BIG Nutrition: Uggh, goal setting? Why? Exactly!


BIG Nutrition: Uggh, goal setting? Why? Exactly!

whyphotoRecently, I asked the participants in the Nutrition Challenge to set three SMART or WOOP goals this week related to the challenge. I know…the annoying exercise of setting goals. However, a recent podcast that BIG member, Russ Duckett, shared with me really invigorated my own thinking about goal setting, so I wanted to share it with you.


  • The Podcast is a bit tricky to get to because, as of today, the direct link was not functioning on the Iconathlete website. However, if you go to this link ( and scroll down to Kary Woodruff, part 2 podcast. The podcast can take a few minutes to load, but it is worth the wait! If you have an iphone, you can search the Podcast App for ‘Kary Woodruff, Icon Athlete Podcast, 10/26/16.’

The podcast topic, ‘getting to the why,’ doesn’t teach how to set a training or nutrition goal, rather the focus is on why we want to exercise or eat better, what is motivating us? Intrinsic (internal) and/or extrinsic (external) motivating factors may contribute to why we exercise or eat the way that we do. And although some may categorize internal motivation as better than external motivation, this is debated and often it is a combination of both that motivates us.

  • Intrinsic motivation is doing the activity or building a skill because you inherently enjoy it or learning new skills and knowledge. Examples:
    • Want to learn more about what is in the food you eat and which food makes you feel strong.
    • More energy.
    • Community.
    • Like learning new food preparation or preservation techniques.
    • Feel good about sharing nourishing food with your family/friends.
  • Extrinsic motivation is doing an activity based on an external reward or to avoid a negative consequence. Examples:
    • Gaining a reward, such as, points, a discount, or monetary reward.
    • Weight loss.
    • How you look in a mirror.
    • Receiving compliments about how you look from others.
    • Eat an apple because you anticipate negative feedback from your spouse if he/she sees you eating a cupcake

Life is busy, and I don’t want to add to your to do list, but time thinking about ‘why’ you want to exercise or eat better can be useful for setting clearer exercise and eating goals. In addition, it offers an opportunity to reflect on and recognize what motivates you and what obstacles you anticipate so that you can address the barriers and achieve your goals.

Questions about the Nutrition Challenge or Thinking about Joining Us?

I am available after the following classes:

  • Friday, Feb. 10, 9:30 am
  • Saturday, Feb. 11, 11:00 am (Olympic weightlifting)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14, 9:30 am
  • Friday, Feb. 17, 4:30 pm

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN