Understanding Realistic Vs Unrealistic Goals

Realistic: Achievable, practical, and tailored to your personal circumstances. For instance, aiming to include a serving of vegetables in every meal is more realistic than vowing never to eat sweets again.

Unrealistic: Setting yourself up for failure or self-sabotage. For example, never consuming fish and committing to eating it 2 times per week. Or removing the 2-3 sodas a day you drink overnight and never touching it again.

Set Specific and Measurable Goals

Vague goals make it impossible to track progress. Lay out detailed goals with tangible metrics for what success looks like. “Eat more vegetables” is vague. “Eat 2 additional vegetable servings daily” is specific and measurable. Consider food groups, portions, or frequency-focused goals to start. For example:

  • Consume 5 fruit servings weekly.
  • Limit red meat to once per week.
  • Cook 4 Mediterranean diet recipes this month.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea with 2 out of 3 meals.

This falls into a greater framework known as SMART.

SMART Framework

  • Specific: Be clear about what you want to achieve. Instead of a vague goal like “eat healthier,” specify “include at least two servings of vegetables in my dinners.”
  • Measurable: Ensure your goals are quantifiable. For example, “reduce red meat consumption to once a week.”
  • Achievable: Set goals that are within reach considering your current lifestyle and resources.
  • Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your health needs and lifestyle aspirations.
  • Time-bound: Assign a timeframe to your goals, such as “In the next month, I will start walking 30 minutes a day, three times a week,” or “ I will start my Mediterranean Diet Lifestyle on January 1st.”

TIP: Too many goals create unsustainable changes. Start with a few, and as they feel more habitual, build on your momentum and incorporate new goals.