A Healthy Approach to Goal Setting and Cravings in 2017

Findley Pollock

As we are quickly approaching the end of 2016, perhaps you are thinking of a New Year’s resolution. Often we have a New Year’s resolution in mind, however, it is not maintained and we ‘give in’ to temptation.  Through goal planning and a curious attitude towards cravings, your goals are more likely to be achieved.

How many times have you thought ‘this year is going to be different, I am going to achieve my goals?’ Like many of us, we often neglect our goals and then realise this year was no different to the last. If we follow a few simple steps to setting goals, we are more likely to achieve them.

Some tips for setting goals:

  • Consider why you want to achieve your goal. Do you want to eat healthy, so you have more energy to play with your children? Or do you want to boost your self-esteem? Often goals with meaning and significance are more likely to be achieved.

  • Is the goal realistic and specific? Consider talking to a health professional such as a dietitian to help create a goal that is achievable for you!

  • Set a time frame. Allow enough time for your goal to be achieved, however, pick a period of time that motivates you to achieve your goal.

  • Consider your actions- what things will you do to help you achieve your goal? How often will you do them?

  • Measure your goal. Track and record how you are going to see your progress.

  • Tell people about your goal. This helps to cement your goal and help you commit to it.

  • Inspire yourself! Remind yourself daily of your goal to help motivate you. Write the goal down in your diary or have an inspirational quote on your wall!

  • Reward yourself! Rewarding yourself through the experience keeps you motivated to keep achieving your goal!

  • Ask people to support you in achieving your goal. Can they accompany you to an activity or can they inspire you when you feel unmotivated?

  • Celebrate your goal! Go you!

After committing to our goals we are often faced with cravings that we perceive as bad. What if we could change the way we approach our cravings?

Often people try to hide or deny food cravings, but instead we should view these cravings with curiosity rather than judgement. When we look into our cravings from a place of curiosity rather than judgment we are more open to understanding our cravings and ourselves.

So what can you do about your New Year craving? Fiona Sutherland from Body Positive Australia has some suggestions:

  • Pause for a minute or two. Acknowledge the craving, take some breaths and be still.

  • Consider your choices. The purpose of this step is to create awareness of the craving rather than trying to distract yourself and avoid acknowledging it. Your choices are to occupy yourself with something else or eat. If you do choose to eat could you find a healthier alternative or perhaps you could have a smaller serving size?

  • Perhaps you choose to eat. Don’t be so hard on yourself, we are creatures of habit and adopting to lifestyle changes can be difficult at times! So, enjoy the food, savour every bite and devour every crumb mindfully. Observe the texture, note the taste, eat it slowly and breath. Now re-focus back to goals, perhaps you could talk to a friend or health professional to get you back on track!

  • Perhaps you choose to avoid eating. You may like to do another activity or simply just breath. Consider why you have this craving, are you bored, hungry or stressed? Take some time to reflect.

Creating goals can be easy – following our tips will help you maintain and reach your goals! Changing the way we perceive cravings allows us to respond rather than react. Step back for a second and observe with curiosity. And then respond with compassion.

If you are wanting some help with setting realistic and non-harmful goals get in touch with a suitable qualified health professional such as a dietitian.

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