It’s January and many people have set their sights on New Year’s resolutions. Their goals usually include some betterment of themselves or their situation. The betterment may include any portion of their life; health, financial, occupation, family, and education are a few aspects of peoples’ lives that they may want to make a change in. Some people will decide not to make any resolutions. That may be because very few people that make a New Year’s resolution will stick with it past January! Even with the high rate of non-completion of resolutions, every year people are willing to try again. The new year brings a fresh beginning and a chance to do better going forward. What keeps so many people from reaching their goals? Most of the time it has to do with the way we create our goals in our mind. Here are some helpful strategies to help you stick to your goals. First, telling people the goal makes it more real and drives people to succeed. Some may be fearful to share because if they don’t succeed, then no one will be the wiser. Even writing down a goal will make it more real. The next important aspect about developing goals to make them SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebased. Goals should be specific. Goals such as “I want to lose weight.” I want to be healthier.” “I want to be smarter with my money.” and the goal we hear a lot is, “I want to drink more tea (or green tea)”. How can you make a plan to reach your goal if your brain doesn’t really know what it’s shooting for? Goals also need to be measurable, the “M”. This seems easy however, people sometimes have difficulty recognizing exactly what they want. How much weight? What does it mean to be healthier? What does it look like to be smarter with your money? How much more tea do you want to drink? We encourage people to increase by 1 or two cups a day. Try setting a small goal that is easy to reach because having goals that are so far out of reach it becomes discouraging when the change is slow and it feels like you are not making progress. It’s better to take your big goal and break it into smaller pieces. Setting small weekly goals can give you the encouragement to keep going. The weeks that you don’t hit your goal are easier to deal with when you have a few successful weeks under your belt. So if you stumble on your goal, just pick up where you left off. Goals need to be relevant, “R”. They need to be important to you. Make sure you have a solid concrete reason for choosing your particular goal or you will lose momentum very quickly. The reason also needs to be important to YOU. At times, we have customers come into Tea Maineia and tell us they think they should start drinking green tea, for example. When we ask why that is, they say for the health benefits. As the conversation carries on, we either help them discover green teas they may like or find other teas they may like better. Because if you don’t like what you’re drinking, you will eventually stop drinking it. The same goes for any other goal you might make. Setting a goal that someone sets for you will not be not long lasting. The drive must come from within and any work or sacrifices that go along with it need to be worth the end result. “T” stands for time. All goals need to have a due date. Without a due date, people don't make strategic plans to achieve their goals. We all know how weeks turn into months. Without a specific time frame to achieve a goal, most likely will either never start or quickly lose momentum. As stated above, to make your goal achievable, break the big goal into small weekly or even daily goals if that’s what is needed to stay on track. Whatever works for you! We hope this inspires you to make those New Year’s resolutions with confidence and understanding how to continue with them into the spring. Happy New Year!!