By: Katie Jeffrey
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Goethe.
If it is to be, it is up to me.– Author Unknown
Are you working to achieve your goals for 2015 or have you gradually begun to let other responsibilities get in the way? Achieving your goals is up to you – no one can do it for you. Why and how you decide to achieve your goals can mean the difference between victory and failure. The desire to achieve your goals must come from within and match your personal values. This desire is key to helping you stay motivated.
If you’re finding it challenging to take the steps or make the changes necessary to reach your goals, re-evaluate them and question why you want to achieve them. Did you decide to achieve these particular goals for yourself or for someone else? Are they consistent with your values? Will working to reach these goals bring you self-fulfillment and joy as you strive to improve who you are, or will they make you engage in self-criticism? As you take a closer look at your goals and why you want to achieve them, make sure that the road leading to each will be a positive journey.
For instance, here are two different ways to look at a similar goal. One person wants to lose weight because she feels she doesn’t look good at her current weight. She has been finding it difficult to stick to her “new diet,” and therefore, constantly feels guilty and angry at herself. Several times during the day, she has negative thoughts about the way her body looks.Why is she having trouble with her goal? First, she has decided to make weight loss her goal. Weight loss is not a goal. Weight loss is the result of making healthy lifestyle changes. Second, she put herself on a “diet” rather than making gradual lifestyle changes. Therefore, she feels deprived. And, she is focused on the number on the scale rather than on the positive aspects of living a healthier lifestyle such as, lowering her blood pressure and cholesterol level, increasing her energy, strength and stamina as well as optimizing her health and feeling at peace with food and her body. Her goal to lose weight has become a source of negative energy and has led to self-criticism and feelings of guilt rather than a positive experience.
Now, let’s look at how the second individual views his health goals. He would also like to lose weight because he knows that reaching a healthy weight will increase his health. However, he doesn’t have a “magic” weight that he would like to reach. Instead, he has a weight range that he feels is appropriate for him after talking with his doctor and a registered dietitian. Additionally, and most importantly, his goal is not to lose weight. His goals are centered around lifestyle changes such as, eating until he is comfortably full one meal each day, walking thirty minutes four times each week, weight lifting three times weekly, eating one fresh fruit daily, and one cup of vegetables each day. These are just a few of the goals he has set for himself over time. Each lifestyle change that he makes and maintains for more than a week makes him feel proud which motivates him to work to achieve his next goal on his list. This individual is learning to take care of his health, and hence, himself.
To achieve your goals make sure that you are pursuing them for the right reasons and that the experience of reaching them will be one of personal growth and self-care.
Nutrition Tip: Keeping a food and exercise journal is a great learning experience and helps you to recognize your strengths and challenges. Be truthful and record not only what and how much you eat and drink, but also where you are eating (e.g., living room watching TV, dining room with family or in the car) as well as how you feel (e.g., pleasant and relaxed or stressed and rushed) when you are eating or craving certain foods. These notes will help you determine why you may eat from emotions, eat when you are not truly physically hungry, or overeat. Take a few minutes each day or week to review what you have written and see if you can find any patterns, look for your strengths as well as challenges, and work to find strategies to reduce your negative behaviors.
Katie Jeffrey, MS, RDN, CSSD, is an athlete who is passionate about mindful eating and living. She is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and co-author of the upcoming book, “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Athletes: A Mindful Eating Program for Sports and Life” with Michelle May, M.D. Katie is also a speaker and a licensed Facilitator of the Am I Hungry? ® mindful eating program. She is the founder and CEO of FitNutrition, LLC which provides individual nutrition counseling, sports performance nutrition counseling, nutrition consulting and dynamic scientifically-based nutrition presentations on various topics for all age groups. Katie works with individuals to optimize their health by examining all aspects of their life as it relates to food and eating behaviors. As a specialist in sports nutrition, she is passionate about working with athletes to enhance their athletic performance.