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Setting goals to meet your fitness and nutrition needs

The new year has passed, resolutions have been made and many of them have already fallen to the wayside. People often make resolutions that include eating better foods and getting more exercise.

Unfortunately, the resolutions or goals that people set are often too lofty to be obtained, such as, “I am going to lose 20 pounds in the next month,” or “I am going to change my entire diet overnight.” While it is possible to obtain these goals, let’s face it, it is hard.

We want to set goals in our lives because they inspire positive personal growth and create a map for your life and your health. 

So, what is a goal? It is something that you look forward to accomplishing, has several small steps, gives you purpose and confidence, and builds self-esteem. A good personal health goal is positive, exciting and something that is meaningful and important in your life. A good goal should inspire excitement in your life. If not, then chances are high that you give it up before you achieve it.

A good goal is a SMART goal. It is:

S – Specific. Who, what, when, where, how?

M – Measurable. Can I track my progress?

A – Attainable. Can this be accomplished?

R – Relevant. Is it worthwhile?

T – Timely. What is the time frame?

When setting a goal, you should use the phrase, “I will….” Using “I will” gives the power of self-determination. You set yourself on the road to success.

You want to create goals that are positive, exciting and meaningful to your life. You should create a broader goal and then break it down into smaller increments. If your overarching goal is to eat healthier, you can break it down into smaller steps that are measurable and achievable. For example:

Week 1: Add a fruit to your daily breakfast.

Week 2: Continue eating fruit at breakfast and add a vegetable to dinner each night.

Week 3: Add a healthy snack into your afternoon while continuing with goals from week 1 and week 2.

In this manner, you can slowly, over time, change your eating habits in small, measurable steps that are easy to achieve and you feel a sense of accomplishment as you achieve them. This same process can be applied to physical fitness or into any area of your life. As you start meeting your smaller goals, you will gain traction and start feeling better about yourself, realizing that you can achieve your overarching goal. 

Do not give up on your new year’s resolutions. Look at your goals again and reevaluate them to figure out how you can break them down into smaller SMART goals. You can still meet your goals. It is not too late. Start now!

Adrian Kohrt is a family nutrition coordinator for Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For questions, she can be contacted at amkohrt@alaska.edu or (907) 474-7930.