Most of us will make New Year resolutions for 2016 and most of those resolutions will fall by the way side within a few weeks. The most common one that shows up in Top 10 list is – “Lose weight”. We make very specific and measurable ones like, “Lose 20lbs by June 30th”. Or somewhat amorphous ones like, “Eat right”, or “Diet”.
The fact that a goal is measurable doesn’t mean it is achievable. Setting a single milestone could lead to postponement, “we can always catchup in the last two months”. Not seeing progress or not meeting the goal can lead to increased disappointment and goal abandonment.
Amorphous goals will lead to scattershot approach. You try anything and everything without ways to know the end goal or measure progress, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there”.
As someone who put this to work for the past 4 years I would like to recommend a different approach to goal setting for eating healthy or losing weight. Instead of making goals that can be measured make measurement as your goal. More precisely, logging.
Use an app like MyfitnessPal (something that makes logging easier and avoids logistical challenges).
Don’t yet worry about eating right, dieting or losing weight. Remember that is not your New Year resolution.
Log everything you eat. From the milk you add to your morning coffee to the bag of chips you snag in the afternoon. Everything.
Log the food item before you consume it so you stay on top of it. Set aside 2 minutes at the end of the day to close out the day’s log, adding anything you missed out.
Log every day. Make this a ritual. If you miss logging for a day, unlike lost exercise days you can always go back and fill out the previous log. The important thing is to log.
Another great thing about this goal is you can drop it after sometime. You need to keep this is up only until you can say which food item has how many calories, how many carbs, protein and fat. When you can look at that slice of pizza from Pizza My Heart or the sandwich from Wolfgang Puck and see in your mind its nutritional value, you are done.
When you reach this state of knowing what you eat you are already on the path of knowing whether or not you are eating right. Before taking your next meal or snack you will know whether it is a healthier choice or not.
This is a simple and repeatable goal with no failures. Well the only failure is not logging. Other than that there are no disappointments and guilty feelings like you would feel from missing a day of exercise or after bingeing on the buffet. Missing a day or two of logging is not going to make you feel guilty and is easy to get caught up.
No scales to shame you. No fitness band to mock your inactivity.
The result is a complete knowledge of your food intake.
So this New Year make a resolution to just log.