Smart nutrition goals are concise, reachable, and realistic. There is a lot that goes into setting a nutrition goal so I wanted to share my top tips and tricks to help you reach those nutrition goals, no matter how big or small!
Why is it important to set realistic goals?
Setting realistic goals is extremely important and affects the long-term chances to reaching that goal. If you set a goal that is too far of a reach, you're less likely to achieve it because motivation will decrease after a while.
Let's say you currently eat 1 serving of vegetables a day (fun fact: this is about the size of your fist!) but you want to eat 7 servings of vegetables a day. Significantly changing what you're currently doing by going from 1 to 7 servings overnight is going to be difficult because you aren't used to consuming that much.
Now, this is not to say you can't and won't get to the point of eating 7 servings of veggies a day (#goals). Instead of jumping from 1 to 7, I recommend starting with a smaller goal. I would maybe aim for 3 servings a day for 1-2 weeks. Once you hit that consistently, increase it to 5 servings a day. Then 7. And now you're eating those 7 servings of veggies a day!
Doesn't that seem more manageable than jumping from 1 to 7 servings in a day or two?! Plus, by slowly increasing your intake, you become used to it. This will make it more sustainable in the long run and shows why it's important to set realistic goals!
You can achieve any goal you set your mind to, I just recommend breaking it up into smaller pieces 🙂
Nutrition Smart Goals
Have you ever heard of SMART goals? It's my favorite way of explaining how to set goals you can achieve AND sustain (key word right there: sustain).
In case you haven't heard of SMART goals or need a refresher:
- Specific - get as specific as possible to really focus in on what you want to achieve. You're more likely to reach a specific goal than a broad, general one!
- Measureable - define how the goal will be measured. Instead of saying, "I want to drink more water" think, "I want to drink 80oz of water per day."
- Achieveable - is it achieveable for you? Sticking with the water example, if you drink 20oz of water every day, is jumping to 80oz/day achieveable within a certain time frame?
- Relevant - will the goal help your health long-term? Is it something you genuinely want to work on/achieve?
- Time-bound - this is so important! Set a time/date to reach your goal by to keep you motivated (especially once you achieve it!).
Setting nutrition smart goals can be so impactful and really help to improve your health. I always recommend setting SMART goals because following these steps significantly improves your chances of succeeding and MAINTAINING these goals long-term (which is what we all want, right?)!
Smart Goals for Nutrition: Examples
All right, now that you have the secret recipe to create smart nutrition goals, here are some examples to get your juices flowing. Keep in mind you may need to tweak them based on what you're currently doing/consuming in order to make them achieveable for you!
- Eat beans 3x/week for 6 weeks.
- Consume 7 servings of fruits and vegetables 5 days/week for 1 month.
- Exercise for at least 45 minutes 4 days/week for 8 weeks.
- Drink ½ my body weight in ounces per day for 3 weeks.
- Meal prep 1 recipe per week for 4 weeks. (FYI - if you want to set a goal like this, you have to check out my meal prep workbook!)
- Eat breakfast 5 days/week for 4 weeks.
- Have fish with lunch or drink 3x/week for 4 weeks.
- Include protein at every snack this week.
- Remove distractions (TV, phone, etc.) during dinner 5x/week this month.
- Put your fork down in between bites throughout 1 meal this week.
One (or two) More Nutrition Goal Setting Tip!
Notice all of the examples above are action-based and controllable. They aren't results-focused (i.e. losing weight). This is the biggest mistake I see when people set nutrition/health goals. Saying, "I want to lose 10lbs by the end of the month" or "I want to gain 5lbs of lean mass in 6 weeks" are not goals we physically control. Therefore, we're less like to succeed at reaching them.
In addition, these goals focus on ADDING something as opposed to REMOVING something. If you struggle with overeating at night (from boredom or stress, not being physically hungry - because if you're hungry, please eat something!), I would suggest setting a goal that decreases or eliminates the desire to do so. For example, goals like "Drink a cup of chamomile tea in the evenings 5x/week for a month" and "Go for a walk around the block after dinner 4x/week for 6 weeks" are much more productive (physically and mentally) than saying "Don't eat dessert for the next 4 weeks."
Smart Nutrition Goals: Conclusion
I hope all of these tips and ideas have helped get your juices flowing on how to set a healthy nutrition goal! Setting SMART nutrition goals is so important to help you become the healthiest version of you 🙂