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5 Simple Tips to Achieving Nutritional Goals – Set Goals Not Resolutions

I love the feel of a new year. I love the internal feeling of accomplishment of another year gone by when the clock strikes midnight (that is if I actually stay awake for it). And I love the feeling of hope of the unknown for what the new year will bring.

But I can’t honestly say I’ve never sat down and said: “these are my New Year’s resolutions.” It just seems too fluffy, too manufactured, and too static.

To be honest, resolutions are intended to be so long term that you almost forgot you’ve made them. In fact, 92%  of New Year’s resolutions fail by January 15th. Seriously. That’s as far as people get.

What is a resolution?

The word resolution means “a formal expression of intention”. To have the intention to do something is one thing. But to actually put it on paper and take action is another. The word resolution implies to me that you failed the year before, that you resolve to do better in the next year.

The failure from the previous year is not a failure at all, but rather experience that will drive future change and behavior in this year.

Set goals, not resolutions. 

(Ready to stop putting your health on the backburner? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

What is the difference?

You might be asking, “Is there really a difference between a resolution and a goal?”

Well yes, there is, thanks for asking.

A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.” In other words, there is a tangible target that you want to hit with some type of behavior that will get you there. Goals are measurable, specific, and are written down with the intention of continually coming back to them to evaluate progress.

When I was a teacher, we set goals for our students’ progress and we assessed that progress each unit to identify our students’ areas of improvement and our own. With my clients now, I am constantly asking them the same.

As people, we should be doing that for ourselves constantly— in life, in marriage, in parenting, and of course, in health.

You Need Goals

You actually need goals. People who set goals and write them down succeed in life 50% more of the time than those that don’t use goal setting. In addition, when goals are set and achieved overall well being is improved and happiness is attained as a result. By setting goals you guarantee your life to be filled with greater success and happiness.  Goal setting is FREE, simple, and requires no major supplies. It is a no-brainer.

Goals are Dynamic

Throughout the year goals are meant to be dynamic, not static. That means they are constantly moving and changing. You might find that by February you achieve a goal set. When that happens, it gives you the opportunity to modify it and challenge yourself even more.

The moment your goals become static, you become stagnant.

When I see my clients begin to feel stagnant we work together to reevaluate their current goals and up level them for greater growth.

Nutritional Goals

Being a nutrition and lifestyle coach, I help my clients create their own goals related to health, weight loss and gain, performance gains, and overall life. I know after hundreds of clients that when they communicate those goals to me in writing and we constantly evaluate progress, that their success is far greater than those who go it alone.

There are a million posts out there written about goal setting and achievement. From my own experience and coaching practice, there are 5 keys to goal setting that must happen to maximize nutritional success.

5 Keys to Achieving Nutritional Goals

1. Be specific

Setting goals feels awkward sometimes.  You don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it.  Once you have a general goal in mind target in on the specific outcome you want. Just saying you want to lose weight is too vague. Will you feel like you’ve achieved your goal if you lose 1 pound?  Or do you want to lose 20 pounds?

Instead, make it specific.

  • “ I will lose 10 lbs by March 1st”
  • “I’ll drop 2 inches from my waistline in 8 weeks.”
  • “I will eat 1 serving of vegetables at each meal”
  • “I’m going to work out 3 times per week”
  • I will track what I eat all meals of the day

Making a goal specific allows you to come back and monitor your progress.

2. Make goals measurable

Nutritional goals can be measured in so many ways: through a body weight scale, body measurements, DEXA scans, before and after pictures, and through personal records at the gym.

When you have a specific goal, measure it by collecting data and monitoring that data to make sure it is headed in the direction you want.

Within your goals include a reasonable marker of progress to measure. This could be quantitative data such as weight, pounds lifted, and inches lost. However, measurable data can also come from quantitive measures such as perceived energy levels, fit of clothes and quality of sleep.

3. Find somebody to hold you accountable

People have a hard time hiring a coach or asking a friend to become their accountability partner. It is almost as if by doing this they are admitting they can’t get it under control themselves. I think those people are the smart ones.

Your results will be far greater if you have someone in your corner. They will help you get back on track when you fall off, assess your progress, and ask the hard questions when you need them. I know this from my own experience and the clients I lead. Ask your spouse, friend, or hire a coach to keep you accountable.

4. Make it a priority

Don’t make up excuses. I hear it from clients often. The week was busy, we traveled, we had a party, etc. If you want your health, your body, and your gym performance to change than it has to be a priority. If it truly matters to you, you will find a way to make it happen. The effort you put in is the outcome you will get. That effort is 100% in your control. To make a change you must change the behaviors to get you to achieve that goal first.

(Want to make your health a priority in the new year? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

5. Celebrate Progress

Often times we rely on scale weight to judge our progress. The scale is just one indicator of progress along our health journey. Celebrate the aesthetic change you see in the mirror, the way your clothing fits, your changes in strength and stamina at the gym, the compliments others pay you, and your overall health improvement.

It is not all or nothing. Celebrating small markers of success help keep motivation and commitment high along your journey. If a bad day falls upon you, get right back on track the next day and celebrate your ability to identify that.

Be the 88% of the population that uses goal setting as a strategy for getting what you want, including nutritional success.

What are some of your goals?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk