Why set monthly goals?
At the beginning of every new year we set our goals with the best of intentions. We are pumped and excited and SO sure that this will be the year we reach all of our goals. We want to lose the weight, pay off our debt, travel, and spend more quality time with loved ones.
While all these goals are well-intentioned, most of us (including me!) fall off the wagon within a few weeks. We want to “do it all” right away, and while it IS possible to do it all, it’s almost impossible to do it all at ONCE.
This year, consider setting 1-2 monthly goals. That way you’re only focusing on a little bit of personal growth at once (which is so much more manageable). There has been plenty of research done to prove that multi-tasking actually decreases productivity because it drains your energy and focus. So doing a little bit at a time with full concentration, can give you the BEST results.
Most of our goals require building a set of habits, which takes about 21-30 days to form. For example, in order to “get in shape”, you would need to form habits like drinking more water, eating the right food, and working out. Trying to form all three of these habits at once can be daunting and overwhelming, especially if you’re just getting started.
You don’t need to accomplish all of your goals by January 2nd, you have the ENTIRE year to show yourself what you’re capable of, so take it slow and steady.
How to Set Simple Monthly Goals
Step One// Make a list of your goals
Make a general list of your all your goals by category:
Step two// Analyze and Narrow down your goals
Next, carefully analyze each of your goals and cross out the ones that you either don’t really care for or feel passionate about. Remember, these are your goals so if you’re only doing something for someone else, then you’re more likely to not accomplish them.
Try to end up with 7-8 goals total (1 goal per category).
Step three// Break down each goal into actionable steps
I LOVE the Wunderlist app! It’s free, and you can organize to do lists by category. So it’s absolutely perfect for this exercise. Go ahead and create 12 lists with the goal as the name of the category. You’ll find that some of your goals will have longer to do lists than others, but that’s okay.
Here’s my example of how I break down my goal of creating a fitness routine.
- Decide if I want to go with low or high intensity workouts
- Look for inspirational fitness routines on Pinterest and Youtube
- Schedule 20-30 minutes of workout time every day for 21 days
- Take before pictures
- Start working out!
- Keep a calendar log of the day/duration of time I worked out
- After 21 days, take after pictures
- REWARD MYSELF!
See how breaking down my goal makes it seem so much easier to accomplish? I could definitely see myself focusing on this goal for a month and not worrying about any other goal on my list.
Step four// Assign goals to months
Write down all the months of the year, and assign goals to each month. Notice how there are natural seasons throughout the year that you can use as a guide.
For example, February is all about love and relationships, April is usually when people start spring cleaning, and November is when we focus on family and gratitude. It’s easier to set goals that coincide with these natural monthly themes because your environment sets you up for success.
You might find that you need more than one month to accomplish your goal, which is fine because we have 12 months in a year, and only 7-8 goals so you have plenty of time to reach each goal. So it’s possible to have the same goal for March and April, as long you’re actively working on accomplishing that one goal.
Step five// Put your plan into action
Each month, make it your ultimate focus to complete and cross off all of the items on your to do list. Don’t worry about all your other goals right now; you’ll reach those as well when the time comes.
It’s important to remember that once you have created a habit, make sure you continue it even when the month is over. Continue working out, eating healthy, etc. The point is to add on habits that you will continue throughout the year.
Step six// Reward yourself
At the end of each successful month, be sure to REWARD yourself! You have reached a milestone on your journey to self-improvement and that should NOT be taken lightly!
Come up with 12 ways that you plan to reward yourself, and add that to your Wunderlist app as well so that you have something to look forward to at the end of each victory!
Receive your free copy of the Simple Monthly Goal Setting template below!
Stay blessed, Sharmin
“Do less with more FOCUS.”