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-goals – small 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.
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.
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:
- Measurable and explicit
- Personal – your own
- 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:
- Write your goal for one year from now: ______________________________________
- Write your goal for three months from now: _________________________________
- Each day, write a micro-goal:
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.
“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.