Setting Goals

Happy New Year! How's everyone doing with those resolutions? :) Mine is always the same: less screen time. I set my alarm for 6pm (typically when dinner/family time begins) and again at 8pm (when the kids go down). I strive to unplug for two hours each evening to stay present with my family. How do I do? Well, I stumble here and there ("I just need to check the weather!"), sometimes often. But, the yearly reminder is a good one for me. It reminds me that getting outside, spending time with family and friends, and opening a book are all things not possible if my eyes are glued to my phone.

Though this screen time resolution is not uncommon, the resolutions we, as dietitians, hear more than any others, are diet-related. Everyone, it seems, wants to shed some of those holiday pounds, eat better, feel better. The problem with most resolutions, though, is that they're too ambiguous. "I want to lose weight" or "I want to eat better" are common ones. But, in order to succeed, you have to know what success looks like...or when you've reached your goal.

So, with that in mind, it might be worth a quick minute to think about your resolution and make sure it hit the following points:

- Is it SMART? (specific, measurable, achievable or actionable (I've heard it both ways), reasonable, timely). It's one thing to say, "I want to be healthier." It's a whole other (and more successful thing) to say, "I want to eat at least one vegetable at every meal for the next three months. The latter is SMARTer, and therefore, more attainable.

- Go small. It's great to have lofty goals. Everyone needs a dream. But with each of those dreams comes teeny, tiny steps that ultimately contribute to the realization of that dream. If your ultimate dream for 2020 is to run a marathon, you're not going to run 26.2 miles tomorrow. But rather, you might walk around the block on Day 1. So, remember to break down those goals into small, realistic steps.

- Narrow your focus. Often times, clients will tell us a myriad of goals on Day 1. They want to lose 50 pounds; they want to eat better; they want to sleep better; they want to run a 10K; etc. etc. etc. With so many goals, it's easy to get lost. So, focus on one (or maybe two) goals, and go from there. You'll be much more likely to hit your goal(s)!

- Write them down. A study found that 3% of of Harvard MBAs made ten times as much as the other 97% combined. What was the difference between these two groups? The 3% had written down their goals clearly with plans to accomplish them. And, if you commit to writing them down, you can go a step further and tell people about your goals. The more accountable you are to yourself and others, the more motivated you'll be to reach your goals.

Ready, set, and go set some goals! 2020 is ready for you!

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