August 30, 2021 3 min read
Plenty of us have been there: we start noticing that our clothes aren’t fitting well, or we’re feeling more tired and sluggish than normal. So we set a goal for ourselves to establish healthier habits and get back to a healthy bodyweight … but fall flat before we’re able to accomplish them.
The bottom line is that weight loss is hard, but we can improve our chances if we set SMART goals and make a good action plan.
SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. It’s a helpful device for making all kinds of goals, and it’s especially useful for those big lifechanging health goals that can be so hard to accomplish. When it comes to major goals like losing weight and getting fit, making “SMARTer” goals can give you a clearer path to success, especially when you plan them in conjunction with meal prep.
So here’s how you can use the SMART goal frame to make your meal prep work harder for you.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to make sure that your goal is specific, not vague. For example, simply saying that your goal is to “be healthier” doesn’t really give you a clear idea of how you’re going to go about doing that.
On the other hand, saying that you’re going to eat the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables every day is much more specific and gives you a clear, actionable path to getting healthier. So as you’re making plans for meal prepping and eating better, make sure that you clearly outline what those changes will actually be.
Whenever you’re setting a goal, you want to make sure that you can actually see the progress along the way, which is why having a measurable goal is also important. For example, it isn’t always enough just to say you want to “eat healthier” as you meal prep – how will you know what that means if it’s not measurable?
Rather than saying that your goal is to meal prep and eat healthy, you can set up a goal to only eat healthy meal prep five out of the seven days in a week, or set up a concrete calorie goal for the day. If you can count it and measure your progress, you’ll have a better frame of action!
Of course, no goal is a good goal to set if it isn’t realistic for you to actually accomplish it. Saying that you’re never going to eat outside of your meal prep plan isn’t going to be a realistic goal for everyone, especially if you have a lot of events or obligations that don’t allow you to follow that one hundred percent.
So instead, a more attainable goal would be to say that you want to eat meal prepped foods 95% of the time and only have one “cheat meal” per week. This is much more realistic and attainable and won’t set you up for failure down the road.
It doesn’t make sense to set a fitness goal for yourself if it doesn’t actually apply to what you want to accomplish. Think about what you really want to accomplish: do you want to be an athlete and nutrition expert, or do you simply want to eat healthier for your own body? Make sure that the goals that you set are actually things that you want to accomplish.
Finally, setting a realistic deadline for your goals is a great way to keep yourself on track. Rather than saying you want to lose ten pounds, for example, you can set your goal to lose ten pounds in a specific (and realistic!) time period. It might be just the push you need to keep yourself on track and to hold yourself accountable.
So putting it altogether: if you want to set a SMART goal for yourself that can actually help to keep you on track, you could say something like:
Following the “SMART” goal method is great for setting up goals with milestones, which will make it that much more likely that you’ll be able to accomplish them!
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