My Enlightened Delights

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To enjoy good health,
to bring true happiness to one’s family,
to bring peace to all,
one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.
If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment,
and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
— Buddha

The Mindful Diet Day 3

 

Week 1: Build An Awareness Foundation

day 3: Set smart—not more—food goals

In a growing world of diet fads, it can be difficult to determine what is actually good for you... 
Is gluten bad for you?
Should you avoid soy?

Is kale actually as good for you as they say?
Is marijuana safer than Mc Donalds?
What the heck is a paleo? How does it differ from Plant Based?

But becoming healthier is a process and a new way of life. Look at it as an adventure. It’s a chance to experience new and unique foods, and you’ll definitely find more than one thing you like. Setting your food goals is not about setting a ton of restrictions for yourself, its about choosing the highest quality foods that will give you the most nutrition and energy. Obviously if you’re allergic to gluten, gluten is bad for you; otherwise it’s about moderation. You still need to eat fruits & vegetables to help your body process the grains and fats and animal products in your system. I didn’t start out with all these tips & tricks; they were all learned through research and earned in the kitchen. 

Here, three simple steps for setting achievable diet intentions:

 

1. Be specific. 
Naming the steps, and listing an order in which you’ll complete those steps, leads to success more often than setting an ambiguous, flexible plan, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found.

 

Ever heard the saying "Work SMARTER, not HARDER"?
S.M.A.R.T. goals help outline your success...

-Specific-

-Measurable-

-Achievable-

-Realistic-

-Time bound-

 

2. Establish milestones. 
Brain-imaging studies show that the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, is like a reward system that helps us reach goals. Dopamine signals in the brain get stronger as we get closer to hitting our goal, one study published in the journal Nature showed. So, instead of setting an open-ended ambition (“I will never eat bread again”), set short-term, achievable milestones that motivate you to stay on track (“I will avoid processed grains today”).

 

Now that you have your goals, set smaller goals to help you stay on track. Goals are achieved by building the appropriate habits. Breakdown your BIG goals into monthly goals, then weekly goals, and from there determine what must be done daily. Not only will this give you a daily sense of achievement (and dopamine), but it also provides you with a focus for each and every day.

Another goal setting strategy I have picked up over the years is to set goals with averages instead of using specific numbers. Now, you may be asking yourself, “How can I achieve my SMART goals if they’re not specific? Doesn’t the S stand for specific?” Indeed it does; but if you’ve ever fallen behind on a goal in the past, you know how discouraging it can be. Whether or not you have a routine schedule, adding new tasks or changing habits can be difficult. We will never know what the future holds, so we must remain flexible. Instead of sulking about our “failures” we should be encouraged to start again strong tomorrow. If you make a goal to workout an average of 4 days a week, you won’t feel discouraged if you only manage to work out 3 times this week; you will be motivated to work out 4 or even 5 times next week. You may have noticed in some of the goals I listed on Day 1 that I used the words “at least” or “an average of”. 

Don’t be afraid to revisit goals and advise as you go. You could sit down once a month, one a week, or even once a day and write down a list of goals to achieve or habits to create over the next 30 days. Some of these are going to end up being the same, which will only reinforce your focus; but as you achieve goals, you’ll replace them with new ones. And don’t be ashamed to re-start goals if you fail or fall behind; no one is perfect, but there’s no time like the present to start working towards your goals!

 

3. Clue in your community.

Write your goals in an email and send it to three close friends. People who write down their goals, share those goals with a friend, and send weekly progress updates are 33 percent more successful in accomplishing what they set out to do than those who merely formulate goals, according to research at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael.

  Did you know that the majority of people don’t write down their goals? It’s natural to desire more in life; but if we do not write down our ambitions and make a game plan, how can we ever hope to achieve them? Now that you have written down your goals and made your game plan, it’s time to share them with friends & family who will help keep you accountable.

 

Namaste!