A nutrition coach’s top 5 tips for setting health goals in the new year

Early last year, we featured nutrition coach Kylee Arnold of Arnold Nutrition Coaching and her tips for a healthy life. Now, with 2023 firmly on a roll, we thought we would check in with her again for her top tips on setting nutrition goals for the new year, from making plans to staying consistent and being just as kind to your mind as you are to your body.

“Most of my clients start their health journey to have more energy, feel more confident and to be better for their families,” says Arnold. “The ‘why’ behind the importance of eating healthy is definitely individualized, so it’s important for each person to decide theirs.”

Here is her easy step-by-step guide to finding your reason—and sticking to it:

1. Set a specific and realistic long term goal and attach a timeline.

For example: “I want to lose 15 pounds by April 1.” A lot of my clients will want to go from a lifestyle of not working out to working out every day, but I find that baby steps are the best way to obtain your goal.

2. Create a game plan.

Make a list of all the habits you need to adopt to reach your goal. Pick two to start working on. For example:

1. Eating out less

2. Drinking 100 ounces of water a day

3. Consuming less sweets

4. Starting to exercise

5. Dialing it in on the weekends

3. Track what you’re already eating and doing so you have a good starting point.

Then make your goal action realistic. For example: If you currently eat out for most meals, then going from that to cooking every meal probably isn’t realistic. Start by setting an eating-out limit to something like five times a week, and you can reduce from there.

4. Focus on the habits, not the end goal.

Progress isn’t linear. If you focus on consistently completing the habits, then the results will come. If you focus too much on the end goal, you will have periods where you may not see as much progress and want to throw in the towel.

5. Assess and make changes.

Do you find you repeatedly have trouble meeting your goals? Ask yourself what constraints or behaviors are making it difficult and how you can combat that. For example:

1. Maybe you need to change the time you plan to work out.

2. Change your approach to meal prep from doing a bunch of recipes to bulk meal prepping.

For more information on Arnold’s personalized health coaching, visit arnoldnutritioncoaching.com.