A Healthier You in 2019

Kerry Coughlin, MS, RD, CSO, CD-N

It’s January. The gym is packed. There’s a long line at the salad bar. And everyone is talking about how they’re going to give up sugar, flour, or all white foods for the month. There are challenges all over social media, asking you to be “perfect” for the next 30 days. But what happens when you miss a workout, or forget your packed lunch, or your aunt makes your favorite cookies when you visit?

You can take steps toward better health by designing your own challenge! One way to do this is to set some SMART goals. These goals are (S)pecific, (M)easureable, (A)ttainable, (R)ealistic, and (T)imebound. For example, you may decide you want to eat more vegetables. A SMART goal would be to include 1 cup of vegetables with dinner, 6 nights each week. To help make this goal more realistic, you might stock your freezer with vegetables that you can easily microwave, and buy a few fresh items each week that can be cut quickly.

Like many of us, you may also decide to exercise more in the 2019. A SMART goal would be walking 30 minutes on 5 days each week. If the weather is bad, you could hit the treadmill, or even the stairwell! You could break that 30 minutes up into 10 minute increments on days when your schedule is packed.

Finally, don’t forget your mental health. Consider adding meditation to your routine, or making a goal to get more sleep. Don’t forget to be specific, such as setting a time to turn off the lights and your phone. Remember to keep your goals realistic for your current lifestyle, and don’t try to tackle too many goals at once.

This article from MD Anderson has more information about setting SMART goals, and there’s even a handy worksheet to guide you. Give it a try!