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 “behavioral goals”. And that my behavioral changes help me get to where I want to go, and my smart goal is my roadmap to get there!
My mother use 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 and it can provide us opportunities. One thing that gets in the way of us succeeding to reach our goals, is too many and being unrealistic in what we can accomplish.
For most of us, many of us set a goal of self improvement. For many of us this may be staying better organized, losing weight, increasing exercise, eating more vegetarian meals or buying more local food.
Some of us may feel that we have to be 100% on target to achieve success and a few may include deprivation and suffering in order 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!
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 focus 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:
- 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.
- Measurable: How can I measure “I am going to go to Zumba more”. A way to make this measurable would be ” I am going to exercise at least 3-4 times a week by doing either Zumba, walk or hike”.
- 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 attainable or achievable for you?
- Relevant: Is your goal getting at 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 everyday 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.
- Time: How long am I going to do this? For my exercise 3-4 times a week maybe it would be 30 minutes or an hour each time.
Let’s Work on Setting a Smart Goal 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, if you determine that the fact that you skip lunch and usually leads to overeating later on in the day may be the real issue. So, a smart goal might be: Currently skipping lunch 7 days a week and will begin eating lunch at least 3-4 times a week.
Smart goals that are 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 have several new healthy habits that you actually enjoy and can see results over time!
The great thing about this is you can set a goal to almost any behavior that you would like to change! Whether it be a getting healthier, improving relationships or keeping a cleaner house, you can make small steps to get there.
Think of your new behavioral smart 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 happen to 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!
Need Help Setting Your Smart Goals for Nutrition Change?
Some of us can use a little help and encouragement to work on setting 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 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 get a jump heart on 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!