Like most people, at some point you have probably said to yourself “I’m going to start eating better”. I know I have. This goal is especially common around New Years. But what does that actually mean? Does that mean you’re going to increase your veg intake? Or eat more pieces of fruit? Or maybe you’re going to reduce processed foods? All of those are ways to ‘eat better.’ However, some questions we should be asking ourselves is WHY do I want to eat better? HOW will I eat better? WHAT does better mean for me? HOW will I measure eating better? Answering these in an honest self-assessment will go a long way to ensuring you are able to not only start eating better, but to see it through.
Now, like any goal, it needs to be SMART. That means it must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.
Let’s break it down!
Specific – The more specific, the better! “I want to lose weight” is not specific. How much weight do you want to lose? With regards to eating better, get specific with what you’re going to change in your diet. “I want to eat better” is not very specific. It could be something as mentioned above… increase veg etc etc. “I’m going to have more veg 5 out of 7 days.” Or “Im going to include a healthy 3pm snack daily instead of my usual coffee.” SPECIFIC!
Measurable – Theres no two ways about it… any meaningful goal will take some time to achieve. Weeks, months or even years. Guess what? Our brains don’t like that! They like immediate satisfaction. Measure your progress. Usually, wanting to eat better accompanies a want to lose weight. So track your progress. Take photos, measurements etc. Give yourself a pat on the back when you see progress. Celebrate the fact that you achieved your vegetable intake goal for a full two weeks. These victories help to motivate and stay on track.
Achievable – This is pretty straight forward. Your goal must be achievable. Now, sometimes it can be great to set the bar high, but is it still achievable? If its not, and you don’t reach it, it has potential to really deflate and have a negative impact. For example, maybe eating 150g of protein every day just isn’t going to happen initially. So make it 150g for 3 out of 7, then add another day, and then another day, until 150g of protein every single day is like clockwork.
Relevant – Your goal must matter! Why are you wanting to eat better? If your goal is relevant there is a higher chance you’ll ‘buy in’ on what it will take to get there. If you truly value your health you will be more likely to achieve it. If your priority is socialising and partying you could be in for an uphill battle.
Timely – Failing to place an end point or deadline on a goal is like not having a goal at all. With no time frame on a goal, there’s a sense of unlimited time and that can spell disaster. You won’t feel as guilty of the double cheeseburger meal if there’s a sense that it’s not affecting your goal. Maybe you’ll allow yourself a 12 week time frame to have your ‘eating better’ in full swing and to a point where it is now habit for example.
So, if like many, you have a desire to improve your diet and eat better, treat it as you would your body shape goal. Be SMART about it. Make changes that fit the criteria and that you can achieve in order to get your result.
Do’s and dont’s…
Don’t assume it will just happen without a plan of action.
Do be flexible.
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Do write it down.
Don’t make excuses.