The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

SMART Goals, Post Resolutions

SMART Goals, Post Resolutions

Dietitian Dialogues

January 24, 2010

It’s that time of year when we all start reflecting on our lives and think about making those infamous New Year’s Resolutions. We do a little self-talk and resolve to eat healthier, start working out more, and lose a few pounds. How often do our customers vow to start fresh, start over, and start at the beginning of the year, only to stop by the end of January? During this journey, how often do they “fall off the wagon?”

But what if there wasn’t a wagon to fall off of? Imagine life without dieting. Imagine success without the daily struggle. If the goal is health and wellness, and our customers are struggling through the journey, they can find a professional such as a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in weight management to help. They don’t have to go it alone.

Often, many of us set unrealistic expectations or goals and fail to have a plan of action. We plan to lose weight, but never plan HOW to lose weight or what action to take to make a difference on the scale. This year, instead of making resolutions, help your customers make SMART goals that lead them to their desired results and help them make a plan of action! Here are three examples of the SMART goals your customers can make:

Resolution #1 – “I want to eat healthier.”
SMART goals resolution: “I will…”

•    Choose healthy first when snacking, daily. 
•    Eat a piece of fruit before I eat a dessert or sweet.
•    Drink 8 ounces of icy water before each meal and at 10:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m.
•    Choose a non-calorie flavored beverage such as lemon flavored, unsweetened tea, Crystal Light or diet soft drinks over caloric beverages such as regular soft drinks, sweet tea or even fruit juice once per day (you will save approximately 150 calories for each 12 oz. regular beverage, which equals 4 pounds in 3 months!). 
•    Choose 3 meal options for my top 4 restaurants that will meet my improved health goals (versus weight goal).
•    Brown bag lunch three times each week (this will save you calories and money). 
•    Keep a high fiber cereal bar, or individual packages of dried fruit in my purse or car, just in case of hunger.
•    Eat a planned snack at 3:00 p.m. M – F. If I miss it, I will eat it on my way home.

Resolution #2 – “I want to be a healthy role model for my family.”
SMART goals resolution: “I will…”

•    Try one new entrée monthly.
•    Try one new side dish weekly.
•    Cook dinner Sunday and Tuesdays. Make enough for leftovers on Monday and Wednesday!
•    Look up quick and healthy recipes for dinner; make a list of my top 10 to try.
•    Make half of my dinner meal vegetables 5 times per week (you will get important nutrients, and you’re likely to feel more satisfied for fewer calories).
•    Cook breakfast for dinner one night each week (this can be a quick, healthy, and low cost meal!).

Resolution #3 – “I want to start exercising.”
SMART goals resolution: “I will…”

•    Walk 30 minutes three times each week. 
•    Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier to get up 15 minutes earlier 4 days each week. 
•    Aim to accumulate 10 minutes of movement this morning by getting off the bus or train one stop early or late, using the farthest bathroom, taking one flight of stairs and catching the elevator, going to my coworker’s office or cubicle instead of emailing, and drink at least 48 ounces of water. 
•    Play for at least one hour every weekend.
•    Crank the music and dance! 

Turning resolutions into SMART goals is a great way to stay motivated throughout the year. Encourage your customers to think small for big results. For example, aiming to change something as simple as their vocabulary by using the word “choose to” in place of “can’t,” “have to,” or “need to” can make a huge difference in attitude and results. Small changes to the day-to-day routine are doable with minimal discomfort – and they can really add up! 

Julie Schwartz, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, is currently the Coordinator of Nutrition Services at Emory Bariatric Center and owner of Nutri-Well Coaching. She has over twenty years of experience working with individuals, groups, and corporations in wellness initiatives, weight management, nutrition, behavior modification, and personal training. In 2006, she was in the first group of practitioners to achieve Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Julie has been a featured expert on CNN, Web MD, and The Today Show.

As a nutritionist working for a supermarket, you have a unique outlook on how retailers are increasing health awareness at the store level and the kind of questions that shoppers ask. Each month, we'll be featuring a guest column, written by a nutritionist, that communicates this point of view on a variety of topics. And we want to hear from you. If you are a supermarket nutritionist interested in sharing your perspective and insights, we would love to help you share your thoughts! Please contact Allison Bloom at