Goal setting

This time of year, many of us embark on goal setting – simple! Well, maybe the goal setting is simple, but achieving your goals can be more of a challenge, so here are some thoughts to get you started.

First of all, consider why you have identified this goal, and whether it is motivated by your own wish to make a change. As I am a nutritionist, many of the examples I give will be around health and nutrition, but this advice may be applied more widely.

Your goal is a statement of your desired outcome, which may be to lose weight, to exercise more, to stop eating “junk” food or, to eat less meat.  To achieve your goal however, you need to act! So – how are you going to do this? Here are some simple tips:

Consider what you ARE going to do, rather than what you’re NOT going to do; by doing this, you are developing some kind of plan; “I AM going to take lunch into work with me so that I am less tempted by foods which won’t help me achieve my goal”.  Furthermore, it’s a positive approach, rather than a negative “I’m not going to eat chips at lunch” for example.

The second tip is to remember that some goals, such as weight loss, for example, are better achieved, when you consider what steps you will take towards them, such as learning new skills (ie cooking) improving them, or even just using them more.  Mastering a skill can be just as rewarding as achieving your goal and will help you focus on something other than just the scales.

Also, consider the reason for your goal; are you truly invested in this, or is some external influence responsible – it could be a well-meaning friend or family member, or something on social media. Regardless, if the motivation comes from within, it will be easier to stick to your guns when your will is challenged.

Apply the SMART approach; make sure your goal is:

Specific– such as, I am going to reduce weight to/fit into that pair of jeans….

Measurable – how do the jeans fit now/how much do you weigh now…..?

Realistic– did you last wear those jeans, or weigh in at that weight, 30 years ago??

Achievable– are you setting the bar too high?  Are the jeans one size, or five sizes too small?

Time-framed– by when do you want to achieve your goal ( is the target of * weeks achievable? Realistic?)

It’s important not to set yourself up to fail.  Be kind to yourself and, if you have a slip up, try not to let that undo all the days and weeks of effort.  Forgive yourself and carry on.

Create an action plan; the where, when and how your goal is to be achieved. Your action plan may be a week-by-week goal – to be assessed and evaluated in a short time frame, which may allow you also to anticipate potential hurdles you may face; a birthday, a holiday, parties and celebrations.  You may need to develop coping strategies; to overcome the hurdles threaten to de-rail your action plans.

Most of try not to undermine yourself; changing behaviour, especially those  ingrained habits, is likely to be challenging so, believe in yourself, celebrate your wins, and, forgive yourself the occasional “backwards step”.

For any help and guidance on achieving your nutrition goals, please book an appointment by completing the contact form on this site or, contact me by mail at: csnhealthandnutrition@gmail.com

Good luck.