Setting targets

Long-term and short-term goals

Regardless of how you lose weight, it might help to set a longterm goal for your weight loss with short-term goals to help you achieve it. This will help you stay motivated.

Discuss your current eating and physical activity regime with your healthcare professional (keeping a diary may help). Then you can work together to set goals and lifestyle changes that you both feel are achievable in helping you to lose weight.

Your healthcare professional will then help you to measure these goals over time and support you through regular followup and weight loss education.

Make sure your goals are realistic. If you don’t set goals and record them then you do not have anything to measure yourself and your lifestyle changes against. It will help you to maintain motivation and gain a sense of achievement.

Start by setting a long-term goal with a realistic target, eg I want to be a size 14 by summer next year.

Once you have set your long-term goal, you need to make short-term goals to help you achieve it. By making small changes every few weeks you’ll notice the benefits gradually and your ultimate target will be more attainable.

You can set as many goals as you like. Below is an example:

Long-term goal:

I would like to lose 1½ stone in the next year which is 10 per cent of my body weight.

What action shall I take?  Instead of a bag of crisps each day, I will have a piece of fruit. I will do this on at least five days a week.

How will I achieve this?  I will take a piece of fruit to work every day.

What do I need to do to make this happen?  I will buy fruit and vegetables that are in season and on special offer each week.

When will I start?  I will start on Monday once I have done my weekly shop.

How will I monitor my success?   I will start a diary with my three goals and tick each day that I achieve them. I will then reward myself (examples below).

Measuring your progress  You can measure your progress by the weight loss that is achieved (measured by scales, your waist measurement and/or your clothes) and also by monitoring your short and long-term goals.

Try to weigh yourself at the same time of the day, no more than once a week. Remember, changing eating and physical activity habits takes time and effort. Reward yourself when you achieve your goals with a book, new clothes or a night out.