How Do You Set Weight Loss Goals?

Achieving a healthier weight can be accomplished through tracking your progress and setting realistic goals.

Achieving meaningful, long-lasting weight loss requires using effective methods, such as setting and monitoring weight loss goals. Making a progress chart might help you stay inspired. Furthermore, reflecting on your progress could comfort you in the face of setbacks.

At the top of the list of recommendations for reaching a healthy weight is "setting the right goals," according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that establishing goals for weight loss increases the likelihood of success. Additionally, studies indicate that those who prioritised their health and fitness over their looks were more likely to stick with their weight loss plans in the long run.

More information about achievable objectives for your weight loss journey will be provided in this article, along with data demonstrating how goal-setting can help you stay on track in your weight loss efforts.

What is a good goal to set for weight loss?

Starting at 5–10% of your current weight is advised by the NHLBI.

Aiming for consistent and gradual weight loss increases the likelihood that the weight will stay off, according to research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is advised by the CDC to lose no more than 1-2 pounds each week.

Weight reduction generally boils down to statistics.

You will lose one pound every week if you consume 500 fewer calories than you burn off each day. But each person's journey to close that gap is unique. This is because your calorie requirements vary depending on your weight, age, gender, genetics, degree of activity, and other things. These goal-setting techniques can help you close that gap.

Setting goals is a good approach to position yourself for success, according to research.

In a 2023 study, which included 36,794 participants in weight loss programmes, it was discovered that those who had the greatest goals had a lower programme dropout rate after 24 weeks. Although the scientists acknowledged that additional research is required, those who prioritised their health and fitness over their beauty were also less likely to drop out.

People who set goals, even ones that sounded ambitious or "unrealistic," were more effective in their efforts than those who didn't set any goals at all, according to a 2016 study that involved 35,380 participants in a weight loss programme. Over a year, they dropped 65% more weight on average than people who did not make objectives.

How do I set my monthly weight loss goals?

Setting clear, achievable goals is advised by many healthcare organisations. Goals should be "forgivable," or "less than perfect," according to the NHLBI. Sometimes you will not achieve your goals or experience setbacks.

Instead of focusing just on the number on the scales, you can also concentrate on altering your habits or behaviours. You may want to work on eating better meals and getting more exercise.

The greatest strategy to lose weight is to exercise and cut calories because you will be burning a little more energy while consuming less.

Experts advise you to be specific with your goals as well.

A specific objective could be to walk for thirty minutes every day, five times a week. The objective is practical and well-defined. Even though you may wish to walk every day, unforeseen circumstances—like an illness or having to remain late at work—may arise. It could be more feasible to aim for five workouts per week.

Other specific, attainable objectives include increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables at each meal and switching to lower-fat meat and dairy substitutes for full-fat options. That's more practical than aiming to substantially cut back on your intake and more targeted than just "eating better."

The CDC advises concentrating on two or three objectives concurrently.

What’s a safe amount to lose in a month?

Some people see significant weight loss at first, but later notice a slowdown in their progress. In either case, it's advisable to aim for just 1-2 pounds per week or 4-6 pounds per month.

You have a better chance of maintaining your weight loss over time with that monthly rate.

What are smart goals for weight loss in 3 months?

The phrase "SMART goals" may be familiar to you. That represents clear, significant, action-oriented, reasonable, and timely objectives. These objectives are more attainable and evident, as was previously stated.

They are action-based because you alter your habits, such as eating less and moving more. And when you monitor your development every week or month, they have a deadline.

Depending on how much weight you want to lose, dropping 12–24 pounds could be a fair three-month target for you. A gradual, constant rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.

You might want to switch to maintaining your weight and your new, healthy behaviours when you've reached a healthier weight. After six months, the NHLBI advises moving to maintenance, which focuses on maintaining your current weight rather than reducing it further. If necessary, maintenance can pave the way for further weight loss down the road.

Does weight loss medication factor into these goals?

Medication for weight loss may be beneficial for some people, particularly if they have a large amount of weight to shed or are still having trouble following healthy practices.

For example, doctors may recommend medicine to treat obesity. However, other people might not require it or might be more susceptible to negative effects.

It's best to discuss whether or not you require medication for weight loss with your doctor.

Tools to help you set and track weight loss

You have a wide range of tools at your disposal to monitor and set goals for your weight loss.

Consider giving a nutrition app that tracks your eating habits or helps you plan meals a try.

MyPlate, a free nutrition calculator from the USDA, is another resource. It provides tailored eating suggestions according to your age, sex, height, weight, and degree of activity.

You can make dietary and activity plans to help you attain your target weight with the help of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases' body weight planner.

Goal-setting and progress-tracking techniques that are additional include:
  • snapping pictures to track your development
  • keeping track of body weight with a scale
  • keeping a daily journal of your meals, exercise, and mood
  • joining a support or weight loss group
  • collaborating with a medical group


Setting goals is one of the best methods to make progress towards your weight loss objectives. The most successful goals are time-bound, realistic, action-oriented, meaningful, and detailed. Losing no more than one or two pounds every week is the greatest method to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. To track your progress and work towards your goals, you can use a variety of resources, such as journals, apps, images, and other people's assistance.


How do I determine my weight loss goal?

5% of your current weight may be a realistic goal

What are some examples of weight loss goals?

Eating five servings of vegetables each day for two weeks. 

What is a good step goal for weight loss?

15,000 steps per day

How many kg is a normal weight loss per month?

1.5 to 2.5 kilos

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