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Are you setting the RIGHT goals?

We do extensive intake consultations with patients who come to Sound Medical Weight Loss & Aesthetics for help losing weight.  One of the questions we typically ask is, what goal would you like to achieve?

Choosing the right goal is not only helpful in terms of knowing what direction you’re headed and how to get there.  Your goal is also a critical component of whether you’ll stick with a new habit or lose motivation altogether.

Your goal is your “why.”  It’s the ultimate reason you reach out for support, seek out alternate ways of living, try new things, question old patterns.


If you choose a goal that’s not in line with what you actually want, though, you may find yourself struggling to feel motivated along the way.

Jon Acuff, author of Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done shares a fantastic example of this in his book:

“One woman told me, ‘There was this number I was constantly chasing and it drove me crazy.’  Her secret rule that she wasn’t successful unless she met that number goal haunted her for so long that she finally gave up and had to figure out what she really wanted.  The number wasn’t what she wanted.  ‘I wanted health.  I wanted to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and everything else my mother was taking medication for.  That forced me to be honest about my own health, which then forced me to research how to reverse some damage I had done.’  Getting to the heart of the goal allowed her to connect her heart to the results.  The weight came off as she worked on changing bad habits into good ones.”

There’s nothing wrong with having a certain pants size, for example, as your ultimate goal.  That kind of goal can be liberating, especially if the freedom of self-expression through clothing makes you feel alive.  However, if a pants size or a number on the scale is your goal simply because it’s a proxy for some deeper-set, truer-to-you goal, you may find yourself quickly losing motivation after an initial burst of commitment. 

If this resonates with you, consider switching your goal.  You may share a goal with the example above – perhaps it’s about your health – or maybe it’s about having more stamina when playing with your kids, or being able to hike Machu Picchu, or something else entirely.

Acuff’s further advice: “if you’re not excited about your goal right now, ask yourself, ‘what’s my real goal?’  Make sure that what you’re chasing is actually what you want to catch.  As you progress with your goal you should continue to come back to this gut-check question because it’s really easy to get off track despite your best intentions.”

Habits and Behaviors

The other downside to selecting a goal that’s not in line with what you truly want: it could lead to habits and behaviors that don’t align with your best interests. 

In Acuff’s example above, the woman chasing a specific number on a scale could, potentially, get there by healthy OR unhealthy means.  Once she changed her goal to focus on her health, though, the habits required to accomplish her new goal would by definition be healthy and sustainable.

Need more guidance?  Want to better define your goal and identify the habits and behaviors required to achieve it?  Set up some time with SMWL’s mindfulness coaches – we’d love to help!  Book online at

Mariel Ilardi  Mariel became a weight loss coach with SMWL after being a patient herself -- having lost 65 pounds through the program! In addition to coaching SMWL patients, Mariel is the founder and CEO of Haven Coaching, an executive and career coaching company.

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