8 Amazing Goals You Can Achieve in the Next 8 Weeks

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you're just starting a long weight-loss journey, it can be tough to keep up your motivation week after week, much less month after month, or even year after year. We all know that slow and steady wins the weight-loss race, with "get thin quick" schemes often proving to be unsustainable or even downright dangerous. That said, acknowledging some small, short-term victories can help maintain your momentum along the way while setting you up for success, short-term goal by short-term goal.
 
Instead of feeling discouraged by the long road ahead, try shifting your focus to specific goals you can achieve in the next eight weeks. While you may have an ultimate goals in mind (lose 100 pounds, run a 5K, etc.), setting a few short- or medium-term goals is a motivational hack to keep you pushing toward a benchmark victory before you ultimately reach your finish line. These little victories along the way are not only great for your self-esteem and determination, but they'll also fill you with purpose and instill lifelong healthy habits. Start with these totally achievable targets, or substitute your own!

Ways to Be Great in 8 Weeks

 
1. Increase your water intake.
 
It's been proven that the body often mistakes thirst for hunger, which can easily lead to hundreds of unnecessary calories each day. Make it a goal to gradually boost your water intake up to eight cups per day. Over the course of eight weeks, you can strive to increase it by one cup per week.
 
Registered dietitian nutritionist Mandy Enright recommends easing into a more H20-friendly life by making minor daily changes, such as setting a timer to remind you to drink water throughout the day, keeping a refillable water bottle handy to monitor intake and using water-drinking apps. If plain water isn't your favorite beverage, try adding flavor by infusing it with fruit, herbs or essential oils.
 
"In addition to increasing intake of water, a bonus side effect can be decreasing intake of other beverages, most notably coffee or soda," says Enright. "If just one of these beverages can be swapped for water each day, that provides a decrease in caloric intake."
 
2. Get a stronger core.
 
Strengthening your core—the muscles that support your abdominals and back—not only gives you a flatter tummy, but also improves your posture and makes it easier to perform your workouts and daily activities.
 
Not a fan of crunches? You can build a stronger core in two months with this 8-week plank challenge from Runner's World magazine. If the idea of planks makes you quiver, don't fear—this challenge is geared toward beginners, starting out with short, 15-second planks and gradually extending the hold times each week. By the end of the challenge, you should be able to complete four 50-second planks and 10 back extensions.
  
3. Complete a 60-day workout streak.
 
It may sound daunting, but once you make it a regular habit, working out consistently every day will become a manageable goal, and maybe even a source of stress relief. Start now with just 10 minutes of exercise—whether it's walking, jogging, doing the elliptical or lifting light weights—and repeat that every day for the next seven-and-a-half weeks. Need ideas for how to get moving? Join our fun and supportive four-week Daily Exercise Streak Challenge for motivation.
 
4. Eat more whole grains.
 
While the recommended daily serving of whole grains is 25 to 38 grams, most people only consume around 13 grams. According to nutritionist Toby Amidor, adding more whole grains has a slew of health benefits, including reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Plus, they can help you feel more satiated after eating meals—which means you'll be less likely to go hunting for snacks in an hour or two.
 
Amidor does caution against going from eating very few whole grains to an all-grain diet overnight, as it can cause digestive issues. Instead, she recommends adding more grains slowly. Each week, try switching one food to make it whole grain or add a whole grain. For example, if you like your peanut butter and jelly on white bread, switch to 100 percent whole-wheat bread. The second week, if you usually eat white rice, switch to quinoa or sorghum. "By slowly changing over to whole grains, after eight weeks you should be meeting the dietary guidelines recommendation of making at least half your grains whole," says Amidor.
 
5. Reduce your stress level.
 
Stress is blamed for a myriad of issues, from headaches and insomnia to irritability, heart disease, depression and weight gain. If you're among the one in four people dealing with significant stress, it is possible to regain control and achieve a more calm, centered mindset over an eight-week period.
 
In a study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, those who participated in an eight-week meditation program actually experienced physical changes in brain structure. Specifically, there was a reduction of gray-matter density in the amygdala, which has been shown to influence stress and anxiety. Look for a meditation app online or commit to discovering a relaxation technique that works for you over the next eight weeks. To get started, start each new week by choosing one to two of these stress-relieving techniques used by Coach Jen. The next week, evaluate how they made you feel and mix and match another technique until you find the perfect combination that works for your hectic life.
 
6. Master a new fitness feat.
 
Set a goal to tackle a new fitness challenge, such as performing 100 pushups (or even just 10!), running or walking a mile, mastering a yoga pose or stepping outside of your comfort zone by completing a weekly exercise class. If you're stumped for ideas, visit our Challenge Central and pick a goal to tackle.
 
