How to set emotional eating goals that actually work

Do you have emotional eating goals?

You’re a smart, successful, and pretty rocking kind of lady. You meet your savings goals, smash through projects at work, and love the accomplished feeling of a job well done.

But why, with all this awesomeness, does your eating still sabotage you?

If you find your relationship with food comes unhinged when you feel stressed, bored, loneliness, empty, celebratory… or anything, then you’re dealing with emotional eating.

Which is totally fine, completely normal, and in no way an indicator that there’s something wrong with you. But, I bet you’ve had ‘get my eating under control’ on your to-do list for a while now, am I right?

Or maybe your goals look something like:

  • lose weight 
  • stop overeating 
  • exercise more 
  • take better care of myself 
  • have ‘me’ time 

These are all great ideas for goals – but if this is what your plan consists of to end you emotional eating… you’re going to fail.

So let’s talk emotional eating goals.

Most emotional eating goals fail. You stay stuck and frustrated. Use this free workbook to make amazing emotional eating goals and achieve them.

Your emotional eating goals fail for 2 reasons

  1. They don’t take into account the needs and emotions behind your relationship with food (click that link to find out more) 
  2. They aren’t SMART goals. They’re vague and have no concrete way to assess success or failure. They don’t fit into your lifestyle or resonate with who you are. And they’re goals that cause feelings of ‘stuckness’, confusion, and frustration as you struggle with how to achieve them and what to do next.

What can you do instead?

Step one is to come to terms with the idea that your unwanted eating has very little to do with food, and everything to do with your emotional needs and wellbeing.

Once you’ve got an idea of why your eating emotionally, and what you’d like your relationship with food to be like, you can come up with some great emotional eating goals that will help you get there.

For example, if you know stress makes you fall face-first into a bag of cookies, you want to set some goal behaviors around learning to deal with stress in non-food ways. Things like meditation, walking, talking to friends, and journaling can all become goals (with a little thought and tweaking) that add up to you achieving better emotional health and wellbeing, and start healing and replacing your emotional eating.

Step two  is coming up with ways to fill those needs and support your emotional health. Goal setting is just one of the tools you can choose to put in your toolbelt, and SMART goal setting can be a great way to structure your journey to loving how you eat.

SMART is actually an acronym for how to make actionable and effective goals. In terms of your unwanted eating, this means your goals should be:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Attainable 
  • Resonates 
  • Time managed 

What does that mean?

Using the example of stress eating from above, what could these SMART emotional eating goals look like?

Specific – what is it you really want to do, and what does that look like on a day-to-day basis?  For example, “Meditate 3x a week for 15 minutes” is much more specific that “meditate regularly” or “de-stress”. Make your goal behavior crystal clear. 

Measurable – can you measure your progress and your success? “I want to journal more” is not measurable. “I want to journal 3 times a week” is totally measurable – you can measure whether you were successful.  
Attainable – can you actually achieve this goal? If you have a specific and measurable goals like “I want to cook dinner at home 6 nights a week”… do you actually have time to commit to this? Don’t set yourself up for frustration and fatigue by making your goals something you can’t actually achieve.  
Resonates – does your goal fit in with your bigger dreams, life goals, and who you are as a person? If your goal is to “call a friend when I feel like overeating”, but you’re actually really introverted and hate the idea of doing it, then this goal isn’t resonating with you. Don’t set goals because you ‘should’ – make sure they are what you want to do, and are leading towards authentic growth in your life. 
Time managed – does the goal have a clear end point? This doesn’t have to be the end of the goal, but a point at which you stop to assess how it’s going and any adjustments you might want to make.  For example, writing down “quit eating sugar” is off-putting and seems huge, scary, and impossible. But, “no sugar for 3 weeks”? Totally doable!

How to make your own emotionally healing SMART goals

You can definitely make and achieve wonderful goals – if goal setting is something that resonates with you. If not, file this idea away for possible later use and go find another tool that lights a fire under your bum and makes you feel inspired.

But, if SMART goals sound intriguing and you’d like to start using them in your emotional eating journey, I have a free gift for you.

Click here (or on the image) to download the emotional eating SMART goal bundle.

This workbook covers:

  • Your ‘big goal’ so you can find out what you actually want. 
  • Your motivations so you can remember your ‘why’ when the going gets tough. 
  • How to make an inspiring vision board so you can start to really see your dreams come true. 
  • How to break your goal down into manageable steps so you can actually start to do it. 
  • How to make those baby goals SMART so you know exactly what to do. 
  • A weekly planning page so you can make a plan and get where you want to go. 

Most emotional eating goals fail. You stay stuck and frustrated. Use this free workbook to make amazing emotional eating goals and achieve them.

If you want to use goals as one of your tools to beat your unwanted eating, then this is an awesome place to start. SMART emotional eating goals can make a huge difference.

Want help with your goals? Just join the private Facebook group and post your goal(s) there and I’ll give you helpful feedback.

This is a refined, focused, and updated version of the post ‘Do you have SMART health and weight loss goals?‘. This new post is much better, and the worksheet are way prettier.

About Samantha

Hello! I'm Sam and I'm an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.

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