Setting realistic Goals in 2015

a special feature by Shanon Morris, Nutrition Specialist

‘Tis a New Year, and a chance for new beginnings… Millions of people make resolutions and a good portion of them have to do with health and wellness. However, we commonly bite off more than we can manage — and reach for unrealistic goals. Aim to change only one or two things at a time. The key to success is setting attainable, yet challenging, goals that you can reach.

When setting health related goals, it’s important to look at the overall outcome you want to achieve, as well as the individual goals that help you reach that outcome. Begin with a realistic change: start small so you can advance the goal over time, set measurable goals, add a number to the goal so you can evaluate your progress, revisit your goals often, and lastly, assess your progress and barriers weekly or biweekly.

For example:

Target Goals:

  • I will lose those extra pounds I have put on
  • Spend more time with my family

Short-term Goals:

    • I will walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
    • I will only drink 2 cans of soda a day instead of 4.
    • I will include 3 of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, *protein, grains and dairy) at each of my 3 meals. * Note protein should be included in all meals.
    • I will try a new healthy and nutritious recipe at least once a month.
    • I will spend quality time with my grandchild once a week.

Your goals should change as you change!

For example: When it comes to your grandchildren, increase the time and opportunity of being together. See if it’s feasible to get in an extra visit, or help out with the kids an extra day during the busy work week. Involve yourself by taking the kids to an activity – assisting with something as simple as transportation.

Remember you can make a change any day. You don’t need to wait for a holiday to do it! And, P.S., here’s a great recipe packed full of healthy and nutritious ingredients.



Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Black Eyed Peas, which are jam–packed with important FIBER (!) are known for bringing luck in the New Year. Get the whole family involved by making this easy salad.


  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans black-eyed peas
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Rinse tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, parsley and black-eyed peas. Rinsing canned peas can help lower sodium levels.
  2. Chop the peppers, onion, celery and parsley.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the black-eyed peas, peppers, onions, celery and parsley.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  5. Add all ingredients in one bowl and toss.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

(Note: When the little ones are helping with chopping, mixing, and blending, it is great fun. Just make sure they have your adult supervision and use a plastic knife.)



*Shanon Morris is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Crossfit Coach. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse and a Masters in applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University.  By day, Shanon can be found serving as the Associate Director of Community Nutrition for the Food Bank for New York City; and by night, she can be found coaching Crossfit and providing nutrition counseling to clients in Harlem.  Shanon has a passion for helping people make healthy changes. She exemplifies this by being an active Crossfit Competitor, lacrosse player and foodie. Shanon believes people can achieve what they once thought was impossible, and hopes to continue to empower people of all communities to make lasting lifestyle changes in order to improve and maintain overall health and wellness.