The Importance of Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

In the last three posts, we have shared several ideas on how to make your family mealtime easier and more enjoyable, including  key weeknight meal prep shortcuts for the busiest of weeks.  Even with support and ideas at your fingertips, we recognize coming up with a goal each week which best suits you and your family’s needs may seem overwhelming. To help alleviate the stress around setting goals and achieving them, you can set S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Goals based on this model provide structure and guidance, regardless of what you wish to achieve.

Let’s talk about each component and work together on setting a goal with the help of EatLove this week:

S-Specific

When setting a goal, be very specific about what you wish to accomplish. Instead of deciding how you are going to reach your goal in this step, you will want to focus on answering the “what, who, and why” of your goal. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Who needs to be involved? Why is this goal important to you?

Example: I wish to eat two servings of vegetables each day. This goal is important to me because I want to increase the amount of fiber in my diet. My daughter and son can help me pick out vegetables and cook them with me.

M-Measurable

When considering your goal, try to set milestones for achieving it so you know if you are on track or if you are facing some challenges (which is okay!). How will you measure your success? What metrics will you use?

Example: I will select a meal plan that averages at least two servings of vegetables each day, and will be able to measure this using the EatLove goals bar.

A-Achievable

It is normal for us to want to shoot for the stars when setting a goal, causing us to sometimes set goals which may be unattainable. In thinking about your goal, be sure it is one which you feel comfortable working towards and one in which you believe you can achieve. The point of setting a goal is to help you feel motivated, and small goals lead to big change! In thinking about your goal, does it feel realistic to you?

Example: Eating two servings of vegetables each day is realistic for me because I am making the time to shop, plan, and prepare ahead. EatLove quantifies the servings for me, to easily keep me on track.

R-Relevant

When setting a goal, try to set one which is worthwhile and meaningful to YOU. Choosing a goal which aligns with your needs and wants will help you be successful in reaching it.  In thinking about your goal, does it fit with your short and long-term plans and what you wish to achieve?

Example: My long-term goal is to improve my overall eating habits, and eating two servings of vegetables each day will help me reach that goal.

T-Time Bound

Finally, be sure your goal has a start and end date. Layout a timeline for reaching your goal; you can write it down on a piece of paper or share it with family or friends. Set a deadline, which will help you outline and plan your actions around your goal.

Example: I will begin eating two servings of vegetables on Sunday, and will continue through the following Saturday. I will evaluate my successes and challenges at the end of the week.

You can use S.M.A.R.T. to help you set clear and concise goals, and it can be a helpful tool when thinking about what you wish to achieve each week. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and spend some time thinking about a goal you wish to set, and go through each letter of the acronym. Whether your goal is to cook one meal, sit with your family for three meals, or meal prep ahead of time, take a few minutes to think about your goal.

What goal will you set this week? Let us know in the comment section below; we would love to hear from you!

Julie Shimko, MA and Tara Linitz, MS RD

Tara Linitz

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