Your guide to setting healthy living goals

Do you want to eat healthier, get active or just feel your best? The secret to success is to break down your healthy living goals into mini goals that are easy to manage. Start with one small, clear goal that is right for you. 

That is the idea behind setting “SMART” goals and the helpful EaTracker My Goals tool.  If you are ready to make changes to your eating or physical activity habits, find out how you can get started today.  

How to set a “SMART” goal 

Use this helpful checklist when setting a goal. Make sure your goal is:

  • Specific: When will you start? What will you focus on? How will you do it?
  • Measurable: How often will you do this? How much will you do? What will you track and how?
  • Action-oriented: What eating or activity behaviour will you change? Focus on a behaviour that you can change rather than a feeling or a thought.
  • Realistic: Can you see yourself completing this goal? Be honest! Setting small goals that are achievable is a strong motivator and a positive way for you to track your progress.
  • Time-framed: How long will it take you to reach your goal?

Here is an example of how to turn a goal into a “SMART” goal

Goal: I’m going to start eating more vegetables.   This is a good start but this goal will be hard to measure and it is not time-framed.  
“SMART” Goal: Eat 1 cup of vegetables with dinner 4 times this week.   This goal is specific, measurable and has a specific timeframe. This will help you determine if you have reached your goal!  

Tips to help you reach your goal

  • Set a goal that you feel you can achieve and that makes you feel good.
  • Plan ahead. What could make it hard to reach your goal? What can you do about that? If the focus of your goal is to eat more vegetables, you might write a grocery list, keep frozen vegetables handy or find new recipes.
  • Keep motivated. Celebrate even small successes like going to your first exercise class.  Reward yourself. Try a long bath, a new cookbook, a walk with a friend or anything else that makes you feel terrific.  
  • Not reaching your goal? Stay positive. It’s a chance to learn what works for you or how to handle challenges. It’s OK to change your goal too.

Set and track your goals with EaTracker

EaTracker is a free online tool created by Dietitians of Canada that makes it easy for you to track your eating habits and physical activity. It also has a My Goals tool to help you set and reach your goals.

With the My Goals tool you can:

  • Choose from a list of ready-made goals or write one yourself.
  • Get weekly emails from EatRight Ontario with tips and motivational messages!
  • Log in weekly to track your progress.
  • Get support with your goals by talking to the dietitians at EatRight Ontario at 1-877-510-510-2.

Start today! Sign up for EaTracker yourself or call EatRight Ontario to get started. Best of all, it’s free!

You may also be interested in:

10 “SMART” healthy eating goals

10 “SMART” physical activity goals 

Last Update – October 10, 2016

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.