How to Write Actionable Goals

For years, it has been said that if you want to achieve your goals you must write them in the S.M.A.R.T format. This means they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Let’s say you want to lose weight, so you write down your goals, and for a week or two you follow through with them. But, then you have a lousy day, and decide to skip the gym and order pizza instead of eating the meal you prepped. Not a big deal, right. Well, then one night turns into two, which then turns into a week.

Now you have completely reverted back to before you wrote your S.M.A.R.T. goals. What happened? What went wrong? Did you lack willpower?

Your S.M.A.R.T. goals, as great as they were, did not account for the habits/behavior change needed for you to succeed. Willpower means nothing when it comes to successful dieting.

Instead of focusing on goals, I want you to focus on behavior/habits. Consider these 5 steps to creating actionable goals. At the end of this post, download the printable to help you set actionable goals.

 
How to Write Actionable Goals - Balancing Bites Nutrition
 

 

Step 1. What is your why?

Choose a strong why. It needs to be important enough that when life gets busy or you want to quit, you won’t. Your why can be anything, as long as it is important to you.

Ex. Why – I want to look good.

Step 2. Outcome goal.

Choose a realistic outcome goal. What do you want to accomplish? This goal is going to be your finish line. Something you’re aiming for. Unless you have a time specific goal such as running in a race, put this goal in the back of your mind.

Ex. Outcome goal – I want to lose 10 pounds.

 

Step 3. Behavior goal.

Choose a behavior goal that will get you closer to your outcome goal. When deciding on this goal, I want you to consider your lifestyle. If you enjoy Sunday brunch with friends, don’t cut out all restaurant meals as your behavior goal. Yes, you can probably stick with it for a while, but you will most likely be unhappy. Pick something that you know you can accomplish.

Ex. Behavior goal – I will eat more fruits and veggies.

 

Step 4. Action goal.

Choose an action goal that fits with the behavior goal. This will become a habit that will lead you toward accomplishing your outcome goal.

Ex. Action goal – I will eat 1 cup of veggies with lunch and dinner and 1 serving of fruit with snacks.

 

Step 5. Create a routine.

Use your action goal to create a routine that fits within your lifestyle.

Ex. Routine – Eat a fruit with breakfast and afternoon snack every day. Eat a salad with lunch and a roasted veggie with dinner every day.

 

Once your action goal becomes a habit, then you will choose another action goal. If you’re consistent with your behavior and action goals then your outcome goal will take care of itself.

One last tip, tell your goals to at least one person you trust. This can be a friend, a significant other, or anyone. Telling someone will help you be accountable and will give you support when you want to give up.

Click on the link to download the printable Set a Goal & Crush Them . Use this printable to crush your goals.

 
Set a Goal & Crush Them Printable - Balancing Bites Nutrition
 

The Benefits of Eating Slowly

Eating slowly is a tool used in a mindful eating approach. It allows to really focus on what it is we’re eating and how that food makes us feel.

Benefits of eating slowly

 
 
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Satisfaction

Eating slowly allows us to fully experience and enjoy our foods. Foods are not only meant to fuel us, but also to give us joy. By eating slowly, we are able to appreciate the flavors, smells, texture, and colors of our foods.

There is joy to be found in even the simplest foods.

 

Better digestion

Eating slowly improves our digestion.

There are many steps to digestion. Many people believe we start digesting food once it hits our stomach, but that is not true. We start the digestion process as soon as we smell and see the food.

Once we smell and see the food, we begin producing saliva. The saliva moistens our mouth in preparation for eating and it contains enzymes that helps break down the food, along with chewing.

The secretion of saliva also signals to other parts of our digestive tract, such as our stomach to produce more acid.

Eating quickly doesn’t give our body and brain time to register that it is full. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the start of the meal for the brain to send signals of fullness. It’s usually after we have overeaten that our bodies start to feel discomfort.

 

Eat less

Eating quickly causes people to unintentionally eat more food. Because it takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal fullness, people don’t realize they’re full and take in too many calories. Overtime, this causes weight gain.

 

More control

People that binge eat often have an overwhelming and uncontrollable desire to eat. During these episodes they rapidly eat an excessive amount of food and often feel out of control and guilt.

One way to battle binge eating is to slow down. If you feel a binge coming on or in the middle of a binge, if you can, try to stop and take 5 deep belly breaths. Afterwards, walk away or if you’re eating a meal, make a conscious effort to slow down.  

Eating slowly will give you a sense of control and prevent overeating. So, how you eat slowly?

Below are my top tips on how to eat slowly:

  • Eat with your non-dominate hand.

  • Put down utensils when chewing food.

  • Drink a sip of water in between bites.

  • Use chopsticks to eat your food.

  • Set aside time to eat and use a timer for at least 20 minutes.

  • Enjoy a conversation with family and friends.

  • If you start to eat fast, put down your utensils and take a minute or two to refocus and slow down.

  • Add raw vegetables or fruit to your meal. It takes more time to chew raw produce than it does cooked produce.

 

What are your tips for eating slower?

My Daily Wellness Must Haves

On most days, my nutrition is spot on, my workout goes well, I’m relaxed, and well rested. Then there are those days that do not go as planned. I’m lucky if I remember to drink more than a glass of water, I might overeat, my workout gets canceled, I’m frazzled, and I’m surviving on barely any sleep. Does this happen to you?