Any of these fitness feats can be conquered within an eight-week timeframe:
  • Progress to a pull-up: In just two, 10-minute sessions twice a week for several weeks, move through this series of exercise progressions to eventually complete a full pull-up.
  • Do perfect pushups: Over a period of several weeks, you'll progress through four phases to master a perfect pushup. Choose to complete your training at the gym, without equipment or using a stability ball.
  • Run two miles without stopping: This challenge is designed to help you run one full mile in four weeks. Do it twice to hit the two-mile mark in eight weeks.
7. Deep-clean your social media.
 
Over the next eight weeks, focus on upgrading the quality—not always the quantity—of your online communities. Strive to fill your screens only with content that inspires and motivates you to become a better version of yourself. Follow health-oriented people and companies who post positive, encouraging messages, and unfollow any individuals or groups that aren't conducive to your goals. Over the two-month period, you should start to notice a more constructive and motivating online environment.
 
8. Lose up to 16 pounds (about two pounds per week).
 
If losing weight is part of your health and wellness goals, you'll achieve more long-term, sustainable results by ditching the crash diets and shedding pounds slowly. The most effective strategy to lose two pounds per week is eating nutritious meals, tracking your food intake and exercising regularly.
 
What goals do you hope to accomplish in the next eight weeks? How will you make them happen?

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Comments

COMMUTERRAIL 3/30/2018
I don’t think that you are supposed to drink essential oils... Report
SPARKNB 1/10/2018
Yes we can! Report
RAZZOOZLE 12/12/2017
great article Report
ROCKS8ROX 12/7/2017
This article was a great read! Report
POLSKARENIA 7/3/2017
16 pounds in 8 weeks? 16 pounds in 8 months would be great right now! Report
J38850 7/2/2017
My goal is to be able to get back to working out like I was before I got off track and gained some of my weight back. I'm not happy with my self right now. Report
PLAINJANEDOE 7/2/2017

My goal is to successfully do an arm balance in yoga. I am starting with crow pose - one that I attempted but wasnt able to do in high school. Report
JANET552 7/2/2017
I choose a goal of meditation. Report
KATHYJO56 6/25/2017
It's amazing what you can do in two short months Report
COMEBACKKID12 6/1/2017
I really like the idea of the 60 day workout streak. Also the master a physical exercise feat. That's one of the reasons i regained my weight, no longer challenged by exercise, i got bored and gave up on it. Thanks for the article! Report
MSLOUIE3 5/23/2017
Great article. These are reachable, sustainable goals. Report
PLCHAPPELL 5/19/2017
Seems like some attainable goals Report
DENNYJO25 5/7/2017
Motivated me to go for a brisk walk! Report
PATRICIAANN46 4/27/2017
Great ideas............ Report
SHAPNUP 4/22/2017
Interesting article. Report
J38850 4/21/2017
I like the plank exercise, I did one with my arms straight I knew it was a lot easier then when I tried to do one with my elbows bent I thought it would be harder to do but it wasn't I like this one. Report
RAPUNZEL53
Thanks. Report
I will be doing these to see if this works Report
BONDMANUS2002
great Report
Great advice! Love the article! Report
Some great advice Report
Great stuff to keep in mind. Report
PATRICIAANN46
Thank You for the good advice. Report
An oldie but a goodie Report
I can do This! Original wedding ring here I come! Report
KATHRYNGC
The suggestios were good. Switching out somthing is how I ditched a liter a day POP to just WATER or herbal tea. Report
Good goals Report
RAPUNZEL53
Thanks Report
I am working along with you. I definitely want to reach all these goals. Report
I am definitely working on water intake. Report
YES....more ideas that are great! Report
Getting more water in is the key I think! Report
SUNSET09
Good information and something to incorporate in your goals for the year! We can do it! Report
Good to hear from Coach Nicole! Been missing her here on SP! I'm trying the plank challenge and set up to lose 1 pound a week! I'm pumped for change! Report
Going to try and add some steps into my day. Report
TESTSTART2
I'm going to take small steps everyday to help achieve my goals! Report
Thanks for a great article! :) Report
Good information! Report
Like the idea of adding more water slowly by adding more each week! I just can't seem to drink 8 cups of water in one day so I will try the gradual approach!
Report
LARA209
Great post. Thank you very much. Get Dr Fone screen recorder http://techiosguides.com/dr-fone-sc
reen-recorder
/ to record your home screen activities. Report
I want to do this!
Report
Thanks! Report
YMWONG22
Good article. Thank you. Report
ELRIDDICK
Thanks for sharing Report
ZRIE014
very good. Report
Planks at least are fun. Report
Great information! Report
My vision board is complete!
Report
SO needed this! I'm hanging in but needed to keep my new habits going and felt myself slithering this winter. Really inspired me to sharpen up. Thank you Spark and Nicole.. Report
 
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