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A Fresh Approach to Eating

Set Your Personalized Smart Goal for Nutrition and Health

Create smart goals for nutrition and health to achieve your New Year’s intentions. I used to say, “New Year’s Resolutions are made to be broken.” I never used to set them until I changed my view and the term “resolutions” and began referring to them as “behavioral goals.” My behavioral changes help me get to where I want to go, and my smart goal is my roadmap to get there!

My mother used to tell me, “As long as you have a goal to work towards, you have a direction to move towards. A new year is like a clean chalkboard, a new beginning that can provide us with opportunities. One thing that gets in the way of us succeeding in reaching our goals is having too many and being unrealistic in what we can accomplish.

Most people set goals for self-improvement. For many, this may involve staying better organized, losing weight, increasing exercise, eating more vegetarian meals, or buying more local food.

Some of us may feel that we must be 100% on target to achieve success, and others may feel deprived and suffering to meet our goals. We set the bar so high that it can be impossible to reach. If we do reach that perfect resolution, we get there only to stay there for a short time and feel so frustrated that we may go back to our old habits and reprimand ourselves for being a failure. This can certainly make us feel overwhelmed!

Fall veggies like kale, broccoli, cabbage and root veggies in a basket
Eat fruits and vegetables of various colors. Purple foods may even help raise good HDL cholesterol!

What Does It Mean to Set a Smart Goal for Nutrition and Health

This year, try setting more realistic goals one at a time that focuses on a single behavior change. A smart goal is short for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. Here is what I mean by these:

  1. Specific: What exact behavior are we talking about that we want to change? If I say, “I need to get more exercise,” that is a little loose and non-specific, but if I say to myself, “I want to go to Zumba class, hike, or walk,” that is more specific.
  2. Measurable: How can I measure “I am going to go to Zumba more”? A way to make this measurable would be to “Go to exercise at least 3-4 times a week by doing either Zumba, walking, or hiking”.
  3. Attainable: If I say I am going to exercise two hours a day all seven days a week or else” that may not be attainable, and I may not be able to sustain this over time. What would be more feasible or achievable for you?
  4. Relevant: Is your goal getting you where you want to go? Sometimes, the goal that we set will not get us there. For example, if I said that I would eat a salad every day so I could lose weight, and it was a high-calorie salad, maybe there would be a better goal that I could set to get me there. Plus, I might get sick of eating salad.
  5. Time: How long am I going to do this? I exercise 3-4 times weekly, maybe 30 minutes or an hour.

Let’s Work on Setting Smart Goals for Health and Nutrition

Here is an example for setting a goal: “I want to lose 20 pounds”, does not include a strategy to succeed and for many people it may not be a reasonable goal, The goal needs to be a little deeper. Perhaps you determine that the fact that you skip lunch usually leads to overeating later on in the day may be the real issue. So, an intelligent goal might be: Currently skipping lunch seven days a week and will begin eating lunch at least 3-4 times a week.

Smart goals achieved and maintained can make a big difference over the long haul! If you reach your smart goal and it becomes part of your daily life, then you can set another to add to it. After several months, you can enjoy several new healthy habits and see results over time!

The great thing about this is that you can set a goal for almost any behavior that you would like to change! Whether it be getting healthier, improving relationships, or keeping a cleaner house, you can make small steps to get there.

Think of your new behavioral intelligent goals as your plan or road map for improving your life! What I also love about this way of thinking is that there is more than one way to get there! Think of it as permanent and flexible behavior change.

Ways to Plan for Getting Back on Track

One thing can derail our good progress, so make a plan to get back on track if this happens. Sometimes, you can get right back to it easily. But sometimes, it feels almost like going back to the beginning. But you can do it; you are worth the effort!

This article from Harvard has ideas on ways to improve your health with goal setting.

Need Help Setting Your Smart Goals for Nutrition Change?

Some of us can use a little help and encouragement to set achievable and reasonable smart goals for nutrition change. It can be beneficial to bounce off a few ideas with someone. As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I have been successful in helping my clients improve their health while they enjoy making behavior changes. I would love to be part of your team. You can find out more about me here!

You might be interested in one of Vine Ripe Nutrition’s Fresh Approach to Eating Programs to help you improve your health this year. You can find out more about them here Online nutritionist – Vine Ripe Nutrition .

Happy, Healthy New Year to You, and Wishing You the Best!

IBS trained Registered Dietitian Denise Barratt
I am a nutrition coach that helps clients create positive lifestyle change!
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