Health-oriented goals for the New Year
Just a couple more days until we ring in the New Year (how is it 2018 already?!) and some of us might already be thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Setting goals, whether big or small, is key to achieving desired changes in our lives. Without SMART goals, we tend to get sidetracked, distracted, and lose motivation along the way.
Many of us choose health-oriented goals for the New Year. The end of one year and the beginning of another is an opportunity to reflect on your health and how you care for yourself. This reflection may help you identify what health means to you and new ways you’d like to try to achieve better health.
Break your goals down into smaller steps
There’s nothing inherently wrong with more traditional goals like wanting to move more or eat healthier. But I think it’s safe to say that after a few months, especially if the changes are too different from our normal behaviours, most of us lose our motivation to eat better and revert back to our usual ways (which may not be all that problematic to begin with!). Instead of choosing really broad goals like “eat better”, break your goals down into smaller, achievable steps that work towards your overarching goal. Here are some examples:
- I will eat a fruit at breakfast every day this week.
- I will bring my lunch from home four out of five days of the work week this month.
- I will only eat out once per month for the next six months.
Healthy eating goals don’t need to only focus on what types of food we choose. What can be equally as important is improving our attitudes, behaviours and feelings about eating, such as being open to trying new foods, taking time to prepare meals and snacks, tuning in and responding to internal cues of hunger, fullness and satiety, feeling good about eating, and so on. For this upcoming year, I’d like to challenge you to think beyond goals focused solely on particular food choices, and consider adding goals that work towards mindful eating. Mindful eating is deliberately paying attention, without any judgement about the why, when, what, and how much you eat, with the goal of enjoying and feeling good about eating. Some examples might be:
- I will focus on the taste, texture, temperature, flavour, and pleasure of my food by removing distractions (no tv/cell phone/music) from one meal per day.
- I will take time today to enjoy my food and notice when I feel full and satisfied. I will honour my body’s cues to finish eating.
- I will build a routine around my evening meal (e.g. setting the table, lighting candles, saying thank you to the cook, etc.) that allows me to pause and gives permission to take time to eat.
For more tips on practicing mindful eating, visit the Centre for Mindful Eating.
Now here’s a recipe to enjoy mindfully!
Turmeric, Ginger, and Mango Smoothie
Adapted from: desireerd.com
- ½ of a fresh mango (or generous ½ cup frozen mango)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 dash black pepper
- 1 cup milk or fortified milk alternative
- ¼ cup cashews
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Blend all ingredients together.
Tip: I found the cashews didn’t quite blend up in my Magic Bullet. Unless you have a high quality blender like a Vitamix, I would suggest soaking the cashews first in warm water, then draining off the water before blending.