How to set a great goal
Setting some goals for the new year? Yep, me too.
It is really common for people to be thinking about their goals come January 1st every year and nutrition is a big part of this for most people!
One mistake I see time and time again though, is people tend to focus on the OUTCOME rather than the BEHAVIOUR. Something that is key to understand about why this is problematic is that you have no control over the outcome, but you can control the behaviour. I repeat…
You have no control over the outcome.
You have full control over the behaviour.
So when you are setting your nutrition goals, make sure they centre around the behaviour that you want to improve, rather than the outcome that you want to achieve.
For example, improving your health is an outcome. You do not have direct control over this, but you do have control over the behaviours that you need to change in order to achieve this. So centre your goals around the behaviours instead. In the case of improved health you might…
- Aim to limit alcohol to 1 night per week and have only 2 drinks on that night
- Increase your vegetable intake to at least 2 cups at both lunch and dinner every day
- Reduce your intake of dessert/supper to 2 nights per week (if you find you are eating out of habit rather than hunger)
All of these behaviours are things that you do have control over and could lead to your desired outcome of improving your health.
Should I focus on weight loss?
Now I wanted to highlight that by far, weight loss is the most common new year goal that I see but I want to stress, there are plenty of other fantastic goals centred around nutrition that don’t involve weight loss. I would actually really encourage anyone who is thinking about their nutrition goals to consider some of the ones I have listed below instead of automatically jumping into a weight loss focus.
And just a friendly reminder before we go any further, you don’t have to be smaller, you don’t have to weigh less or be anything less than you are. You can if you want to – of course! But really dig deep and think about what would make you happy and fulfilled? What is something that you feel really passionate about working towards that will improve your life?
What can I focus on instead?
For me personally, my goals relate to strength and bone health specifically. I want to have strong muscles and bones leading into later life. I don’t want to be constantly injured like I was in my teens and 20’s. I want to able to carry 2 kids on my hips and one on my back AND drag a bag full of towels plus boogie boards to the car on a hot summer’s day so I don’t have to do 2 trips when leaving the beach (can any other parents relate to this?!).
These are just some of my focus areas that relate to nutrition but are not centred around weight loss. They don’t have to be the same for you but hopefully they give you some insight into other things you might be able to focus on.
Here are some more ideas that you could set some nutrition goals around…
- Improving your relationship with food
- Stop feeling guilty about food
- Being more mindful at meal times
- Working on improving your body image
- Invest your time in learning more about nutrition
- Improving your performance in a sport or event (this doesn’t have to be competitive either – it could be a 5km run for example)
- Improving your cooking skills
Once you’ve got your focus areas, then you can go ahead and set some behaviour based goals in order to help you achieve this outcome. And when your goals are things that you actually have control over, you’ll find you’ll be smashing in no time!
So this year, think deeper and more critically about what you want to achieve. Often thinking about WHY you want to achieve these things can be helpful as well.
If you want to learn more about goal setting and taking actionable steps in order to achieve these goals, specifically in relation to nutrition, you need to check out our Signature Nutrition and Lifestyle Program. This will give you all the tools you need to make big changes to your nutrition in a way that is both manageable and sustainable. Check out all the details here.