Health Tips

Set SMART goals for your New Year’s resolution

Want to jump-start your diet and nutrition in the new year? Not sure where to begin? A good place to start the process is by working with your coach to develop a “Nutrition Vision.” This will help take your wellness vision and make it more focused on — you guessed it — your diet! It is a statement of how you want your diet to look like one year from now.

A vital part of the nutrition vision planning session with your coach is setting some diet-related goals for the weeks and months ahead. Using the SMART acronym to sets your nutrition goals is a great first step. Especially with the hectic schedules of the holiday season, SMART goals are going to be set up for success.

Set SMART goals this holiday season

Be realistic but do set some goals for yourself. For example, “I will continue my workouts during the holiday season,” “I will eat smaller portions—even if I am eating a variety of holiday treats,” “I will take time to relax with family and friends,” “I will give myself permission to politely send my regrets to some party invitations to have time for myself.”

SMART goals are an acronym that represents a framework for setting effective goals. The SMART criteria ensure that goals are well-defined, achievable, and actionable. These principles can help make sure your holiday health goals gain momentum:

Specific goals clearly define what you want to accomplish. They specify the reasons, purpose, or benefits of achieving the goal. For example, instead of a vague goal like “exercise more,” a specific goal would be “run for 30 minutes, three times a week, to improve cardiovascular health.”

Measurable goals establish how much or ow many of something is needed to accomplish your target. A measurable goal might take a generic statement like “eat healthier” and make it “consume five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.”

Achievable goals are realistic and relevant. They make sure the goal is attainable with effort and commitment. It also aligns the goal with your overall objectives and values. Instead of setting an overly ambitious goal like “lose 20 pounds in one week,” you might want it to be “lose 1-2 pounds per week through a combination of diet and exercise.”

Relevant goals are ones that align with your broader objectives. They feel like they matter when you ask yourself, “is it worth it?” They should fit into your current reality and your future plans. If your overall goal is to stay healthy for the holidays, a relevant goal might be “practice a minute of mindfulness before each meal.”

Time-bound goals are set with a specific timeframe for achieving the goal. They have checkpoints that allow you to easily check how you’re doing. To have a time-bound goal, establish intermediate milestones for tracking progress. For example, rather than your goal being “stay healthy through the holidays,” a time-bound goal would be “maintain my current weight through January 8th with weekly check-ins to make sure I’m staying on track.”

It’s important to set goals for yourself while also being realistic. Strive to set goals like, “I will continue my workout routine of four 30-minute sessions every week until I’m home on January 2nd” or “I will practice the plate method and mindful eating before dinner each night, and when I am considering when to eat holiday treats.” These goals are SMART, attainable, and will make you more likely to succeed.

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Additional nutrition vision planning tips

1. Add, don’t subtract

Rather than thinking “what shouldn’t I be eating?” on your plate or in a recipe, focus on adding nutritious supplements that make a well-rounded meal. Look for fruits and veggies you like and add them as sides. Or, improve the nutrition levels of what you already eat by adding in veggies to your pizza, sandwiches, and omelets.

2. Make small changes to start

When the New Year rolls around, it’s easy to think we have to make huge strides for the “perfect” year, but that’s not true. You can’t change everything all at once, nor should you try. Make small changes — one or two at a time — to give yourself the best likelihood of sticking to them.

3. Reward Yourself

Take the time to recognize your accomplishments, and how incredible they are. Your hardwork and efforts should be celebrated, so allow yourself to do that! Once you’ve met your nutritional goals, however small they may be, give yourself a non-food reward. If there’s a new book or item you’ve been looking forward to, or even a new restaurant or place you’d like to try, give yourself the opportunity to celebrate!

Give yourself the gift of achievable goals this holiday season. Let yourself enjoy the festivities knowing you’re caring for yourself through it all.

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