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Five Steps for Setting Effective New Year's Nutrition Goals

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Five Steps for Setting Effective New Year's Nutrition Goals

Kristal Hayek

It's a New Year and with that comes resolutions to improve our eating habits and it can seem overwhelming and leave you wondering where to begin.  We've compiled 5 steps to help take the guesswork out of your journey to better nutrition.  

Step 1: Brainstorm and write down 3-5 nutrition-related goals that you would like to accomplish by the end of this year. These are your long-term goals. Need help? Schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitian to assess your nutrition status and identify your individual nutritional needs for 2016!

• Example: “Eat more vegetables.” “Drink more water.” “Reduce my processed food intake.” “Increase my vegetable protein intake.” “Reduce my simple sugar intake.”

Step 2: Now that you have a variety of nutrition-related goals to choose from, select 1-3 goals that you are committed to achieving within the next 3 months. These are your mid-term goals.

• Example: “Eat more vegetables.”

Step 3: Transform your intentions into actions—and ultimately habits—by ensuring that the goals you set are SMART:

  • SPECIFIC about the actions and behaviors that you will engage in to achieve success
  • MEASURABLE to identify when success is achieved
  • ACTIONABLE related to what you want to be doing consistently
  • REALISTIC to promote your success
  • TIME-ORIENTED to ensure that action is taken.

Write down each of your mid-term goals using the SMART goal format.

• Example: Rewrite your goal to “eat more vegetables” this year as “I will consume a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables per day on at least 3 days per week by March 31, 2016.”

Step 4: For each of your mid-term SMART goals, evaluate your motivation and commitment to achieving these goals by asking yourself:

  • What is my primary motivation to complete this goal?
  • What is my source of accountability to ensure this goal is completed?
  • On a scale of 0 (low) – 10 (high), how important is completing this goal to me? Why did I select this rating?
  • On a scale of 0 (low) – 10 (high), how confident am I in my ability to complete this goal? Why did I select this rating?

Write down your evaluative responses for each of your mid-term SMART goals.

  • Example:
  1. Primary motivation: Engaging in physical activities with my family will make me happy. Achieving my nutrition-related goals will promote my health and support my ability to participate in a variety of physical activities with my family.
  2. Source of accountability: I will meet with my dietitian 2 times per month for the next 3 months to achieve accountability and support in this process, and learn new ways to successfully increase my vegetable intake.
  3. Goal importance rating: 10/10; Achieving this goal to promote my health is a high priority for me at this time.
  4. Confidence rating: 8/10; My daily schedule and responsibilities present major obstacles to regular meal planning at this time, but I am committed to learning how to effectively plan my meals within my current schedule to meet this goal.

Step 5: Take manageable steps that set you up for success in achieving both your long-term and mid-term nutrition-related goals. Write down 1-2 SMART goals that you can accomplish this week that will promote your success in achieving your mid-term goals. Need help? Apply the same concepts from Steps 1-4 to your short-term goals!

Example: “I will consume a minimum of 3 servings of vegetables on at least 4 days by [insert date 7 days from today]."