Setting Lifestyle Goals instead of Making Resolutions

  • December 31, 2022

If you are tired of setting lofty New Year’s Resolutions and then being let down when they fall through, you aren’t alone! Rather than setting resolutions, we are sharing our tips for creating achievable, realistic, Mediterranean diet inspired Lifestyle Goals.

This post was originally published on The Domestic Dietitian in 2016, however the pictures and post itself have been updated since then and reposted.

Why We Aren’t Fans of Resolutions

It’s that time of the year when it seems like everyone in the world is “eating healthy” or “dieting” as part of their New Year’s Resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about goals and always make a few of my own, both personal and professional. However, after years of counseling others and from my own experiences, a lot of New Year’s Resolutions don’t even make it past January.

The term “resolution” itself is so off putting. It’s defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something”. It sounds so final and in my opinion, goals shouldn’t be final. They are always changing and evolving.

lifestyle goals

Setting Lifestyle Goals Instead

I love the idea of using the New Year to set goals and make lifestyle changes, but I know it’s easy to get swept up in the moment of making “resolutions” simply because it’s a tradition.

In order to have a better success rate in keeping up with your goals longer than 2 weeks in, I’m sharing a few tips that I strongly believe will help you with your journey in improving your lifestyle.

Tips for Creating Realistic Goals

1. Your goals should be something you truly believe you can achieve

Don’t get swept up in making the traditional “eat healthy”, “lose weight”, or “work out more” resolutions if those aren’t what you honestly believe you can achieve at this moment in your life. Maybe you aren’t ready to “work out more” as of January 1st, why set yourself up for that failure? Instead, really take a look at your life, your goals, your passion, your desire to make a certain change, etc. Find something you truly believe you have the power, ability and time to change.

2.  Your goals have to be something you can measure

If your goal is to “be healthier”, how are you going to evaluate if you’re meeting your goal? If you lose 1 pound, do you consider your goal met? A goal has to be something you can measure and track your progress against. Really try to focus your goals into specific, measurable statements. For example, instead of “be healthier”, you could change it to “participate in Meatless Mondays once a week”, “find a physical activity you love and do it twice a week”, “reduce your total cholesterol by 50 points in 3 months”….the goal is specific, can be measured and has a timeframe.

“Eating Healthy” is a goal that is hard to measure, so instead take a look at ways you aren’t eating healthy and try to make a measurable goal based off that habit you want to change. For example:

  • Stop eating fast food for the next 30 days
  • Include a vegetable at dinner every night for 30 days
  • Replace 1 soda per day with water for 2 weeks

3. Focus on the positive rather than the negative

Often we word our goals in a negative tone. Stop doing this, remove this, don’t do this, etc. I find making positive goals makes the whole process much more positive. Focusing on things you want to add to your meals rather than what you want to take away is one example. Some other examples might include –

  • Try a new vegetable once a week at dinner
  • Include fresh fruit at breakfast 3 times a week for 30 days
  • Meal prep a few snacks once a week, for 4 weeks
  • Swap meat once a week for a fish recipe for 4 weeks
Mediterranean diet lifestyle goals

4. Create a plan on how you will achieve each goal

For every goal you make, you have to think about how you will achieve that goal. Creating a plan helps you map out what you need to do to meet that goal, but also helps identify road blocks that could pop-up along the way that you need to be ready for.

For example, if your goal is to “Lose 1 pant size in 40 days”, your plan to getting there could include the following…

  • Join a group exercise class 3 days a week
    • Identify what days a week, what time will you go, does this mean you need to wake up early before work to go? Or not work as late a few nights a week?
  • Eliminate alcohol for 30 days
    • Identify what you’ll allow yourself to have in place of cocktails…is red wine allowed? What will be your go-to social situations drink instead? Do you need to remove any alcohol from your house to help keep you on track?
  • Bring your lunch to work everyday for 2 weeks
    • When will you prepare your lunch…the night before? Do you need any tupperware or lunch containers to make bringing your lunch earlier? Do you need to find some healthy lunch ideas to keep it from getting boring?

4. Every week, reevaluate your goals

Don’t just make a goal and then not track your progress or reevaluate your goal until your set deadline. I think it helps to set time aside each week to go over each of your goals and see how much progress you’ve made towards meeting that goal. Maybe after a week, you need to change part of your plan for achieving that goal based on time or other issues that can come up.

For example, lets say at the end of the first week you realize you only worked out 1 day that week and your goal was to “work out 4 days a week”. Maybe you need to reevaluate your goal and start smaller….change the original goal of “working out 4 days a week for 30 days” to “work out 2 days a week for 15 days, then increase by 1 day every week”. Make you goals realistic, otherwise you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Goals shouldn’t be static, they should change over time and they aren’t written in stone. If you can see after only 2 weeks that you aren’t going to meet your goal, change either your goal or your plan. Otherwise, you are just going to give up.

5. Share your goals

Share your goals with your spouse, your friends, your family, your co-workers, your trusted domestic dietitian (wink wink). The more people you tell, the more accountable you are for your goals.

Maybe you’ll find friends along that way that have similar goals!

6. Make it fun

Add a fun goal to put a positive spin on the whole goal setting process. Life doesn’t always have to be super serious all the time. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or learn how to knit. Why not make a fun goal of “knit a scarf within the next 30 days”? Who says it has to be serious?

Another way to make it fun is to make it a little friendly challenge….consider asking friends that have a similar goal to make it interesting. For example, if you and your girlfriends all want to make a fitness related goal, perhaps you could all put $20 into a jar and whoever works out the most days in the next month wins the whole jar.

I think the most important thing to remember is that a goal has to be something you truly think you have the ability to achieve. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making these huge, lofty goals that you have no idea how to reach.

Resources for Mediterranean Diet Inspired Lifestyle Goals

Sharing some resources that we think would come in handy while you are setting your positive lifestyle goals. Especially if those goals lean towards incorporating a Mediterranean inspired diet and lifestyle into your home.

First and foremost, we have an entire page dedicated to All Things Mediterranean Diet. It’s full of posts, recipes and information about the med diet, how to start, where it originated, etc. Some specific posts you might find useful for goals include –

I’d love to hear your goals if you’d like to share!

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Last modified: December 28, 2022

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