No matter what my day is like there are a few wellness staples that are must haves.

 
 
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I fit in produce.

 No matter what I always find a way to fit in some sort of produce. On good days, I’m eating all of the colors of the rainbow in a variety of fruits and vegetables. On not so good days, I can only manage to eat riced cauliflower for every meal. Either way, I find a way to eat plants. If you’re unable to eat/prepare fresh produce, then buy frozen and canned produce.  

 

I move my body.

I workout at least 5 days a week and find some way to add movement on the other 2 days. Exercising is important not only for the body, but it also benefits you emotionally and mentally. I’m more structured on the days I workout and less so on my off days. If my days gets crazy and I have to cancel a workout, I find some way to move. It might be 20 squats and 20 pushups before showering or wall sits for 2 minutes while I brush my teeth. It’s not much, but it’s something.   

  

I drink green tea.

I love the taste of green tea. I also love the antioxidants I get from drinking green tea. Green tea gives me a sense of calm and comfort. I usually have it after dinner clean up.

  

I eat enough protein.

Protein is an essential component of everyone’s diet. Every cell in your body is made up of protein. It has the highest thermogenesis rate and satiety than fat or carbohydrates.

 

I find time for yoga.

 Even if it’s only for 5 minutes or a forward fold. Yoga calms me and reminds me to be more mindful.

  

I find time for gratitude.

Every day I acknowledge one thing I’m grateful for in addition to my staples (kids, husband, health, family/friends, my life).  

 

I drink at least a gallon of water a day.

Water helps me feel better. It keeps me full and hydrated.

 

Spending time in the sun.

The sun calms me and I feel overall better. It’s a great way to get Vitamin D, which most people lack especially in the north. If you are spending more than 15 minutes in the sun or are out during the sun’s peak time, 10 am – 2 pm, protect you skin with sunscreen.

 

I find a way to connect with a loved one.

Our lives are incredibly busy, and slowing down to ask a loved one how their day was or sharing your day allows us to connect and grow that relationship.

  

I like to spend time on a hobby.

Some days I am able to spend a lot of time on a hobby and other days I have only a few minutes. Spending time on a hobby allows you to destress and do something you enjoy that is only for you. I spend most of my days taking care of other people that it’s nice to do something that is just for me.

What are some of your daily wellness mush haves?

Mindful Eating

One of the many benefits of practicing yoga is you start to become more present and mindful. You worry less about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future and focus on what is happening right now.

Mindfulness brings awareness to what is around you and what is going on inside you. You start to notice how your body is feeling, your thoughts, and your behavior.

When you’re mindful of the foods you eat, you identify how different foods affect your body and you react accordingly. You start eat foods that give you energy. You begin to eat slower and recognize when you are full. And, you identify cravings from hunger.

There are many benefits to mindful eating, such as weight loss, reducing binges, and improving digestion.

Listed below are a few ways to start eating mindfully.

 
 
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 Cravings vs Hunger

When you start craving a food, slow down and ask yourself if it is a craving or are you hungry. Instead of reacting automatically, take a few minutes to tune in to how you are feeling. Drink a glass of water. Are you still having cravings or are you hungry?

Another way to tell if you’re having cravings or are hungry, is to eat a bowl of vegetables. If you’re hungry, then the vegetables will fill you up. If you’re still craving a specific food, identify what it is your craving, and eat a small portion of it after you eat a bowl of vegetables. The vegetables will fill you up and prevent you from eating too much of what it is you are craving.  

 

Limit distractions

Eating while distracted, such as watching tv or working, has shown to increase the amount of food people eat. When we’re not fully aware of what we are eating, we don’t process that information and are soon reaching for more food. Mindful eating forces us to appreciate the different flavors, smells, and colors of our meals.

 

Eat Slowly

When we eat fast, our bodies don’t have enough time to register it is full. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to receive the signal that we’re full. It’s usually after we have overeaten that our bodies start to feel discomfort.

Eating slowly without distractions will help you tune into how your body feeling. So, how do you eat slowly? One way is to set your utensil down while chewing or take a drink of water in between bites. Having a conversation with friends and family will also help you eat slower.

To begin experimenting with mindful eating, choose one meal to focus on. Once you get the hang of it, add another meal. Continue in this fashion until you feel confident with mindful eating.

Mindful eating is a great way to feel in control with what and how much you are eating.

Strength and Plyometric Workout

 
 
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I love combining weight lifting with plyometric workouts. There is something about lifting heavy weights combined with an explosive move. It makes me feel strong and athletic.

 Today’s workout gave me all of those feelings. Plus, a few moments of wanting desperately to lie down.

 I used dumbbells for this workout, but you could use a barbell, sandbag, or kettlebells.

Dumbbell and Plyometric Workout

This workout is 20 minutes for 5 rounds.  You’ll perform the workout every minute on the minute (EMOTM). Each superset starts at the top of the minute. After you complete the superset, you’ll rest until the next minute starts, then begin the second superset at the top of the next minute. Continue in this manner until your 20 minutes is up and you’ve completed 5 rounds.

10 bent over rows + 10 burpees (no push up)

10 goblet squats + 10 squat jacks

10 overhead press + 10 clapping push-ups (do them on your knees if needed)

10 straight leg deadlift to high pull + 10 tuck jumps

Don’t forget to maintain proper form and record your workout. Let me know what you think of the workout.

 
 
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