Set­ting SMART nu­tri­tion goals

Food Wise with Heidi Mor­ri­son

The Victoria Standard - - Living - HEIDI MOR­RI­SON

Happy New Year! The new year of­ten means new res­o­lu­tions for healthy liv­ing and cre­at­ing goals for changes we wish to make in our lives. When it comes to healthy eat­ing, tak­ing time to fo­cus on what spe­cific goals you would like to achieve may re­sult in more suc­cess ver­sus a more vague goal like “I would like to eat health­ier.” Cre­at­ing a SMART goal (be­ing spe­cific, mak­ing your goal mea­sur­able, set­ting small, at­tain­able, ac­tion ori­ented goals, be­ing re­al­is­tic and within a time frame) can help zero in on cer­tain be­hav­iours and make your goals more re­al­is­tic and achiev­able.

Spe­cific: de­scrib­ing ex­actly what the goal is al­lows you to eas­ily track your progress. For ex­am­ple, I will have a dark green veg­etable with four meals per week.

Mea­sur­able: Record­ing your progress al­lows you to hold your­self ac­count­able. De­cide what you will mea­sure, how you will record it and how of­ten it should be tracked. For ex­am­ple, write on your cal­en­dar or day plan­ner which meals you plan to in­clude. Make notes of dark green veg­eta­bles you want to try & buy, use a check­mark sys­tem once you’ve eaten the veg­etable.

Ac­tion: choose an ac­tion you can mod­ify and track rather a thought or feel­ing. Also en­sure your goal is at­tain­able; you have the tools, re­sources and time to achieve that goal. For ex­am­ple, in­stead of say­ing “I want to re­duce my sugar crav­ings,” plan­ning to in­crease more low sugar foods (dark green veg­eta­bles like spinach, kale, brus­sel sprouts, bok choy, broc­coli) will help start to mod­ify your diet. Also, al­low for ex­tra time at the gro­cery store to re­view what op­tions there are (fresh, frozen, canned) to stay within bud­get; ask friends or re­view cook­books for recipe ideas.

Re­al­is­tic: Start­ing with small, achiev­able goals can boost your con­fi­dence and al­low for longterm suc­cess. Choos­ing to do some­thing every day that you have not done be­fore is less re­al­is­tic than start­ing with a goal of a few times per week. For ex­am­ple, if dark green veg­eta­bles are cur­rently very lim­ited in your diet, choos­ing a few meals per week ver­sus a daily goal is more achiev­able.

Time Frame: Choose a start date, al­low your­self a des­ig­nated amount of time to com­plete the goal and set a dead­line. This will help mo­ti­vate you to fo­cus on track­ing your goal, look­ing ahead to ob­sta­cles and mak­ing note of is­sues that arise that may af­fect your suc­cess. For ex­am­ple, choose the next gro­cery or­der day as your start date, try the goal for two weeks and then re-eval­u­ate.

To help en­sure goal reach­ing suc­cess, set only one or two goals at a time. Find a sup­port buddy or good friend to con­nect with. Some­one to bounce goal ideas off of, to get feed­back from and to be ac­count­able to, can help in feel­ing less iso­lated and more suc­cess­ful. Write down your rea­sons for want­ing to achieve your goal. Re­view those rea­sons when you feel like you’re fail­ing or hav­ing dif­fi­culty in over­com­ing ob­sta­cles. Stay pos­i­tive! Set­backs are nor­mal, so feel com­fort­able to mod­ify your goals if nec­es­sary, and re­flect on what works with your life­style. Good luck!

Heidi Mor­ri­son has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Hu­man Nu­tri­tion. Have a ques­tion about food or nu­tri­tion? Email healthyeat­[email protected]­to­ri­a­s­tan­dard.ca.

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