“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Here are six powerful tips to help you learn how to set smart weight loss goals.

1. Your goal must be clear, concise and specific.

A common mistake people make when setting goals is that they are too general and vague. Saying that you want to "lose some weight" or "get in shape" can be a recipe for failure. How much weight do you want to lose? What is your deadline? How will you look and feel when your goal is completed? If you can't answer these questions, your goal is probably too vague.

If your goal is vague, rethink it in more specific terms. Do you want to lose belly fat and build muscle? How many inches do you want to lose around your waist? Have a clear mental picture of exactly what it is that you want to achieve.

2. You must clearly see the benefits of achieving you goal.

When you believe your weight is a serious problem, you will be able to change it. If you're setting a goal just to please others, like a friend, family member, or spouse, then you will find it much more difficult to succeed, because it's not your goal, it's their goal.

3. Only share your goal with people you can trust to support you.

It might seem like a good idea to announce your goals to everyone you meet, but going public with your goal may cause you to face ridicule and criticism. Instead, only share your goal with the people that you know will help and support you, unconditionally.

4. Think about the benefits of achieving your goal.

In order to stop a harmful behavior, such as overeating or eating unhealthy foods, you must reward yourself for changing your behavior so you do not feel that you're losing or sacrificing something. We have reasons for everything we do, even self-destructive behaviors. Many people overeat as a way to deal with stress. Instead, replace old behaviors that you use to manage stress with positive, effective behaviors such as exercise, meditation, and yoga. This will make it easy for you to restrict your caloric intake and reach your goal.

Don't focus on what you're giving up when you set the goal. This will guarantee failure. You must focus on what you stand to benefit from a new, healthy, vibrant lifestyle. This will keep you on track when that critical voice in your head starts telling you that you can't change, this is too hard, or this is too much of a sacrifice.

5. You must challenge your mind to achieve your goals.

When you focus on all the benefits of losing weight, your subconscious mind may have a different agenda. Our minds are full of reasons for our failures, and justifications for our choices. It likes things the way they are, and it doesn't want to change. Whenever anyone sets a goal of any kind, the first thing they encounter is the emotional blocks to success within themselves.

The most effective way to overcome negative thinking is to challenge the thought and ask, "Do I know beyond any question that this thought is true? Is it true that I can't do this? Is it true that I don't have what it takes? Is it true that I'm doomed to failure?". The answer to all these questions is no. You can achieve any goal you set your mind to, if you're willing to control your thoughts, and refuse to accept any substitute for your success.

6. Your goal must inspire you.

The best goals are challenging, and inspire us to live a better life. Having a goal that doesn't challenge and motivate is the same as not having a goal. Make your goals so beneficial and so urgent that you will do anything to accomplish them. Think big, get experts to help you, rally all your friends, family, and spouse around you, and look for everything you can use to help you succeed. Believe in yourself. You can do it.

By setting smart goals for weight loss success using these six powerful strategies, you are already halfway to reaching the goal that you desire. Living a longer, happier, and healthier life is just a few simple steps away. Print a copy of these steps and post them where you can read them each day to remind you how to stay on track to the new life you desire.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Locklear is a researcher and consultant with 30 years experience, studying health, nutrition, and human behavior. He has been president of the Global Peace Project since 1986, and he administrates the website www.Natural-Remedies-for-Total-Health.com as part of the Global Peace Project Educational Outreach Program. You can also find him on The Total Health Blog.