As radio personality Larry Elder once said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." If you want to lose weight, setting goals will keep you on track to succeed. A goal tracker can help you record your progress and milestones and see how far you have to go to reach your ideal weight. Goal trackers range from online trackers to homemade ones.
Online Weight Trackers
An online weight-loss goal tracker can help you see your progress and share it with friends on your blog or social networking sites. A popular format for online weight loss trackers is to show a horizontal line with marks for your milestones and progress, and your goal weight at the end of the line. Many of these trackers offer an array of decorative graphics to choose from.
You can create your own weight loss tracker or use a template using computer programs such as spreadsheets and word processors. Spreadsheets, such as Microsoft Excel, allow you to enter formulas to automatically calculate your weight loss, workouts or daily calories. You can personalize the colors and style of your charts in, and you can create graphs from the results. You can download weight loss tracking templates for Excel from Microsoft's website (see Resources).
Journals are another way to track weight loss progress. CNN's diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis recommends food and weight loss journals for her clients to track their workouts and diet. A journal can be online in blog form or a physical book you write in, and can be as formatted or as free-form as you want, ranging from charts and calculations to written entries describing your day's activities. You can include only your daily or weekly weight numbers in your journal or also track calories consumed and burned.
Create Your Own Tracker
If you enjoy being creative, you can design your own weight-loss tracker to post on your wall or refrigerator as a reminder of your goal. Make a collage with clothes you'd like to wear, the weight you want to reach or things you will reward yourself with, such as a trip to the beach. For the goal tracker, use a permanent marker to draw a line with your beginning weight on the left side and your goal weight on the right. Make check marks along the line as you progress down the weight loss path and shed pounds.
When choosing a weight-loss goal tracker, consider how much information you want to track. You may simply want a tracker for the weight you lose, or you may want to also track your daily caloric intake and workouts. If you only measure weight loss in pounds, do not expect your numbers to go down steadily, as factors such as your diet, exercise and muscle mass gained from working out will make your weight fluctuate at times. Using other measurements besides your weight can help you stay motivated and allows you to see your progress in other areas.