Start Your New Year “SMART”



Want to feel your best for the New Year? Take steps to improve your health! New Year resolutions offer a great opportunity to enhance your life, and Healthy Aggies encourage you to develop a healthful lifestyle by adopting behaviors and strategies that work for you.

Avoid diet fads or ‘miracle’ products that promise a quick fix, follow a restrictive meal plan, and require little to no physical activity. Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian* and certified nutrition consultant, recommends one of the best methods towards an overall healthful lifestyle is to break big long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals.

Don’t know how to start? Here are some tips on the SMART approach in establishing your nutrition and fitness goals to help you feel confident in making your new year’s resolution a success:

SPECIFIC: Be precise as possible in what you want to accomplish by answering the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why do I want to accomplish this?
  •  Who is involved?
  • Where will this take place?
  • When will this take place?
  • General: Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Specific:  Add one piece of fruit to breakfast and a ½ cup of cooked vegetables to dinner 3 times a week.

MEASURABLE: Quantify your goal and establish measurable criteria to track your progress.

  • Not Measurable: Exercise more.
  • Measurable: Walk or bike to class 4-5 times a week.

ATTAINABLE: Evaluate your skills, ability and resources and set goals that are do-able and within your reach.

  • Not-Attainable (for most students): Sleep 10+ hours every night.
  • Attainable: Get 6-8 hours of sleep at least 4-5 days a week.

RELEVANT: Be honest about your values and what you need and want to ensure your goals are worthwhile and important to you.

TIMELY: Set a deadline or time frame to accomplish your goal.

  • Not Timely: Eat more whole grain. 
  • Timely: Use whole-grain bread for sandwiches during lunch 3 times a week for the next month.

It can be difficult to stick with your resolution throughout the year. But instead of giving up, evaluate what happened and adjust your strategies or modify your resolution. Avoid making a list of “chores” and create goals that are fun and enjoyable for a greater chance of success!

Need more help? Contact the Nutrition Hotline and seek the advice of our nutrition expert, Linda Adams. She is the registered dietitian of UC Davis Dining Services who can answer your most pressing questions and concerns and provide personalized nutrition to help meet your needs.

*A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has the education, training and experience to provide personalized, safe and science-based nutrition guidance you can trust to help you make positive lifestyle changes.

Nutrition Hotline:

(530) 752-9604

Sources of information:



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