paperback book or MP3 download - specific because once I write it down, my rule is I can't buy that particular item until I've earned it. I don't want to set up a situation in which I don't do anything nice for myself unless I've earned it with weight loss. I also have similar sticker charts for time spent exercise and novel writing (unrelated, but another situation in which short term rewards can trump long term rewards).

03-08-2009, 03:36 PM
I choose goals that I think are attainable and do not associate them with any timelines.

My short-term goal is to reach 155lbs. That translates to 22lbs lost. Ideally, I would reach this short-term goal weight by 2/26, which is the end of my Biggest Loser competition at the gym, but it doesn't really matter if I don't.

My longer-term goal is to reach 145lbs, which puts me at the high end of the healthy weight range for a "Normal" BMI. What happens after that? I don't know. I'll have to re-evaluate. But not reaching 145lbs is not an option for me. :-)

If I set a time limit on my longer-term goal, I will be disappointed and might even be tempted to quit if I don't hit it. And who wants that?

03-08-2009, 03:55 PM
i set goals for EVERYTHING! they really keep me focused because when one of my goals is staring me in the face it's hard to forget what it's really all about. plus, (call me material if you want) i love rewarding myself with something when i reach a goal. because i really worked for it!

03-08-2009, 04:27 PM
I set a daily goal, in writing, each morning. Usually something like "yoga + 30 min. elliptical" or "stay on-plan at barbecue!" It helps a TON! First, it keeps me focused throughout the day. Secondly, if I get to evening, I'm kind of tired, & have done my yoga but not the elliptical - whereas if I hadn't written it down, I'd be like, "Oh, I've done yoga today, that's enough," when I've written it down, I'm much more likely to say, "Ok, I'm tired, but it's only 30 minutes, I can do it!"

03-08-2009, 04:29 PM
I set goals. I think they were helpful to keep me motivated and help me realize that I was making significant progress, even if the weight was coming off slowly.

Kaplods has an extremely important point. Time-bound goals can be very counter-productive. All my goals had no time constraints.

I even adjusted my final goal weight 3 times.

03-08-2009, 05:12 PM
I set goals but like most people have said I try not to put a date with them. I think that they give you something to work towards. And like Corazonas said I really like to treat myself when I make it to my goal!

03-08-2009, 08:27 PM
I think they do help me. I set an exercise goal for March, and to determine what it would be I had to really step back and think about what I'm doing now and how much I would be willing to increase it. Once I put the goal in place, I find I'm exercising much more than I had been, so that's been great.

I also have a mini-treat planned for when I've lost 10lbs (new underwear, woo hoo!) and a bigger treat planned for when I've lost 20lbs (getting a beautiful ring resized to fit). While they don't help me in any day-to-day tangible way, it's nice to know that they are coming... The ring is sitting on my bathroom counter, waiting.

03-08-2009, 08:40 PM
I set mini goals- which is usually 5 pounds a month. It helps me more emotionally than anything because I feel like I've accomplished something once I've reached my mini goal.

03-08-2009, 09:13 PM
I try to make goals for the week. For example, my goal for last week was to walk 5/7 days. (Happily, I accomplished that goal.) Over the years, I've found it easier to stick with smaller, and more reasonable, goals. I think you just need to find what works for you. Good luck.


03-08-2009, 10:47 PM
I like to set mini goals. No dates involved - just numbers. Since I revised my mini goals in February, my first is to hit 210lbs. Then after that is ONDERLAND - 180 - 165 - 150lbs. Now that I am around 213 - it's encouraging to think that if I stay OP this week, it's a huge possibility I will hit 210 in the next week or two. It keeps me in prospective.

I did a 30 day challenge to kick my butt. My ticker didn't move for almost two months and this challenge drugged me out of my rut. I've lost 10lbs since February 9th! Tuesday is my last weigh in for this mini challenge and I'm hoping for 12lbs. :)

03-08-2009, 10:52 PM
I make calorie goals and that really helps me. Otherwise I eat anything. I also have weekly goals to write in a journal and that helps more than anything. I think if you dont have goals then you won't know where you'll end up.

03-08-2009, 11:17 PM
The main reason I set mini goals is because it helps me feel like I'm making progress. Ultimately, I want to lose 62 pounds. I can't even wrap my head around losing that much weight but I can wrap my head around 5 pounds or 10 pounds. Also, I'm not the world's strictest dieter so if I am really hoping to hit a certain mini goal I am more likely to stay on plan.

03-08-2009, 11:59 PM
I'm a total goalie-head. Realistic, unrealistic, time based or not - I have done them all.

For me, they helped to put the focus on smaller issues rather than the incredible amount of weight I had to lose. I could think of ten pounds by a certain date - but start talking losing 130+ and I felt as though I was drowning!

03-09-2009, 12:00 AM
I am not setting goals this time. I feel like every time I set a goal it was overwhelming and I always felt like a failure. This time I'm just doing it. I'm not marking on a calendar every time I worked out, I'm not keeping track of every morsel that meets my lips. I'm just getting up in the morning and working out, I'm making better food decisions, I'm participating in a few light challenges here on the board- but that is it! Every time I saw my little calendar hanging by the exercise bike- I felt resentment and anger and it was like a mental block for me.
So now I try not to think things like- I want to be 120 lbs by the time I turn 30 or I want to wear a size 14 this time next year. Or even - I want to work out every single day this week.

When I am working out on the bike I will set distance and resistance goals for myself as I'm doing it- it helps me keep me moving and trying to improve. But that's small enough not to feel overwhelmed or disappointed if I don't make it.

03-10-2009, 05:08 PM
I no longer set "weight loss" goals per se -- I set action-oriented goals ("I will not cheat for ten days in a row", for example, or "I will walk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening"). If setting weight-related goals works for others, hey, that's wonderful -- but for me I see bigger and better results if I set action-oriented goals.