Do you make New Years Resolutions? As we kick off 2019, many people are finding themselves reflecting on the past year. While you don’t have to wait for a new year (or a new month, week, or even day!) to have a fresh start, the new year can serve as a good time to reevaluate goals, create new ones, and track progress.
When it comes to healthy nutrition, it’s the big picture that we are concerned about. It’s important to set big goals, goals that challenge you and might take a while to achieve – you can do anything you put your mind to! But how do you go about creating big goals and tracking progress against them in a meaningful way without feeling discouraged on a day to day basis? How do you evaluate progress when your goal timeline might be months or even years?
Start with the end in mind – and work backwards.
First, figure out your desired end state and timeline. Where do you want to be, and when? Example: I want to lose 10lbs for my friend’s wedding in July, I want to be able to do 3 unassisted pull-ups by the end of June, etc.
Second, figure out an intermediary goal based on your end goal. In example 1 above, you would want to lose approximately 2lbs per month – very reasonable and doable (recognizing that weight loss has fluctuations and is not always linear!)
Finally, create short term goals and commitments and determine how you will keep track of them. Examples: Each day I will eat 8 servings of fruits and vegetables, drink 64oz of water, sleep a minimum of 7 hours. Each week I will only eat out a maximum of 2 times and work out 5 days. Track these goals in a journal, on a calendar… whatever works best to both motivate you and keep you on track. Figure out little ways to recognize and reward your successes! Maybe if you hit those daily/weekly goals you have documented for two weeks, you treat yourself to a new workout outfit or tickets to that concert you have been wanting to go to. The important thing is figuring out what motivates you, creating and documenting your goal tracking system, and being consistent with the check-ins and progress.
Not all nutrition goals are (or should be) centered around weight/fat loss… nor are they all as easily quantifiable. Some other great health goals to make include things like:
- Eat all meals sitting down, NOT in front of an electronic device, off of a plate! (I happen to be particularly bad about eating out of containers… standing up… in front of a computer 🤦🏻♀️)
- Commit to making/bringing your lunch to work four days a week
- Try to have at least three different colors of produce at every meal!
- Make healthy eating a family affair. Challenge the whole family to eat a fruit/vegetable beginning with every letter by the end of the month. Make it a contest to see who can do it first!
Most importantly – don’t minimize your accomplishments! Celebrate successes, no matter how small. In order to feel like you’re making progress, it’s essential to recognize the positives. Every single one is a step forward to achieving your goals!