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Why This Fit Bottomed Girl Thinks You Can Eat the Cookies and Still Reach Your Fitness Goals

The start of a New Year is a natural time to make changes, whether it’s embarking on a new diet, committing to a workout plan, or both! But more often than not, the well-intentioned goals we set become the resolutions we break. Curious about how to create realistic goals that will remain with us long after 2016, we asked Kristen Seymour, editor at Fit Bottomed Girls and a contributor to Coach by Cigna, to share her goal setting advice – including why you should eat that cookie.

Q. Why do you think so many people make resolutions only to break them?

A. There are a couple of reasons that come to mind: They set goals that aren’t actually meaningful to them, and they don’t have a plan. They might say they want to  follow a vegetarian diet because their favorite celebrity does. Now, if you’d like to explore a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons or because you’d like to focus on eating a more plant-based diet for health reasons, that’s fantastic. But just arbitrarily choosing to cut out meat without a plan is not the way to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Q. What are three tips to setting realistic goals? 

A. Realistic goals are smart goals, and all smart goals have the following in common:

  • They’re specific and measurable. So, don’t say you just want to get in better shape; say that you’d like to run two miles without walking, or you’d like to complete a full Zumba class without taking a break. This way, you can track it and you’ll know when you’ve reached it.
  • They have a timeline. If your goal is to lose weight, choose an amount to lose (say, five pounds) and a time by which you’d like to make it happen (like, two months).
  • They’re attainable for you, keeping in mind your current status and lifestyle. If you haven’t worked out since Britney Spears released her debut album and the only veggies in your diet are French fries, saying you’ll hit the gym five days a week and adopt a vegan diet by the end of the month is quite a stretch. However, vowing to move for 15 minutes or more and getting in three servings of fruits or veggies each day for the next two weeks? You can so do that. And once you’ve hit that goal, you’re ready to set a new one and accomplish that, too!

Q. What can individuals do to prepare to set in motion lifestyle changes – be it a health diet or workout program?

A. We at Fit Bottomed Girls are fans of incorporating small, regular changes– they truly lead to big results! Stay away from the all-or-nothing approach, because that really only sets you up for failure. You know the feeling – you have a rough day, so you come home and eat a couple of cookies. Well, since you ate a couple of cookies, you might as well skip your workout and order a pizza … then eat it all.  Wrong! Eat the cookies – enjoy the cookies! But remember that you’re worth taking care of, and eating a few cookies doesn’t change that. So, regroup and refocus on making the small, smart choices throughout the day and you won’t really have to get back on track because you never actually got off track.

Q. How can Coach by Cigna help individuals on their journey to leading a healthier life?

A. The programs in Coach by Cigna are a fantastic way to take small, daily steps toward a bigger goal. Each program helps you set specific, attainable goals, and then provides you with the tools (and trackers!) to accomplish them. I love that I can use it for almost any type of goal – mindfulness, eating better, running faster, you name it.

Q. What do you do when you need to reset and reconnect to your health and wellness?

A. I take a look at why I’ve been struggling. Often, if I’m eating poorly or missing workouts, it’s because I’ve found myself caught up in an important project at work. I’ll remain realistic regarding my professional responsibilities but, I have yet to encounter a situation where I couldn’t improve the way I treat myself with just a little planning. That might mean getting up early to get in a run or scheduling time to do some meal prep. Either way, it’s just a matter of prioritizing, and finding a way to put your health and wellness first should always be a priority.

Have questions for Kristen? Come meet her live when she participates in a “Good Talk” on goal setting with Well + Good on Wednesday January 2oth (RSVP for that here)!