Guide to Goal Setting Lifestyle Change

A Healthy Dawg practices healthy ways to manage and emotions and seeks help if depressed or anxious.

Recognize emotional triggers and find alternative ways to deal with stress. 

  • Run
  • Go for a walk in a natural setting
  • Call a friend
  • Meet a friend for coffee
  • Take a yoga class
  • Practice deep muscle relaxation

Reward yourself with a massage.

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Use yoga to relax and feel better about my body

Plan: Go to the yoga studio 3 times a week for the next 3 months

To make it work: I will go with a friend who I know goes to that studio on the nights I want to go there

A Healthy Dawg creates a healthier living environment in order to support healthy living.

Make health-promoting foods easily accessible. 

  • Buy fresh fruit and keep a basketful on the counter for easy access when you get hungry
  • Limit buying sugary beverages, like sodas – if they are around you’ll drink them
  • Keep pitchers of water with sliced lemon or lime in the fridge for easy access
  • Shop at the Farmer’s Market for a variety of fresh, locally grown produce

Watch where you walk.

  • Avoid the soda aisle in the grocery store (save money and calories!)
  • After filling up at the pump get back in the car rather than going inside for a drink or snack

Make the world greener and get healthy.

  • Keep a water bottle with you to refill instead of buying soda—it will reduce your sugar intake and plastic waste
  • Walk to campus instead of driving
  • Use a bicycle for transportation
  • Volunteer to clean up the campus after a home game
  • Instead of processed, boxed foods buy food with minimal packaging, like fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables — they have more nutrients and less waste

Post goal reminders on the fridge, on cabinets, on social media or on your debit card.

Make the kitchen inviting.

Make space in your living room for you to do exercise DVDs or use the Wii Fit.

Spend 30 minutes a day outside doing something relaxing or invigorating.


Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Keep fruits and vegetables in my apartment

Plan: I will make a grocery list which includes fruits and vegetables, and stick to my list

To make it work: I will go to the grocery store every Sunday in the afternoon, and I will plan a healthy potluck with friends that night so I have to go to the store

A Healthy Dawg creates a healthy body through a healthy mind.

Exercise your brain.

Think about long term goals and plans for health and wellness.

Learn how to play an instrument, or restart if you’ve quit. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, play an instrument.

Expand your horizons. Try something new! 

  • Join a student group
  • Help a professor with a research project
  • Take a class outside you major
  • Take a class paper to the writing lab in order to work on writing skills
  • Volunteer to go first with a class presentation


Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Join a student group unrelated to my major

Plan: I will go to the Center for Student Organizations web site and look up 5 student groups that I’m interested in joining, contact each group, and visit them at least one time by Thanksgiving Break

To make it work: I’m going to tell a friend to keep me accountable by asking me about it every week

 A Healthy Dawg is active, eats well, and sleeps deep every night.

Be more active: aim to be physically fit.

Be more active: use active transportation. 

  • Walk or ride a bike to wherever you are going —- Walking or riding a bike are important sources of physical health and easy ways to become more active, especially if you don’t enjoy more formal exercise
  • Walk up steps instead of taking the elevator
  • Park farther away from a store rather than hunting the closest parking spot
  • Instead of walking to the closest bus stop, walk to the next bus stop before catching a ride

Be more active: walk 10,000 steps a day.

  • Keep track of how many steps you take by wearing a pedometer or using an App that turns your phone into a pedometer
  • The pedometer provides instant feedback and makes you think about how you can increase the number of steps you take daily
  • Set a daily goal and work your way to taking 10,000 steps a day

Be more active: sit less. 

  • Be like Herschel Walker and do sit ups and pushups during TV commercials
  • Set a “Screen Time Budget”, limiting the time you spend watching TV daily to a smaller amount. You’ll be more active, and get more done in the day!
  • If studying, get up and walk around every 20 minutes
  • Stand up during commercials if watching TV
  • Use a standing desk

Eat better by shopping better.

  • Make a plan for meals for the week, and then a shopping list —- this will help prevent impulse buys
  • Do your grocery shopping when you’re not hungry
  • Start reading ingredient lists & buy the option with the least ingredients
  • Look for the word “whole” in the first ingredient listed (for bread products)
  • Save money and calories by avoiding high-sugar, highly processed foods
  • Focus on the foods you need, instead of the foods you don’t need. For specific information on what foods you need, get your personalized plan on

Eat better by cooking & preparing your own meals. 

  • Think “Eat from the ground up” —- the less a food is processed, the better
  • Use the MyPlate icon for a quick reminder on how to build a healthy plate:
  • Take a cooking class
  • Try one new recipe a week. Search for healthy recipes on websites, like or
  • Make enough for 4 servings, and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for 3 meals during the week
  • Carry an apple or trail mix in your bag
  • Pack your own lunch

Eat better: tips that really work

  • Wait 20 minutes after eating before deciding if you are full
  • Serve yourself on a smaller plate: no more than 9-inch diameter
  • Fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Keep a food journal
  • Keep meals to the dining room or kitchen. Make an effort to limit eating in the living room or in front of the television.
  • Ask for a take home box when eating out, and put half your entrée in the box when you first get your food.
  • Start your meal with a salad or broth-based vegetable soup—you’ll end up eating more vegetables and less calories overall

Make an appointment with the Nutritionist to develop a personal nutrition plan.

Get a makeover to signal the start of your lifestyle makeover.

Sleep 8 hours a night.

Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Be more active throughout the day

1. Walk to classes instead of riding the bus (unless it is raining hard)
2. Take a spin class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 1 hour
3. Always use the stairs instead of the elevator

To make it work: I will use a phone App to measure my steps. My goal is to get to 10,000 steps on at least 5 days per week by the last three weeks of the semester (not counting finals week)

 A Healthy Dawg seeks a healthy spirit to support a healthy mind and body.

Join a mindfulness group at your place of worship.

Recite a sacred verse or prayer when tempted to eat when you’re not hungry.

Practice a form of Meditation, such as Mindfulness.

Go for regular walks in a natural setting.

Pray, read sacred literature, or practice mindful breathing for 5 minutes before eating.

Practice mindful eating.

Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Use a meditation practice to become more aware of my choices and eating habits

Plan: Practice mindful eating every night at dinner

To make it work: I will participate in a CAPS Mindfulness group in order to learn mindfulness meditation and to have accountability. I will also read the book, Eating Mindfully within 2 weeks

Have friends over for a healthy pot luck.

Cook with roommates one night a week.

Find friends who will walk, run, or lift weights with you.

Take up a “social” sport like tennis or flag football.

Tell your family your health and wellness goals.

Post your progress on social media to gain support.

Get 6 or 7 of your friends together and schedule a private cooking class at the Health Center.

Make new friends while working side by side picking vegetables at the UGArden. 

Take a chance at romance by signing up for a ballroom dance class or going to salsa dancing around town.

Every time you are tempted to eat when you are not hungry, call a friend or family member.

Create a “Recipe Swap” between friends, and share healthy and satisfying recipes.

Grill out with friends instead of eating out. Grill lean meats, like chicken and ground turkey burgers, along with marinated vegetables for a healthy, delicious meal.

Plan fun activities into dates, like going for a romantic walk around North campus or learning Contra dancing at Memorial Park.

Volunteer to mentor a child and be a healthy role model for a child. 

Get out and volunteer in the community. 

Healthy Dawg Example:

Goal: Go out to eat with friends less and cook at home more

Plan: Invite my friends to have a healthy potluck once per month

To make it work: I will send out an Evite this week, including possible healthy dishes to bring, and get together at my place for the potluck by next month. I will make a schedule of potlucks for this semester, trying a new theme every month.