How SMART is your goal?
Hands up who have a goal in place for healthy eating?
If you do then, congratulations, but here’s my next question
Is it realistic?
It is measurable
Is it attainable?
It is time bound?
If you don’t have these in place, then the chances are that you won’t achieve your goal.
If you don’t have a goal in place, then don’t worry, I am not leaving you out as this blog will help you.
Even if you have goals in place, do you have a plan?
Why do I need a goal?
With anything in life, if you want to achieve something then you need a goal to work towards.
Goal setting allows you to get that “ownership” feeling and you can plan on how you are going to achieve that goal
I am always speaking with my clients about “small steps = big changes” and achieving small goals will encourage you to reach the next goal
When I speak with clients, they often come up with board brush statements, like
“I want to lose 2 stone” “I want to exercise more”
This is too general and isn’t SMART
What is SMART?
S – Specific
This addresses, what, why and how
M – Measurable
You should have a measurement by which you can confirm you have reached your goal
A – Attainable
Ask yourself, it is attainable. Be honest
R – Realistic
The goals should be realistic and in line with your own circumstances.
T – Time bound
What is the time frame?
Having your goals that are SMART means you can review your intentions.
An example is for increasing the number of steps you walk each day could look like this.
Walk with a friend in the afternoon for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week.
It is specific, measurable, realistic, attainable and has a timeframe.
Other examples of SMART goals include:
If you want to eat more fruit: “I will eat one piece of fruit for my afternoon snack three times this week.”
If you are just starting to eat more fruits and vegetables. “I will eat 3 times a week at least 3 types of vegetables with my evening meal.”
It you are trying to eat out less often in the evenings: “I will batch cook at least 3 meals in advance on a Sunday afternoon ready for the week ahead.”
Once you have reached your SMART goal, then you can add to this. I would also call this “habit stacking”, a phrase coined by James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits.
Walking 3 times a week for 20 minutes becomes 4 times a week for 30 minutes, then 5 times a week for 40 minutes. Fruit 3 times a week becomes 5 times a week…..
How do you get started with goal setting for healthier eating habits.
Making changes is hard. It can be overwhelming and stressful. You start the week of with big intentions, but often you try to change too much at the same time.
This week I am going to:
Drink 2 litres of water every day
Walk 5 times a week for 30 minutes
Stop eating chocolate
You do well for the first 2 days and then by the Wednesday you start to struggle, and you don’t achieve the 3 goals and you stop doing it. Because of you stopping doing it, you feel you have failed, and you stop trying.
How can you break this cycle of setting yourself up for failure?
Review your current daily habits and eating patterns. Identify areas that may be stopping you reaching your healthy goals. This is often where people like me come in. We work with you to review your current lifestyle and eating habits. We work together on where you may fall. For example, working in an office where there is always cakes and biscuits on offer. You don’t eat breakfast because you struggle to get up on time in the morning.
Where to start?
Sometimes people find it hard to set goals because they don’t know where to start. I suggest you write down all of the things you want to achieve and focus on the ones that would give you the most reward or joy. It maybe it’s the most realistic. For example, I want to move more when I am in the office or working from home.
The goal could be “I am going to walk about the office/home every 20 minutes and set a reminder to do so”. You would still need to make it SMART, but you have something to start from.
Remember why you are setting your goals.
Are they short or long term? If they are short term, would you still stick to them after the event? When it comes to healthy eating, often I am told that a client wants to lose weight for a specific event, like a holiday, wedding etc.
This actually turns into a “diet” rather than long term healthy eating habits. I work with the client to realise that a short term diet isn’t healthy and they end up focusing on avoiding or depriving themselves.
That’s why SMART goals shouldn’t emphasize avoiding, or limiting, but on what the benefits of continuing with healthy eating in the long term.
Saying I am going to avoid all chocolate is depriving yourself. Saying I am going to eat fresh fruit 3 times a week is so much more positive, and it is realistic.
You need a plan
Making sure you keep on track is key to achieving your goal. Saying I am not going to buy processed foods is no good if you haven’t planned your meals in advance, completed a shopping list and gone shopping for the ingredients. That means you need a plan of action.
The action could be each Monday I will make a meal plan for the week ahead, make a shopping list and arrange on-line shopping or a time to do the shopping.
How well are you doing?
You need to track your progress. You can use any thing that suits you.
Some of my clients use apps on their phone for recording their weight loss, drinking water, measuring their steps.
Some have their goals pinned up where they can see them and tick off their achievements.
The choice is yours, but not tracking is a no-no in my opinion.
Each time you achieve a small step it will give you confidence to move onto the next step in your progress.
Remember to recognise each win, each small step, each milestone reached.
How can I help you?
I am a qualified nutrition, who makes good nutrition easy with habits that help. I work with people who have lost their way when it comes to healthy eating, losing weight and feeling good about themselves.
I don’t do diets; I don’t do calories. I don’t do restrictions.
What I do is good honest advice.
I am work closely with clients who need support, accountability and understanding about the relationship between food and emotions. We work together on strategies and tactics to help them. I work with them to unlearn the bad habits of a lifetime of dieting, restrictions and deprivation.
I offer a free discovery call so please get in touch with me to book your call or click on the link below