Now, if you happen to have been waiting for January 1st to set your goals, then your time is now here. So, are your goals set? One thing I think that is important to clear up going into this new and fantastic year is to understand that setting goals does not have to only happen once a year. Instead, maybe this year try setting a smaller goal. Once that goal is reached, why not set another one? Maybe this year your goals are a quarterly thing? How great will that feel to knock out 4 goals this year!?
When we set goals that are attainable and seem achievable in a shorter period of time, we feel better when we reach them. I am sure we have all heard of setting, “Smart” goals and they may sound a bit cliché, but they really work and they are really motivating. A goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and has a time frame determined is so important. Another thing to think about too is that when we set goals in the short run we realize that we may be able to continue them for the long run; we create habits. For example, if you are vowing to simply eat more vegetables at dinner time, an end goal time frame may not be appropriate. But, if you vow to try 10 new vegetables in the next 10 weeks, chances are you will like some (if not all) of them and when the 10 weeks is up you will keep some new veggies in your dinner rotation.
So let’s break down what all of this goal setting, “smartly” means. Instead of this year saying, I am going to eat healthier, be more specific. What specifically are you going to change in your diet to eat healthier? Is it adding more vegetables to breakfast? Is it incorporating three or more colors at each meal? Is it to try a new veggie each week as mentioned above?
When setting this goal also think about why you want to accomplish this. Why will eating more vegetables in 2014 benefit you and why are you making it a priority this year? Even more importantly, why will achieving this goal make you feel good? This is truly a personal look into what is driving you this year and something to really give some thought to.
Next up, make them measurable. That means – have an amount attached to the goal. If again it’s veggies – what is your serving size each meal? Are you adding a new veggie each week for 10 weeks as mentioned above? Are you adding multiple veggies to each meal? How many? What about exercise? Are you planning on exercising more? How much more? How many days per week or minutes per workout? When you are able to measure a goal you are able to determine when it is achieved.
Attainable. According to Forbes online – only 8% of American’s who set goals as part of a New Year’s resolution actually achieve them. And the 92% who don’t achieve them? Well, maybe the goals they set were too crazy, too un-attainable and they maybe made their drastic changes too fast which caused frustration and then for them to give up. I am totally projecting here, but we set ourselves up for failure when our goals are too far-fetched and then we end up feeling worse. Don’t fall into this trap. Set a goal with an action plan in mind of how you will get there.
Realistic. You know yourselves better than anyone else. If you have never run a mile in your life, setting a goal to run a marathon in 6 months may not (there are exceptions for sure, don’t get me wrong!) be realistic for you. But a realistic goal in 6 months can definitely be a 5K or even a 10k and then you build from there. If you are a soda addict drinking 2 liters of soda per day, I would rather you say you will cut it down to 1 liter per day in the next 3 months and never go back to drinking 2 liters a day ever. Instead of not drinking any soda for 3 months but after 3 months going back to drinking a consistent 2 liters a day.
Time. If you don’t set a timeline to achieve your goal, it may be more likely to fall off the wayside. If you have a date picked out, circled on your old school calendar and alerted on your smart phone calendar with reminders popping up at you each week, you will be far more likely to stick with it than giving yourself an infinite amount of time. Then when that day comes, celebrate or re-evaluate what went wrong.
Goals are personal things and by no means do they need to be health and wellness oriented. But, if in 2014 you are trying to be a healthier version of yourself, take some time and think this through. If you have never been one to set goals or track goals maybe your goal this year is simply to set a goal and track your progress of it. If you need some inspiration I have created a list below of some ideas you may be interested in. Feel free to use them or use this list to inspire your own personal goal and then set your parameters yourselves:
- Make sure each meal has three or more colors.
- Make half of your grains whole grains each day.
- Try a new whole grain each week for a month. (Farro, Wheat Berries, Quinoa, Freekeh to name a few)
- Make, “Meatless Monday,” a reality each week in your home.
- Keep a food journal. (With an app of your choice or even on paper the old fashioned way!)
- Try a new fish weekly. Then vow to eat your favorite fish choices 2-3x’s per week.
- Cook dinner at home a few more times per week.
- Decrease your soda and added sugar intake.
- Use measuring cups and spoons.
- Plan ahead for your week. Make Sunday your prep day, buy cute new Tupperware are prep your to-go snacks.
- Along the prep and cook lines – bring your lunch to work!
- Start a money jar and each time you achieve a goal of yours put $5 in a jar – when you get to a set amount you have determined (maybe $100?) buy a new work out outfit or treat yourself to a few of your favorite work out classes or some personal training sessions? Something not food focused.
- Make “sweat” dates – I worked at Lulu Lemon as a seasonal employee for a few months last year and as the whole experience there was an amazing one, one of the best things I learned from that fabulous few months was to set these, “sweat” dates with friends. Instead of brunch or dinner, go to a spin class or barre class or try the amazingly difficult Megaformer workout somewhere in your neighborhood together. Make it fun and enjoy your friend’s company sweating together and making each other better!
- Most importantly…Be Happy!
This is a new year; make it your best year yet. Do what makes you happy and live each day to its fullest and healthiest! And please continue to check in here at Head to Toe and let us know how you are doing, what your goals are and when you achieve them! Thanks for reading, have a #happyslimhealthy new year! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Continue to look for the #happyslimhealthy hashtag for new meal ideas!
- Jenna A. Stock, RD