"New Year, New Me!" 

We've all probably exclaimed this motto at least once in our lives. But, do we really have intentions of letting old habits be forgotten and adopting new, better habits and principles for our lives? Many people use the first few months of the new year as a stepping stone to new beginnings. A time to plan out all of the things they want to accomplish, personally or professionally, for the year ahead. Many people also use it as a time to reflect on achievements or challenges from the previous months. A new year feels like a fresh start, where anything is possible.

It often starts that way, but soon, be it a few weeks later, or a couple of months later, life tends to set in, old habits creep back in, and before you know it, we're reverting back to old habits and putting off our goals until the next new year.

If this is you, don't feel discouraged. You don't need to feel like you've let yourself down, or you've failed at achieving your goals. Anyone can set goals. But what truly matters is finding balance and setting intentional goals that align with your passion, your values, and of course your lifestyle. Don't think of your goals as a marathon where you have to race to the finish line. Think of it as a journey where life happens along the way.

That journey doesn't begin with the destination. You plan your stops, you set alternate routes, you map out new directions you need to take, or set new benchmarks, and you take your time and enjoy the sights until you've reached your final destination.

Your goals are similar. You don't start with the big picture. You plan small, actionable steps and milestones that you work up to, and eventually, you achieve what you set out to accomplish. These small goals pertain to different areas of your life that work together to support you in living a well-balanced, intentional life.

See it in writing

Writing down goals makes them more concrete, and you have something tangible to remind you of what your focus can be. When setting intentional goals, it is very important to get 100% clarity on WHY you want to accomplish this goal. Writing them down helps you define your goals and helps you stay on top of your progress. Whether you have a personal journal, notepad, or feel comfortable with a dry erase board you want to list your goals and then drill them down to the things you need to do this month, this week, and today, that move you closer to where you want to be.

As you create action items that you can put into practice, make a note of what your biggest priorities are, and why you want to achieve this step. This will make your goals more concrete.

Let's be realistic

Don't miss the stars shooting only for the moon. The point of setting intentional goals is to make them something you can actually achieve without feeling overwhelming or putting too much pressure on yourself. Set practical, incremental micro-goals that you can realize within a few weeks to keep your morale up. For example, if your goal is to have a healthier diet, you can substitute one cup of coffee per day with a bottle of Purpose Tea. Doing this often will help you form new habits that can help you reach your initial goal. Once you've reached a micro-goal, give yourself credit for that small success, and then adjust your new micro-goal to make it a bit harder. By setting goals around small changes instead of drastic changes, you’re shifting your focus toward a more positive aspect of your journey to a healthier diet.

Include benchmarks and deadlines to keep yourself accountable, and to also note your progress along the way.

Check yourself

Again, you're striving for progress, not perfection. Make a point of checking in weekly to mark your progress. Checking in is essential to the process so that you can see your results over time. A big reason people fail at their goals is that they aren’t intentional about checking in on their progress. Seeing how far you've come helps keep up your morale. If you don’t revisit and revise your goals periodically, you'll think you aren't where you should be, and before you know it, you'll be back to your old habits. It’s so easy to lose momentum when you don’t even remember what you’re working toward. A goal check-in is an opportunity to remind yourself of your goals, refresh and revise them, assess your progress, and identify action steps.

Reward your progress

You've put in the work, so you deserve to be congratulated. As you achieve your milestone goals and your bigger goal, reward yourself along the way to stay motivated. Oftentimes, reaching your goals or changing your habits comes down to staying motivated. Even small progress towards a big goal deserves recognition and reward. Rewarding yourself also helps you stay focused on continuing to make progress. As you set benchmarks for your goals, give yourself an incentive to complete your next task. That incentive, no matter how big or small, will give you the momentum to complete your next task and schedule the time to work on the following task on your list. You might work harder to reach your goals if you know there’s some sort of special reward waiting for you at the finish line.

If setting new goals and forming better habits is your plan for the year, begin by setting practical goals that you can stick with. Set goals that will help you feel happy and motivated to accomplish, rather than drained and exhausted. On your journey to a better you, remember to give yourself the grace and flexibility to be ready to adjust as life changes come your way. No matter what lies ahead, stay committed to making 2021 the year of beneficial changes to your intentional life. Start by making a list of your goals while you enjoy a refreshing bottle of Purpose Tea!