A what now? You might be asking.
What it is
Every month most people eat roughly 100 meals. When trying to make new healthy habits around eating you have 100 opportunities to make small changes that can add up to big health benefits. When it comes to goal setting and making habit changes a lot of us have a habit of doing something really big or doing a whole lot of different things all at once. This ends up being no good. Too big of a change and we get shocked and the change doesn’t stick. Too many changes and we get overwhelmed and revert back to what’s easy: the bad habit we want to change.
Time to get SMART?
A lot of goal setting talks about S.M.A.R.T goal setting. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Reasonable and Timely (ok the words are sometimes different but always with the same gist).
An not SMART goal: eating more fruits and vegetables.
A SMART goal: I will eat an extra serving of vegetables at every weekday lunch meal.
I don’t love S.M.A.R.T goal setting because it doesn’t make you dig down to your why. You can set perfectly great SMART goals but if you don’t dig into the why behind them they can leave you feeling unfulfilled.
So going back to the vegetable goal – that’s great but if you don’t have a why figured out, it probably won’t stick.
We know vegetables have lots of benefits but if you’re just doing it “because it’s the right thing I should be doing”, you probably won’t keep with it. “To be healthier” also probably doesn’t mean much.
So what does “the right thing” or “being healthier” actually mean to you? Does it mean having more energy in the day? Is it so you can get through the afternoon at work and have energy when you get home to your family?
Answering the why to our goals can be enlightening. Suddenly things like “lose the last 10lbs” become about “staying healthy and alive so I have energy for my grandkids when I’m old” – which is much more meaningful (no judgements if your health goals are not that deep – we all start somewhere).
Whatever you do…
Keep It Simple. Remember this is a 100 meal journey; you have 100 opportunities this month for those small changes. Should every meal involve a new goal? No fricking way. But pick a goal, maybe one or two, and you have a 100 Meals at which to work on it. Will you fail a couple times? Probably – but look at those slip ups with curiosity instead of judgement and you might surprised at what you learn about yourself.
Hop on over to Dietitians of Canada for some more ideas on goals and what’s coming up next for Nutrition Month!