How to Achieve Weight-Loss Success Through Goal Setting

Weight Loss Success

Article courtesy of Weight-loss Success by Weight Watchers Reimagined (WW), Published by Macmillan, RRP $39.99, Photography by WW International, Jeremy Simons & Mark Roper

While we can often identify our long-term goals – for example, losing 20 kg or dropping three dress sizes – we can struggle to make these goals a reality. This is because knowing WHAT to do is only the first step. We also need to know HOW.

Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to hit reset on your weight-loss and wellness journey, the key to success is setting smaller, more realistic goals that ladder up to your long- term goals. Not only can this help you monitor your progress, but setting (and reaching) mini goals can help you remain motivated, boosting self-esteem and self-efficacy along the way. And the more success you have, the more confidence you’ll develop – meaning you’re likely to continue what’s working and create healthy, sustainable habits for the longer term.

Fact: When compared to long-term-only goals, research shows that setting behaviour goals has been linked to increased optimism, engagement and overall happiness on the journey to reach a specific goal. Happier people are also more likely to make healthier choices, which provides additional benefits for health and wellness.


We recommend setting a behavioural goal each week using the STAR method:

  • Specific

Be clear on what you want to do and the details of how you’ll accomplish it. Use the four Ws – what, when, where, and with whom (if anyone) – to help you be more specific. For example, rather than saying, ‘I will go for a few runs this week’, try: ‘I will go for a 20-minute run at my local park on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before work.’

  • Truly doable

It’s important to set goals that are achievable and realistic for you given your current lifestyle. For example, if you know night times are a busy time for you, make time for your runs in the morning. If you’re set up
for success, you’re more likely to achieve and repeat your goal.

  • Active

Aim to focus on what you will do rather than what you won’t do. So rather than ‘I want to stop missing my workouts’, set a goal to: ‘Start running three days a week.’ This thought process can help you picture what you’re trying to achieve.

  • Relevant

Set goals based on what you want to do, not what you think you should do. Does running move you towards something larger that you truly want to achieve? If so, that will make it extra meaningful and powerful in your day-to-day life. Also, make sure your goal is relevant and consistent with the long-term goals you’ve set.


1. Start small

When starting out, stick with one or two goals at a time. The more your attention is divided, the less chance you have to reach any of the goals you set. Allow yourself time to accomplish and maintain your first couple of behavioural goals so they can become a habit and part of your new routine.

2. Do what works for you

When setting goals, lean on your skills, preferences and tendencies. For example, if you’re a morning person, then choose to exercise first thing each day. By leveraging your abilities, you’re more likely to be successful, as you’ll feel more confident taking the steps needed to reach your goals.

3. Set goals within your control

You may not be able to control how much weight shifts from the scales each week, so focus on behaviours you can, for example enjoying a healthy breakfast or going for a walk every day.

4. Write them down

Each week, write down your STAR goal to help you remain accountable and motivated with the task at hand.

5. Celebrate your achievements

Pat yourself on the back for every goal you meet, no matter how big or small! It’s not just a feel-good thing, it’s science. Recognising and celebrating accomplishments can not only boost our confidence that we can make changes, but make it more likely that we’ll continue with them in the future.