How To Set Weight Loss Goals That You’ll Stick To


Millions of Americans will start off the New Year with the goal to lose weight and exercise more. It’s always great to hear those statistics! However, as a health and fitness coach for 26 plus years, I can also tell you from experience that 1/3 of the goal setters will have already broken their resolutions by January 7th. That is frustrating because I also know from experience it doesn’t have to be that way.


Before setting any new health and fitness goals, it’s important to know what causes people to fail in the first place. One of the main reasons people have a hard time keeping their resolutions after the new year is that the goals they’ve set are usually unrealistic. Even the most disciplined person on the planet is going to have a hard time keeping a goal that is way too lofty to start with.

Permanent weight loss and maintaining a regular exercise routine is a lifestyle that is built by developing one healthy habit at a time — not created by some unsustainable fad diet or painful exercise routine!


1) Know what you want. Take a moment to decide what you want your end-goal to be and whether or not that is aligned with your values and current priorities. While looking like the model on the cover of a magazine may seem like a motivating goal, after discovering what’s required, you may decide that’s not for you.

Keep your goals personal.  Copying someone else’s health and fitness goals can be like wearing shoes that are a bit too tight.  It never feels quite right.  It’s okay to use general guidelines, but when you finally set the goals, they need to be customized to fit your life. You are an individual which makes a cookie-cutter approach tough to stick to.

Look at your calendar and be realistic about how much time you can commit to your new weight loss goal.  This is really important!  Often times, we can get so caught up in the excitement of setting new goals that we forget to think about the time involved.  Adding a new “thing” to your life usually requires an adjustment period so allow yourself some time to figure out what works for you.

If you are struggling to find time, ask yourself if there are other commitments that you should put on hold.  If that’s not possible, consider being creative with your time like exercising when you watch TV or walking during your lunch hour.  Do what you can.  It’s better to get started with a smaller goal than to never begin at all.

2) Change one thing.  The people that see the most success do so by setting small incremental goals, knowing that they are committing to the long term and not just temporary behavior change. For example, if you eat out 4-5 times per week, set a goal to brown bag your lunch or cook at home 5 days per week for the next 30 days. Or if you want to add more exercise, tell yourself you’re going to walk 20 minutes per day for the next month.

At the end of the 30 days, commit to another 30 and then repeat. Once the first habit becomes as natural as brushing your teeth, you’re in a safe place to add more to your plate.

Or, if you’ve reached your desired goal, you are now in what we call maintenance mode. You can now continue your healthy habit for life. Mission accomplished!

3) Write it down.  People that commit their goals to paper have a higher success rate. So take a moment to write down your goals for each area of your life for the new year. If you are keeping your list realistic, it shouldn’t be too long. You can always add more later in the year once you’ve accomplished the first set.  Keep your list posted in a place you’ll see it daily to help you stay on track.

4) Do the work.  Once you’ve set your realistic weight loss goal, follow through and stick to your plan. Research shows us that once one healthy goal becomes a habit, momentum occurs leading to success in adding other healthy lifestyle habits automatically.

5) Don’t quit.  From time to time circumstances may throw you off track. This is normal and happens to everyone. All you have to do is get up, get back on track and you will succeed in the long term.

New Year’s resolutions should advance and take you forward, but not be so lofty or torturous that they are completely unobtainable. Keeping this mindset will allow you to set yourself up for total success.

Have a Happy New Year!

P.S.  Have a question or comment?  Please post it below in the comment section.  I love to hear from you!

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