How to Use Micro-Goals to Blast Away Fat

Losing weight isn’t easy – it’s uncomfortable to change the way you eat. It’s pretty typical to lose motivation before getting very far and ending up feeling like a failure.

That’s why I help my clients who want to lose weight set micro-goalssmall but meaningful daily actions that lead to reaching a bigger goal. They’re so successful that I want to share them with you, too. Even studies have shown that:

Smaller behavioral changes could produce initial weight loss and be easier to sustain after active treatment.[1]

You see, each time you do something differently, you feel successful. That propels you to do it again. You gain momentum towards your bigger goal.

My Lean and Strong client Hannah

Why Big Goals Don’t Work

When you decide to lose weight (or fat, to be more precise), what happens next is a series of small behaviors that lead to the bigger change, right? Like:

  • Eating more lean protein at each meal
  • Making yourself a salad before work
  • Replacing those late-afternoon chips with cut-up veggies
  • Taking a walk instead of eating out of emotion
  • And so on…

Long-term goals like losing weight feel vague and far off in the future. There’s no sense of urgency that can motivate you day after day… it’s easy to fall off or even get started.

Why Micro-Goals Work

Micro-goals are daily successes. They’re what you’re doing TODAY. A micro-goal is the most important step you can take now.

  • Make your goal feel less overwhelming by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable chunks
  • Push you to act every day
  • Help you prioritize what to focus on
  • Make you feel successful

Yes, it’s important to have your eyes on those short- and long-term goals. You need to feel a passion for where you’re headed, whether it’s looking hot for a vacation or living the rest of your life at a healthy weight.

What is an Effective Micro-Goal?

I love hearing how my Lean and Strong online clients are rocking their small but mighty goals. Here are a few examples:

Desire: Eat more vegetables
Micro-goal: Eat one serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner today.

Desire: To walk more often
Micro-goal: Take a walk at lunch today.

Desire: To not overeat
Micro-goal: Drink one glass of water before each meal today.

Over time, these small changes add up to better health and fat loss.

In reverse, what happens after years of a negative habit? Fat gain and resulting low energy, health problems, depression, low self-esteem, frustration, hiding from life…

As you can see, just as small, daily habits lead you to gain fat, so do small daily habits get you to a better place.

Here’s what an effective micro-goal looks like:

  • Easy
  • Measurable and explicit
  • Immediate
  • Personal – your own
  • Positive
  • Triggers you to act

It’s not a complicated or vague goal that you start next week. Micro-goals = action now!

How to Get Started

Every time you perform a micro-goal you are experiencing a mindset shift – believing that this action is important and worth your time. That means remembering, every time you do something differently, why you’re doing it.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Write your goal for one year from now: ______________________________________
  2. Write your goal for three months from now: _________________________________
  3. Each day, write a micro-goal:
    Monday:        ______________________________________
    Tuesday:       ______________________________________
    Wednesday: ______________________________________
    Thursday:     ______________________________________
    Friday:           ______________________________________
    Saturday:      ______________________________________
    Sunday:         ______________________________________

Every time you write a micro-goal, be sure to read through your three-month and one-year goals.

That’s it! You can do this.

Lean and Strong Stella

“The most positive change I have enjoyed is a change in my eating habits. Best of all, my 14-year-old daughter has watched these changes, patted me on the back, shared in my vegetable experiments, been my junior coach, and is proud of me. I can’t thank you enough, Suzanne, for all of your help, your knowledge, and support. You are truly an amazing woman, not only in your physical fitness but in your positive outlook and vast knowledge and your kind and inspiring words!  I am most grateful to you, and I think I am the smartest woman alive for finding you!” ~ Stella O.

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This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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Comments

  1. I love the term! I use these “micro goals” with my clients too. When I assign them I ask how confident they feel on a scale of 1-10 that they can accomplish them. If it’s not a 9 or 10, we scale it back. I want them to taste success!

  2. I love this! Great tips I love the idea of micro goals! I am going to try this! thank you!!
    Lea Genders recently posted..Vote for Me in the Favorite Running Blog ContestMy Profile

  3. I love this! Micro goals do make bigger goals seem much more achievable. I’m off to share this. 🙂
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted..June 2014 PopSugar Must Have ReviewMy Profile

  4. I use micro-goals with my clients, myself and my children. Lots of behavioural studies have shown that people are lousy at keeping long term goals in sight and delaying gratification over immediate rewards.
    I’ve found it really helpful to have clients look back and compare where they are today with where they were 3/6/12 months ago. Very powerful stuff!
    Tamara recently posted..Peaceful coexistence at the gym: when older and younger work out togetherMy Profile

  5. Such a great post & suggestions!!! If people ask me about this especially if they are overwhelmed, I point this out.. take small steps at it.. also look at what you have accomplished & done so far. It is always worth it. I love the example of the ladies daughter that got involved!!!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Thermo Heat Maximum Strength Fat BurnerMy Profile

  6. Micro goals! These tiny steps seem so doable, and they really will make a huge difference over the long run. I love that you included an alternative to emotional eating, I know I can fall into that trap when I am tired at the end of a long work day and my kid is being ornery.

  7. I use these all the time when working with patients in trying to establish behavior change that becomes a life long habit. Love this and how you break it down. I can honestly say this is how I established my own lifestyle changes. 🙂
    Jenn Speer recently posted..#30dayeatinghealthyMy Profile

  8. I love this!! Creating micro goals is a great way to achieve your bigger goals without it being too daunting!
    Toni recently posted..June Favorites 2014My Profile

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. […] How to Use Micro-Goals to Blast Away Fat by Suzanne – Maybe you need to lose 40 pounds. That is a BIG goal. So best to break in down in smaller micro goals as Suzanne puts it. I love that. She even provides guidance to get you started. I also love that she says micro goals should be easy. What would you pick for a micro goal today? […]

  2. […] Kath Eats Real Food Why I’m Transitioning Away From Veganism… – The Blonde Vegan How to Use Micro-Goals to Blast Away Fat – Workout […]

  3. […] you’ll know you don’t need “willpower” to lose weight. It’s all about leveraging micro-goals, […]

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