Feb. 6. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

“I need to find my motivation.”

This statement is something I hear my clients say over and over again when they’re feeling “off track”, out of balance, or just…blah. There are many factors that sway and influence our motivation, but guess what? That’s not what you need to make your goals and intentions stick for good. Read more about goal setting strategies you can implement to help you find your steady baseline.


First off, after you finish reading this post, open up a new tab for these blog posts: Goal Setting 101, Why Knowing Your Non-negotiables is Key to Success, and How to Stay Motivated and Goal Setting Revisited. They’ll help you fill up some knowledge on this topic!

Second, that secret strategy I mentioned earlier that has less to do with motivation than you’d think is called intention. Intention requires a strategic plan, a formula, and a desire to change (which includes some level of motivation). Through my first hand coaching experience as a Registered Dietitian for over 7 years now, I’ve noticed behavior trends and challenges that affect the outcome of goal achievement. Having high motivation with no plan doesn’t get you as far as having moderate to high motivation with a solid plan of action to follow. This concept doesn’t just pertain to a nutrition or diet plan guys; this intention setting strategy can be applied to all areas of your life including professional goals, personal behaviors, relationships, and of course those pillars of optimal health like stress management, sleep, and exercise.

Treat achieving your goals like a professional job. I had a client this past week say “wellness is my job” – I loved this. What she meant behind this statement was that she was going to “clock in and clock out” the tasks, goals, actionable steps, and plan to reach her goals every single day. This was a tangible step that she would follow to get to her next milestone. She was raising her motivation, intention, and forming habits all at once. Powerful and direct. She uses the goal setting model which includes the tried and true SMART model, and I’m coaching her along the way to help her get there. You can do this too and make it work for any goal you want to achieve. I use this same model for both personal and professional goals, and sometimes I’ll take it up a notch further by writing and asking myself the following questions:

  1. What is my vision/goal(s)?
  2. How/when/what steps I need to take to get there?
  3. What will be potential challenges?
  4. How will I feel and be supported in this plan?
  5. What is my plan B if this goal doesn’t jive? (hint: you assess and meet yourself where you ARE in the present moment, move forward)
  6. What will it feel like when I succeed?
  7. What’s my maintenance step?
  8. What does a maintenance plan look like?
  9. From that, I’ll think about scaling that up for years to come about 1-3

Resources and things that can help you implement your goals and strategy:

The 411: To execute your goals, you need a strategic plan with details including when, what, why, and how you’re going to achieve them.

What’s the word?

I’d love to hear your goals, intentions, and success stories! Why did your goal or intention succeed? Can you differentiate that goal over others that were more challenging or fell through? Keep the conversation going guys, this is a 2-way street! Promise I’ll comment back, and it’s a great way to connect with your pals in the NS Community.


  • Putting habits into practice: Gardner B, Sheals K, Wardle J, McGowan L. Putting habit into practice, and practice into habit: a process evaluation and exploration of the acceptability of a habit-based dietary behaviour change intervention. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2014;11:135. doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0135-7
  • Making health habitual: Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. Making health habitual: the psychology of “habit-formation” and general practice. The British Journal of General Practice. 2012;62(605):664-666. doi:10.3399/bjgp12X659466
  • Good intentions: Verplanken, B. and Faes, S. (1999), Good intentions, bad habits, and effects of forming implementation intentions on healthy eating. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 29: 591–604. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199908/09)29:5/6<591::AID-EJSP948>3.0.CO;2-H