In order to be successful on the keto diet, or in anything in life, you are going to need a goal to work towards. In this article, we will take you through how to set realistic goals on the keto diet that will assist you in reaching your goals as quickly as possible. We will also take you through why it’s important not to use weight loss as your goal. Setting goo goals can be pivotal to success.
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Why Weight Loss is Not a Good Goal for Keto
The majority of people who have decided to undertake a keto lifestyle will either be wanting to lose weight or want to reap the rewards of the health benefits that keto offers.
However, what people seek to achieve through the keto diet with vary depending on the person.
If you are new to keto, check out our Keto Beginners Guide.
Here we will take you through why weight loss should not be your goal and teach you what good short, medium and long terms goals are for anybody starting out on their keto journey.
Defining Goals on Keto
Most people who have ever had to set goals in their personal or professional life will have come across the pneumonic S.M.A.R.T. This describes how all goals should be structured.
Specific – all goals should be specific in nature. It is the specifics of a goal that add to the accountability.
Measurable – all goals need to be measured in order to help them be specific. So, going back to the swimming example, what are we measuring ‘learn to swim’ by?
Is it that the individual can splash about in the water, is it that they can swim one length of the local swimming bath? Are they swimming with flotation devices or unaided?
Attainable / Accountable
Attainable – the goal that is set has to be attainable, sometimes you will see this listed as accountable
First, we will start with attainable. There is no point in a novice swimmer saying that their goal is to swim around the world unaided, as this is very likely unattainable.
This is the element that most people struggle with.
A goal, by its nature, should be stretching, it shouldn’t be something that we can easily attain, otherwise, we would already be doing it in life.
However, we also shouldn’t have limiting beliefs as to what is achievable, and we should stretch ourselves beyond what we think we can achieve.
Accountable – goals are better when you are accountable. In some instances, being accountable to yourself will be enough.
If you are only going to be accountable to yourself, it has been proven that you are more likely to achieve your goal if you write it down.
From personal experience, I have found that I not only need to write down my goals, but I also need to keep them somewhere visible so I can see them on a daily basis.
You may choose to make yourself accountable by sharing your goal with a family member or friends.
Other people may feel embarrassed sharing a goal with their loved ones, for these people’s accountability can be found in semi-anonymous places such as Facebook groups.
Relevant – The goal has to be relevant to you. There is no point in setting a goal of learning to swim if you have no interest in swimming or there is no event that you need to learn to swim for.
If the goal has no relevance to your life you will have no motivation to achieve it.
Timely – A goal needs to be achieved with a timescale. It’s no point saying that you are going to learn to swim, without saying when by. By setting a timescale you are encouraging yourself to achieve your goal by a certain time. That time frame, depending on the goal, could be days, weeks, or even years.
Again, when you are setting your goal, you have to be realistic about the timescales involved. If you cannot swim, you are not going to learn to swim competently by next week if you are only taking one lesson a week.
If you are away on holiday with the family and you have every day to practice, you may be able to swim a couple of lengths confidently before the end of the trip.
Setting Goals on Keto
As a quick summary of what we have learned so far, goals should be specific and measurable; you should also set some timescales on these goals to motivate you to work towards something.
Writing down your short, medium and long terms goals will make you accountable.
Your accountability may be to yourself or you may want to share these goals with somebody else so they can hold you to account.
Keep a copy of your goals somewhere visible to keep reminding you what you are trying to achieve.
Your goals should be enough that they motivate you but when you’re setting these, please do a reality check as to whether they are actually achievable.
I’ve set these goals as a one, three- and six-month goal, you may want to change this to meet time scales in your own life.
Your goal may be an event (wedding, holiday, etc) in a year’s time, in which case you may want to set this as a time scale for your long-term goal.
Looking back at the swimming goal, a SMART goal should be written as;
“I want to learn to take weekly swimming lessons to be able to swim a whole 25m length of the pool unaided by 12 weeks time. I am going to post my weekly progress to social media to keep me accountable. I will invite my family to my ‘big swim’ at the end of 12 weeks. This is so I can be confident swimming with the kids on holiday”
Specific – weekly swimming lessons to swim 25 meters unaided
Measurable – Swim 25 meters unaided in the local pool
Attainable – 12 weeks to swim 25 meters unaided after 12 lessons should be achievable, but maybe a stretch
Accountable – going to post to social media each week after every lesson
Relevant – wants to be a stronger swimmer to be able to enjoy a family holiday.
Timely – 12 weeks to learn with one lesson a week
Do you see how this goal has changed from ‘learn to swim’ to something really tangible?
Setting realistic goals means that you will be less likely to become disheartened and quit keto.
The first goal does not seem to have anything substance behind it. To me, it sounds like an idea I would come up with if I was drinking with friends that I never had any intention of doing.
The second write-up of the same goal is very considered. If somebody was telling me that goal, I would already think that the individual was intent on achieving this.
Now, let’s get back to goal setting on keto and how you can make this work for you to ensure that you reach your keto goals.
Why Your Keto Goals Should NOT be Weight Loss Orientated
Be careful about making all of your goals weight orientated.
Although we’ve been conditioned to go by what the scales tell us, maybe consider using another measurement such as fitting into your favorite item of clothing or drinking more water.
If you’re just starting out your goal may be as simple as cutting down your carb intake over a number of days or swapping out milk chocolate for 85%, or more, dark chocolate to start your transition into keto eating and reaching your keto macros.
Weight loss is dependent on a number of different factors and is not linear. Also, with the keto diet, you are more likely to lose inches initially and not necessarily weight on the scales.
For this reason, I would highly discourage people from using their weight as a keto goal.
Why Your Why is Important
Your why is also important. You need a reason for working towards these goals. Is it because you want to improve your health, or look drop-dead gorgeous at your high school union?! Make sure your why is good enough to keep you motivated.
This also ties nicely into the ‘relevant’ metric above. If the goal has no meaning to you, you are less likely to achieve it.
Think carefully about what your reason is before setting your goal.
Short, Medium & Long Terms Goals
To keep you motivated on your keto journey, I would always advise setting a short, medium, and long term goal.
Timescales on these will be different depending on the goal itself, only you can decide on that. For me, I use the following time scales for my goals.
SHORT: 1-3 months
MEDIUM: 3-9 months
LONG: 6-12 months
If you are setting goals for over a years time, it may be too far in the future and you may lose some of your motivation unless the milestone is strong enough, such as a wedding or a specific event.
Your goals are individual to you and I don’t want to guide you as to what to choose as your goal as your why may not be strong enough.
Rewards for Reaching Your Keto Goals
Rewards can be great and can keep you motivated on your journey
Consider identifying a reward for yourself when you reach each of these goals (short, medium, and long term).
Try not to make this food-based as that can be counterproductive.
Why not try a new item of jewelry or clothing, go on a trip you’ve wanted to take, do a photoshoot, or take up a hobby that you haven’t had the confidence to do previously?
What To Do When You Reach Your Ultimate Goal
When you have reached your health and wellbeing goals, you can be smug! You will also want to maintain your gains.
Some people will also consider transitioning into a low carb way of eating in order to maintain their goals, with fewer restrictions.
Others will continue living a keto lifestyle because this is what they know works for them.
Here we have taken you through goal setting on a keto lifestyle. It is really important to break away from getting on the scales to validate yourself. Set yourself a short, medium, and long-term keto goal, and make sure it’s SMART. If you need to be accountable, you can get in contact with us and share your goal. Good luck!