Small Steps for Big Weight Loss Goals: How to Make Lasting Changes

If you’re usually overwhelmed by even thinking about your big, scary, “out-there” goals for weight loss, read on to see how small steps can help you reach big goals

I hesitated before stepping on the scale, glancing at my swimsuit hanging up in the closet. Taking a deep breath, I went for it…and groaned. TWENTY POUNDS? How?!”

How Small Steps Can Help You Reach Your Big Goals

I almost always want to lose some weight before summer, but wow, I wasn’t expecting this.

Was I going to try to lose it in the usual way? Just grind it out and suffer until the weight dropped (hopefully)? Then what?

I’d likely go back to my usual way of eating….unless, this time I had a plan that consisted of small steps on the way to the BIG goal of losing 20 pounds.

So, do you just figure out how many fewer calories you have to eat, and/or how many you have to burn per day to reach your goal?

Sure, technically that should work.

But what about in real life? If this had worked in the past, why am I 20 pounds overweight–again?

It’s All About Habits

Yes, habits. Those annoying things your husband and kids do.

Like throwing their clothes on the floor when they get home from work or school.

Or missing the laundry basket with the socks.

Losing the car keys.

You get where I’m coming from, but those are not the habits I have I mind. We all have habits, both helpful and unhelpful. Our brains consider all of them useful.

Why? Because our brains are lazy. They’d rather cruise on auto pilot than use up all your energy trying to think up some new scheme.

Even if a habit isn’t good for you long term, your mind will still fall back on it because it takes the least amount of effort. And the old cranium is all about conserving energy. Thank evolution for this.

Want to unleash the power of habits? Sign up and get it free!

Transform Your Health With The Power of Habits

What Does This Have To Do With Losing 20 Pounds?

Losing weight is all about making small, consistent changes. The key here is SMALL. I’m talking tiny.

I know you secretly wish you could lose those 20 pounds miraculously overnight in two weeks. But has this ever worked?

Most likely you just regained the weight after the summer, or after the wedding, or reunion, even if you managed to suffer through the hell of crash dieting.

And then you either had to do it all over again, or just give up. It doesn’t have to be like this!

Allow me to suggest another way.

A way that may take a bit longer than the crash diet du jour, but one that, if you can muster up a little patience, will actually work and stick.

I’m not much of a patient person, and I like to see instant results as much as the next gal.

But going through another deprivation diet at my age is not something I look forward to. No matter how skeptical you may be, if you put the principles that I’m going to teach you in place, you WILL make progress, and it WILL stick.

If you keep trudging along the same path that has gone nowhere, what makes you think THIS time will be different? News flash; it won’t be. So stick around and learn a better way.

What Can You Do?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

This is going to sound too simple, but I want you to start with one small thing. One tiny aspect of your calorie intake that you can change.

Let’s say you drink 3 cups of coffee each morning with a large splash of cream. You love it, and think you cannot live without it.

What’s a very small thing you can do to make a difference here?

I can think of several, but how about using a slightly smaller mug? Mugs come in all kinds of sizes, and if you can shave a few ounces off yours, multiplied by 3 each day, you’d likely be surprised by how many fewer calories you’d be consuming.

Let’s do a little math. Say you pour around a quarter cup of cream in each mug of coffee. Trust me, this is less than you imagine. If you do this three times, that’s ¾ cup.

This is SIX HUNDRED and SIXTEEN calories. Every day.

I just used a calculator to do this. 821 calories in a cup of cream times .75 (which is the decimal equivalent of ¾ in case you have forgotten your 4th grade math!) is 616 calories.

We all know that some diets for women call for 1200 for the whole day. Can you imagine using over half of those calories JUST in your 3 cups of coffee??? 

My goodness, that scares me and I don’t even drink any cream in any coffee. You probably don’t even think those are real calories! Heck, they’re in your coffee and that doesn’t count, right?

This Is Where It Gets Crazy Good

Say you take this advice and start using smaller mugs for your coffee. Now you’re only dumping 3 tablespoons of cream instead of 4 (1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons) in each cup. You save 3 tablespoons each day, about 52 calories each.

This works out to just under 151 calories per day, and I’m pretty sure you would barely notice this change!

True, you would have to measure a bit, but you could easily find a small container that would hold this amount and pour your cream into it and then into your cup. Work with me here, this is just an example.

How much would this small change amount to in pounds over a year? ALMOST 16 POUNDS. I kid you not.

You have made such a tiny little change, and with not a shred of exercise (but don’t get complacent; exercise is important) you can lose nearly 16 pounds in a year.

This is, of course, if you change nothing else. No fair thinking, “well, if I cut out a little cream each day, now I can have a handful of jelly beans!”

Can you see where this might lead? What if, after you get used to your slightly smaller mug and slightly smaller amount of cream, you decide to only have 2 cups per day?

Or you change to half-and-half?

The progress you could make! It’s almost like magic.

The Magic Of Small Steps

This concept can literally change your life, not just your weight. Tiny steps in the right direction are the key. When they are this small, it’s easy to keep them.

You are training your brain to work WITH you instead of always taking the easy, tried and true way out.

What small step can you take this week to finally lose that weight you’ve lost and regained so many times?

Remember, using small steps can help you reach your big goals!

If you liked this post, you’ll love the Fit Fabulous Women
Over 50 Facebook Group!

Want to remember this? Post this “Small Steps Can Help You Reach Big Goals” article to your favorite Pinterest board!

If you like this post, please share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. This is so doable! Thanks for such simple, yet effective advice! I’m currently doing Weight Watchers, but I’ve been worried about putting the weight back on after I’m down to my goal weight. But if I make a list of “small step” ideas to implement, I know I can be successful. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad it was helpful, Kristi! Weight Watchers is a great program. I am a lifetime member from long ago, and I still use things I learned from the program. I like the new way that food is “counted” now as well, because it puts less emphasis on calories only, and more on the type of food and how it affects us. More on that in a later post.

      Keep up the good work! The small steps approach is a game-changer in so many ways (not just fitness and diet related).