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I cracked the code on how to set monthly goals that are attainable, and I want to share this knowledge with you!
I used to only set yearly goals, but they would get lost and then the end of the year would roll around and I would be rushing to accomplish everything last minute. That is not the way to do it. Thankfully, I found a better way.
This method can be tailored specifically to you
Today, I’m going to show you how to set monthly goals that will actually work.
Disclaimer: Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means I can earn a commission if they’re used for purchases. The decision to use these links is entirely up to the reader.
Step One: Define your long-term or yearly goals
Ask yourself, “What do you want and where do you want to be?”
This is the step where you write down as many goals as you want. Think of broad goals. No narrowing down yet, this is where you want to get everything down on the page.
A brain dump, if you will.
Step Two: What does your month look like?
Analyze the month you’re planning for. This step has three subsections: analyzing free time, important dates, and energy levels.
1. Take an honest look at your free time:
Take your responsibilities: kids, job, school, or anything else that takes up your time into account.
Be honest with yourself here when you estimate how much time these responsibilities will take. You can organize this by writing responsibilities down on a calendar or by making bullet points in a journal. Whatever works for you.
Then write down how much time you want to spend a day or a week on that goal.
2. Write down any major dates and appointments:
Do you have a work event, a school project, a birthday party, or a wedding to go to? Write them down.
Write down any event that will take up a considerable amount of time. Take a look at them and be honest about how much time those events will take. Will they cut down a lot of your free time this month? Be honest so you set yourself up for success.
If you have a big school assignment due in 2 weeks, is your “free time” on nights and weekends really free? I know it is not for me.
Not only do you need to look at daily and weekly routines to get an idea of free time. Every month is different. Looking at the month as a whole will help you get an idea of how busy the month will be.
3. Check-in with your energy levels:
Take this time to reflect. How was your energy last month? How do you feel? Are you struggling to reach your goals? Super motivated and ready to take on the world? Does it fluctuate depending on the day? Write it down and take it into consideration.
Truly think about how much energy you have. If you are already spread thin, you don’t want to burn out. However, if you have energy, maybe this is the month that you can get ahead so when you do feel tired, or when family, school, or work has taken up a lot of your time, you can relax.
If you are low on energy, do not be discouraged. The book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, says just a 1% change per month puts you on the path to success. Small changes and small wins are so important. They are the building blocks to the big wins.
Set yourself up for success. If you plan 10 huge goals with zero time, it may be detrimental. You may burn out, or drop the ball with other things. This may cause you to not reach the 1% improvement. That is why analyzing time and energy is a huge deal when goal setting. It does nobody any good to write down 10 huge goals if you don’t have the time or energy to do them.
Step Three: How many goals or habits should you take on?
Before you write down what your goals are going to be, you need to decide what approach to these goals you are going to have. Here are the 3 ways I approach goals.
Focus on one goal for the month:
Do it when: you have only enough energy and time to focus on one thing.
Focusing on one goal could look like doing a 30-day yoga challenge if your goal is to get back into yoga practice.
Focus on stepping stones for multiple goals:
Do it when: You feel inspired or work better when you can accomplish a lot of different projects and goals.
If you have 5 goals, maybe you pick little habits or smaller goals that you can knock something off of a to-do list for a bigger goal. This is more time, but breaking it down into smaller stepping stones makes it manageable.
Focus on a project or habit that will help you achieve multiple goals:
Do it when: you’re pressed for time and have low energy, but want to achieve something this month.
What is one habit that could help with multiple goals? I want to build a solid morning routine: I want to do yoga, I want to get outside more, and I want to take more pictures.
What if I woke up an hour earlier? Waking up an hour earlier can apply to any of these goals because I now have an extra hour in the morning where I could probably do a lot of these. I could do yoga outside, finish with a walk, and take some pictures. It is one habit that I can work on all month long that will get me further in my goals.
Step Four: Set your monthly goals with the previous steps in mind.
This is a big step. Now is the time to write down our goals.
These should be specific. Again, only write down as many as you can sustainably manage that match the plan you laid out above.
Don’t spread yourself too thin, but don’t underestimate yourself.
Things change, if you have to take a break from a goal, do it. Just don’t quit everything completely.
Step Five: Write down your plan or process for reaching these goals.
The final step is to write down the process you are going to use to achieve these goals.
I wrote down that I wanted to get back into yoga, I wanted to build a morning routine, and I wanted better energy levels. Those are the results I want, but how do I get there?
If you are going to take the time to plan your goals, do yourself a favor and plan out the process for achieving these goals. Make it a challenge if that will help you commit.
Now you have your goals, your systems, a plan to get there. You know your energy levels and the time you have to commit. If you need to adjust this at any time, you can. This is your plan. Plus, you’ve written it down, so it is easier to visualize, reorganize, add in, or subtract.
I recommend going through these steps every month. Every month is different, so make sure to consider that when goal setting.
Bonus: 3 ways to reinforce good habits
- Get an accountability partner.
This is someone you will check in with about your goals. They don’t have to know all the details about your goal, but they need to be someone who will call you out. If you have someone who knows you well, they should be the top choice.
- Use a habit tracker.
If your goal process involves a bunch of little habits, I suggest using a habit tracker. This can be on paper, online, through an app, whatever works best for you.
- Make a reward system.
Write down a reward for every goal you have. It does not have to be an expensive reward, it doesn’t have to cost anything. The reward can be playing a video game, playing games on your phone, or watching videos for a day. Treat that as a reward and write it down.
For example, if I stick to the yoga challenge, I’m going to buy myself a yoga block. I want one and I think it would help me, but I am not currently doing yoga enough to justify spending money on it. If I stick with the challenge, I will have kickstarted my love for yoga again, so I can justify getting the block.
I believe in you! We’ve got this!
I hope this helps you with your goals! Leave a comment or message me on Instagram. I hope you achieve all of your goals this month! Remember, even just 1% better means you are on the path to success. Go crush your goals!