18 Jan 5 Tips For Goal Setting In the New Year
By Melissa O’Shea, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
When a new year arrives, it offers us a clean slate and the opportunity to hit the refresh button. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the past year, take advantage of newfound energy and set new health and wellness goals.
But how you set the goals is just as important as the overall objective. To set goals that you can stick to, keep these tips in mind.
Break down big goals: Big goals, such as “I want to lose 20 pounds” can seem overwhelming and maybe even impossible at first. Rather than feeling intimated, try breaking down large goals into smaller actionable steps. Smaller goals seem more reasonable and provide a roadmap to ultimately achieving your larger goal. In the previous example of losing 20 pounds, a smaller goal would be, “I am going to go to yoga class twice a week” or “I am going to spend an hour on Sundays doing meal prep.”
- Be specific – The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to accomplish them. Instead of saying “I will eat more vegetables”, say “ I will include cut up carrots and cucumbers in my lunch bag,” or “I will have at least one serving of vegetables at dinner.” You now have actionable and specific steps that will help you eat more vegetables this year.
- Keep it positive: Too often we tell ourselves what we won’t do. “I will not eat dessert at night” or “I will not make any purchases at the vending machine.” Turn your don’ts into do’s, and this positive spin will lead to success. “I will drink a glass of water with each meal” or “I will bring a healthy afternoon snack to work.”
- Stay accountable – It’s not always easy to feel responsible for an unspoken goal. It’s better to write down or verbalize goals to help you feel accountable. Keep a food journal where you write down everything you eat and drink, schedule monthly check-ins with a dietitian, or check in with a coworker or spouse who has a similar goal. To find a registered dietitian in your area, go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Many registered dietitians now take insurance.
- Be flexible – Sometimes unforeseen obstacles get in our way, but don’t beat yourself up. Just do the best you can and get back on track as soon as possible. And remember, even with small setbacks you can still reach your goals.