SMART Goals for Weight Loss

Setting goals is a fundamental part of achieving success in any endeavour, particularly when it comes to health and weight loss.

However, not all goals are created equal.

The difference between setting a vague aspiration and a well-defined objective can be the difference between failure and success.

In this guide, we explore the concept of SMART goals—a method that transforms your ambitions into actionable, attainable steps.

Whether you’re aiming to improve your diet or manage stress better, setting SMART goals can help you stay focused on your journey.

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What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each element of the SMART framework works together to create a goal that is clear and trackable, significantly increasing your chances of achieving it.

  • Specific. The goal should be clear and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. It should answer the questions of what you want to accomplish and why it is important.
  • Measurable. The goal should have criteria for measuring progress. This allows you to stay on track and know when you’ve accomplished your goal.
  • Achievable. The goal should be realistic and attainable, considering your current capabilities and constraints.
  • Relevant. The goal should align with your broader objectives and be meaningful to you. It should reflect your priorities and values.
  • Time-bound. The goal should have a deadline or timeframe, creating a sense of urgency and prompting you to take consistent action.

Why set SMART goals for weight loss

Setting SMART goals is crucial because it transforms vague intentions into concrete plans. This process helps to clarify what success looks like and establishes a roadmap for achieving it. By breaking down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps, SMART goals also help to maintain motivation and prevent feelings of overwhelm.

How to set SMART goals

Specific: Define your goal clearly

A specific goal addresses the who, what, where, when, and why. Instead of setting a broad goal like “I want to eat healthier,” make it specific. For example, “I will eat at least five servings of vegetables each day.”

Example short term weight loss goal: Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” specify, “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next three months by following a balanced diet and exercising three times a week.”

Measurable: Track your progress

A measurable goal includes criteria for tracking progress and measuring outcomes. This can involve quantifiable metrics such as frequency, duration, or amount.

Example short term weight loss goal: Instead of “I want to exercise more,” set a measurable goal like, “I will go for a 30-minute run three times a week.”

Achievable: Ensure your goal is realistic

An achievable goal is one that you can realistically accomplish given your current situation and resources. It should challenge you but still be within reach.

Example short term weight loss goal: Instead of “I want to run a marathon next month,” if you’re new to running, set an achievable goal like, “I will train for a 5k run over the next eight weeks.”

Relevant: Align your goal with your values

A relevant goal matters to you and aligns with your other weight loss goals. It should reflect your long term objectives and be something that genuinely motivates you.

Example long term weight loss goal: Instead of “I want to fit into my old clothes,” focus on a relevant goal like, “I want to increase my energy levels and improve my health by losing weight.”

Time-bound: Set a deadline

A time-bound goal has a specific timeframe, which creates a sense of urgency and prompts you to act consistently.

Example short term weight loss goal: Instead of “I want to start eating better,” make it time-bound: “I will replace sugary snacks with vegetables and nuts by the end of this month.”

Steps to implement SMART goals

Reflect on your motivations

Before setting your SMART goals, take time to reflect on why these goals matter to you. Understanding your motivations will help keep you committed and focused.

Write down your goals

Putting your goals in writing makes them more tangible and increases accountability. Use a journal, app, or planner to document your weight loss goals and the steps you plan to take.

Break down larger goals

If your goal is challenging, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This approach makes the goal less daunting and allows you to celebrate small victories along the way.

Identify potential obstacles

Consider potential challenges that might arise and plan strategies to overcome them. This proactive approach helps you stay prepared and resilient.

Create an action plan

Develop a detailed action plan outlining the specific steps you’ll take to achieve your goal. Include deadlines and milestones to track your progress.

Review and adjust regularly

Regularly review your goals and assess your progress. Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals or action plan as needed to stay on track.

Examples of SMART goals for weight loss

Diet

  • Specific. I will eat at least five servings of vegetables each day.
  • Measurable. I will track my vegetable intake in a food diary.
  • Achievable. I will prepare vegetables in advance to ensure I have easy access to them.
  • Relevant. Eating more vegetables will improve my overall health and aid in weight loss.
  • Time-bound. I will start this habit tomorrow and continue for the next month.

Exercise

  • Specific. I will go for a 30-minute run three times a week.
  • Measurable. I will use a fitness app to log my runs.
  • Achievable. I will start with 10-minute runs and gradually increase the duration.
  • Relevant. Regular running will boost my cardiovascular health and help me lose weight.
  • Time-bound. I will begin this routine next Monday and continue for 12 weeks.

Stress management

  • Specific. I will practise 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation each morning.
  • Measurable. I will set a timer and use a meditation app to track my sessions.
  • Achievable. I will wake up 10 minutes earlier to fit this practice into my routine.
  • Relevant. Reducing stress will improve my mental wellbeing and support my weight loss efforts.
  • Time-bound. I will start tomorrow and continue for the next four weeks.

Benefits of SMART goals

Setting SMART goals offers numerous benefits that can enhance your health and weight loss journey:

  • Clarity. Clear and specific goals provide a roadmap for success, eliminating ambiguity and confusion.
  • Focus. SMART goals help you concentrate your efforts on what truly matters, avoiding distractions.
  • Motivation. Achievable and relevant goals keep you motivated by aligning with your values and priorities.
  • Accountability. Measurable and time-bound goals create a sense of accountability, prompting consistent action.
  • Progress tracking. The measurable aspect of SMART goals allows you to track your progress and celebrate milestones, boosting your confidence and motivation.

Final thoughts

Setting SMART goals is a powerful strategy for achieving lasting success in your health and weight loss journey.

By defining specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives, you can create a clear and actionable roadmap to follow.

Remember, the journey is about progress, not perfection. Stay committed, be flexible, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

With SMART goals, you’re well-equipped to make meaningful and sustainable changes that will improve your overall wellbeing.

Start setting your SMART goals today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

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