Now that January is just about over we can all breathe a sigh of relief and say farewell to the far fetched new year resolutions we set 4 weeks ago and restart 2017 with more realistic expectations.
I mentioned in a previous post how an all or nothing mindset coupled with unrealistic goals can sabotage our best intentions. As an example how many of you set yourselves a goal to run the mini marathon this June and have not yet got past the stage of getting the runners on? Who decided to give up alcohol for the month of January and caved in on the first Saturday night? Has anyone set a goal to lose weight by this summer and have not stood on a scales since November? We have all been there before.
1. Set goals that are meaningful and realistic
So let’s get back to the drawing board and get your goals down on paper. What is your top priority health goal? Consider what is your main health concern at the moment. A goal is basically a desired outcome. If you could change one thing about your health what would that be? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to reduce your dependence on sugar? Do you aspire to be fitter, stronger, have more energy or to eat healthier? Write down your goal. You have probably heard somewhere along the way that all goals should be SMART.
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
2. Create a Goal Statement that is unique to you
Don’t just write down a goal, make it a goal statement that explains the what, why, who, where and when of a goal. If your goal is vague it will be difficult to define success. You must be able to track your progress and measure results. A good trick I use is imagine you have reached your goal already and write down how it feels and put this in your goal statement. Include in your goal statement the areas that you intend to focus on to help you reach your goal.
A good goal statement would be;
I want to lose 3 stone by the end of September 2017 so I feel more energised, confident and in control of my eating habits. I intend to achieve this by eating more wholefoods, drinking more water, exercising on a regular basis and cutting out added sugars.
3. Breakdown big goals into smaller steps
Break the big long term goals down into the smaller medium and short term chunks so you do not get overwhelmed by the task ahead.
A goal of 3 stone in 9 months can be broken down into…
14 pounds every 12-13 weeks which can be broken down further into….
roughly 4 pounds a month or
an average of a pound a week.
So you now have weekly, monthly, 3 month and 9 month targets.
4. Decide on your area of focus
For the next step you need to get a little more specific in terms of how you are going to achieve your goal. Decide what areas in your diet and lifestyle you need to focus on. Are there certain areas that are potential stumbling blocks for you? Consider what has worked and perhaps more importantly what has not worked for you in the past. Just because something worked for you before does not mean it will necessarily work now. Perhaps before you just cut out a few meals and spent a little more time in the gym. Our bodies change. Our responses change. This is where we need to be a bit more creative and open minded. This is where we need to get out of our comfort zones, get curious and willing to experiment and try something new.
For anyone trying to lose weight here are some areas that you could to focus on;
Wholefoods, high fibre foods, balanced blood sugars to reduce sugar cravings, plant foods, hydration, home cooked meals, portion control, organisation and planning, weight monitoring, food tracking, mindset review, exercise, stress management, sleep and mindful eating. The list is endless.
5. Set your weekly action steps
Now we are down to the nitty gritty. So you know what you want and you have decided what you are going to focus on to get you there. Now you set your SMART daily/weekly action steps.
Let’s say again your goal is to lose weight. Assume you have decided to focus on controlling your portion sizes and planning meals and food shopping. Your action steps for the next couple of weeks could be as follows:
- Spend half an hour once a week planning the weekly meals and drawing up a shopping list
- Go food shopping twice a week and avoid multiple trips to smaller shops
- Buy smaller dinner plates
- Do not eat directly from a bag, a box or a packet. Put snacks into a small bowl and be mindful of how much you are eating.
- Stop eating when you are 80% full.
So in a nutshell set yourself realistic and meaningful SMART goals. Be creative on deciding how you are actually going to reach your goals. Every week set yourself daily action steps so you are always on track and moving forward.
Do you struggle with your weight? Do you suffer with low moods and low energy levels?
If you would like to learn more about how I can help support and guide you to a healthier, happier you book a FREE DISCOVERY SESSION with me Helen by calling me on 086-8067832, e mailing me on Helen@help2healthnutrition.ie or simply click here for the quick link to me. You are under no obligation whatsoever. All you need to do it take the first step, your future self will thank you.