The first week of January … a time for reflection and making resolutions for the new year. Although this time can feel like a fresh start, there is also pressure to improve ourselves in drastic ways. At the start of the new year, it is common for people to stop eating out, buy a gym membership, quit snacking, or start some type of fad diet. However, what often happens is we set unsustainable goals for ourselves, meaning we stick to them for a month or two and then sadly quit.
The truth is, we can set small, sustainable and lasting goals for ourselves any time of the year! These goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, or for short, SMART. Specific and measurable goals tell us exactly what we need to do to be successful. For example, instead of “eating healthier”, a specific and measurable goal would be to “eat half a plate of vegetables with dinner 3 times a week”. Additionally, making goals achievable and realistic is incredibly important for making long lasting change. For example, if you rarely eat vegetables, eating half a plate of vegetables with lunch and dinner every day, may be unrealistic at first. Lastly, a timely goal gives us a timeline, so we can continue to set bigger and better goals. “Eat half a plate of vegetables with dinner 3 times a week for 2 weeks”, is a goal with a timeline. Once this goal is met, you may increase it to 5 times a week or both meals!
If you are ready and motivated to set a nutrition related goal for yourself this year, below are some SMART goal ideas. They may seem small at first, however, many small changes can help achieve big goals.
For the individual that buys lunch every day: Pack a balanced lunch every Monday and Thursday for 3 weeks.
For the individual who drinks 2 glasses of water a day: Drink 3 glasses of water a day (one with each meal) for 2 weeks.
For the individual who dislikes fruit: Have 1 fruit a day paired with a favourite food item for 2 weeks (ex. apple & cheese, banana & peanut butter, orange & dark chocolate)
For the athlete who forgets to pack a recovery snack: Pack a recovery snack twice a week for 1 month. Write a list of 10 balanced snacks you enjoy and have access to. At the start of the week, plan which snacks you’ll have for each practice. You can even set an alarm on your phone to remind you!
For the athlete that wants to learn more about nutrition: In 2022, attend 2 Novanta Sports Performance nutrition workshops and read 3 blog posts.
Each of the above SMART goals are very specific and achievable. They offer a challenge, without it being overwhelming. This helps to make changes that lead to good habits that will last!
What SMART goals will you set this year?