How to Reach Any Goal

Make an ambitious, achievable goal — and stick to it!
Go For Gold

So, you set a goal — weight-loss, fitness, or otherwise — but did you set a timeline, too? Leaving an open-ended deadline won’t help you stay accountable to your good intentions. Assign a thought-out, workable deadline — not an arbitrary date — to guide your progress. Here are some ways to keep yourself on track and achieve your goals:

Establish a clear date
The first thing to do is decide on a deadline. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds by a wedding or reunion, for instance (keep in mind that on the PointsPlus® program, you can expect to lose one to two pounds per week). Or you can link your goal to a fitness event you plan to participate in, such as a 5K walk or run. If you don’t have any existing “built-in” deadlines, now’s the time to think of one (even if it’s as basic as reaching a certain weight by the start of the next season).

Get a calendar — and set reminders
Make it visual. Use color-coding or fun stickers to mark milestones (or mini-deadlines) along the way. Hang the calendar on a wall in a spot where you’ll see it often (like in the kitchen or by the front door), or place it prominently on your desk. Prefer digital reminders? Build them into your cell phone calendar or even set up reminders in your work computer calendar. Include tasks that will help you reach your goal, so at the end of each day you can have the satisfaction of crossing them off!

Surround yourself with encouragement
Let important people in your life know you’re making a change for the better. Let them know how they can keep you on track with positive words and reassurances when you hit bumps in the road.

Reward yourself — along the way and at the end
Every step you take in the right direction (going for a training run, making a smart food choice in a tempting situation) should be acknowledged. Don’t forget to celebrate more "official" milestones as well, like reaching your 10% weight-loss goal . Take a tip from preschoolers everywhere and set up a sticker chart, awarding yourself a gold star for even the simplest victories and achievements. It also can’t hurt to have a clear reward in mind when you reach your goal, even it’s tied to the goal itself (such as fitting into a smaller clothing size: you can splurge on a new outfit). For more inspiration, here are 14 ways to celebrate without gaining weight.

Know how to regroup when you hit a rough patch
The best way to make sure a bump in the road doesn’t turn into a huge detour is to arm yourself with coping strategies ahead of time. Read up on how to handle a gain and how to recover from vacation indulgences.

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