In this day and age, we have information about almost every topic at our fingertips. We are often so overwhelmed with information that it’s difficult to know what choice to make or where to start.
Setting food experience goals may seem daunting at first, but with some effort, the process can provide meaning, purpose, and direction to your life.
A lot of people set goals at the beginning of the year, but very few people actually achieve those goals. This is often the case because the goal was not realistic in the first place. People often just select a goal (at random or otherwise) to jump on the bandwagon with their friends or family members, or to satisfy a school or work requirement. However, if their heart is not in the goal, the result will likely be minimal at best.
Finding a realistic goal is the key.
Once you start something, it’s easier to continue. It’s similar to looking at your circumstances and having a desire to change. Let that desire work in you and motivate you to move forward. For example, what motivates a person to exercise? It is likely the excitement about what you may be able to accomplish with regard to weight goals, muscle tone, and energy. The situation is similar with food and cooking.
Setting food experience goals is similar to the goal setting process for many topics, yet different. Setting goals with regard to food experiences is more holistic. You “begin with the end in mind” as leadership author Stephen R. Covey put it in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You set an end goal, and then you make a plan that will lead up to and fulfill your end goal.
Within the context of your circumstances, consider the following scenarios:
How do you feel about food? Is what you are doing the ideal situation? If so, great! How can you kick it up a notch? If not, what can you do differently to create positive food experiences in your life?
Busy with your career, maybe you go through the local fast food drive thru on a regular basis without giving it much thought.
Maybe you are starting to be more food conscious, but you need some direction.
Maybe you are doing a lot of meal planning and cooking. You are always on the lookout for new recipes, serving ideas, and information about food. Yet somehow you feel you have plateaued and what you are doing just isn’t cutting it anymore.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Food experiences come in all shapes and sizes.
Goals and Plans
Food experience goal setting is assessing your current knowledge about food and cooking, and the deciding where you want to be. This may be compared to looking at a map. The goal is the place you want to end up. The plan is your route to get to that place.
For example, consider the following goals and plans for building your food experience skills:
GOAL: I’m going to start cooking a new recipe each week.
PLAN: I’ll look on the web once a week to see what I can find.
GOAL: I want to learn culinary knife skills (slice, dice, chop, julienne, etc.).
PLAN: I’m going to start watching YouTube videos on how to make different cuts of vegetables and meat.
GOAL: I want to learn how to do food research.
PLAN: I’m going to find resources at my local library that will help me know what to look for as I investigate new foods.
GOAL: I want to integrate my family into the food experience process.
PLAN: We will start doing meal planning and cooking together one night a week.
GOAL: I want to make mealtime more meaningful.
PLAN: I will reduce the activities I’m involved in so as to make time to focus on the meal.
It boils down to assessing where you are in the process to begin with, and then setting realistic goals for yourself. The process is similar to project management. There is the ultimate goal for the project, but there are also many other tasks involved to get to that ultimate goal.
Motivation to Begin
You can begin by writing down your goals and what your plan is to achieve them. Ask yourself how you plan to get from point A to point B. Can you go straight from A to B? Possibly. What will it take to get to point B?
As another example, say you want to start doing food research. What is it going to take for you to learn how to do food research? First you need to understand how to look up nutrition information about various foods. Can you just do a Google search, or are there informational websites or books that are more comprehensive on the topic? Are there any tools or apps to help in food research? How can you become familiar with food research terminology?
Start Small and Keep Going
Start with a small goal. If you want to start cooking at home, for example, find a great recipe resource. It could be on a website (or two or three). It could be in a family cookbook. Spend some time to figure out what recipes interest you. Get excited about it by just looking at recipes. Find websites or other resources with recipes that interest you. You may have to be a detective to find recipes that are healthy, but the effort is worth it.
Get motivated about the possibility of making that recipe! That’s the first step. From there, create a plan. Do some meal planning. Create a grocery list. Learn about the phenomenal variety of ingredients to choose from. Interact with the food. As you do so, you build momentum to keep going.
As you learn, you can also pay it forward as you teach others. Sharing your struggles as well as your successes helps people understand the full picture. Doing so also gives them direction as they chart their own course.
This is YOUR time to get excited about, plan, and move forward on your food experience goals! Believe in yourself, and you will accomplish your goals and more!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What realistic goal can you set for this week, month, or year that can help you create a positive food experience?