Within a month or two of rolling out the New Year’s resolutions most people cast them aside. So, rather than go that route, why not set some realistic goals instead? Here’s my short list, which is often a repeat of the previous year. For some reason, I have the need to repeat and improve on what I’ve already done. Does that happen for you, too?
For years now, I have worked with people to help them attain their nutrition goals. But the truth is that you cannot separate out what you eat from your life. Often you need to make lifestyle changes that impact your eating and food choices. It takes at least three weeks, and often more, to change a habit so keep that in mind.
To set a goal that makes sense, we say that it needs to be SMART.
Specific – often a small step
Measureable – how can you tell when you’ve done it?
Attainable – it has to be something that you have the ability to do
Realistic – you can do it in the time frame and way that you’ve allowed
Timely – it is set for a limited time period, often one to three weeks
Here’s my short list for this year when most of us are thinking about health care reform.
1. Eat a green vegetable every day. In fact, make it a goal to eat at least 3 servings (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw) of green vegetables each day to help you reach the ultimate goal of 9 to 11 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
2. Drink plenty of unsweetened fluids, especially water, herbal and green tea. Avoid sweetened drinks such as sodas and limit how much alcohol you drink.
3. Avoid plastic containers of any sort, especially for storing food and beverages. Glass is wonderful for storage. Buy yourself some canning jars or glass bowls with lids in various sizes to use for storage. Put your water in a glass jar or stainless travel container.
4. Eat fewer white foods, except for cauliflower, onions and fish. White flour, sugar and rice are not what I consider good-for-you foods. A white potato as part of a meal is OK once in awhile. Track how often you are eating these types of foods and work on cutting down on them. Instead of sugary foods eat more fruit. Instead of refined grain products choose more whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, millet and wild rice.
5. Move daily. The recommendation is to get 10,000 steps each day. Start from wherever you are and build up to that. Most of us can get fitter at any age. Studies show that even if you begin resistance training with weights after age 70, you still build muscle mass and improve balance.
6. Find “me” time as often as you can. Find time to laugh, enjoy nature and breathe deeply every day. It’s good for your soul. As I tell my husband when he reacts instead of remaining calm, “It’s nothing that 15 years of doing yoga couldn’t help.” So start doing something that helps you keep centered today.
Shoot for one goal at a time. Master it, continue it and move on to the next. It’s best to start with the one that’s easiest so that you can be successful.
Wishing you a happy and healthy, goal-filled New Year.
Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, aka The Veggie Queen ™, works on her goals all year. She forgives herself when she doesn’t achieve them but reformulates and tries again. She realizes that she is human and makes mistakes. She laughs at herself when necessary, which is quite often.