I have always loved the start of a new month. A new month means fresh pages in my planner and new activities to plan. But my favorite part of a new month is setting monthly goals!
Instead of focusing on one large goal, I try to set at least one small goal for each area of my life. This works for me because, as a perfectionist, it’s easy for me to obsess over a large project, leading to serious burnout and total neglect of other areas of my life. And, if a project is too big to accomplish in just one month, I end up feeling like a failure. With several smaller, more attainable goals and projects, I actually feel less overwhelmed and more balanced because I am taking positive steps in all aspects of my life.
Ready to learn about how I set my goals each month and download a FREE worksheet so you can set your own?
The first step to setting monthly goals is choosing the categories on which you want to focus. Your categories should represent large parts of your life where you want to see growth and improvement. Here are the categories I focus on each month and some examples of the types of goals that would fit in each one:
- Career – Study for a new license, work toward a promotion, launch a new blog or product
- Faith – Keep a prayer journal, start a Bible study, meditate each morning
- Finances – Skip your daily Starbucks run, save each $5 bill you receive, pack your lunch
- Fun – Learn a new hobby, visit a museum, attend a sporting event
- Health – Exercise daily, eat less sugar, drink more water
- Home – Organize the hall closet, redecorate the bathroom, deep clean kitchen appliances
- Relationships – Have a weekly date night, meet a friend for coffee, do an activity with your kids
- Self Care – Get a pedicure, start journaling daily, read a motivational book
These are the categories that I use, but you can create any categories that will work best for you and your lifestyle. Your categories can be as broad or specific as you like. Maybe you are a stay at home mom and don’t need the career category. Maybe you are a student who needs an education category. Maybe you love to read and want a whole category just for books! These categories are completely up to you and where you want to focus your efforts.
The free worksheet at the end of the post has a version featuring my categories and a blank version you can use to fill in your own!
Once you have chosen your categories, it’s time to start thinking about your goals! Here are a couple things to keep in mind when choosing goals and projects for each category:
- Be intentional – Don’t just arbitrarily choose a goal to fit each category. Really consider what you want your life to be like in each area and then pick one or two small steps that will lead you in the right direction. You don’t have to know every step in the plan, just the next one. Slow and steady, intentional steps each month will lead to large, impactful changes over time.
- Be specific – The more specific your goal, the more likely you are to follow through with it. Instead of “read more” you may decide to “read for 20 minutes each day” or even select a specific book to read. Clear, specific goals state exactly what action you should take and allow you to easily measure whether or not the goal was completed.
- Be realistic – Consider other plans, projects, and deadlines that are already set for the month, and be honest about whether you actually have time for all the goals you are setting. If some of your goals can be broken down into smaller steps, consider doing so and just completing the first one or two steps this month. Avoid having more than a one or two goals that you will have to do every day since attempting to form multiple new habits at once can be overwhelming and is rarely successful long-term. Try limiting yourself to only 1-2 goals per category, and feel free to focus on fewer categories if you need to.
Once you have decided on your goals and have filled out your free Monthly Goals worksheet, the next and most important step is to turn your goals into plans. Sit down with your calendar or planner and choose specific days and times to work on each project or goal. Writing your goals in your planner makes them a priority, and since that time is already blocked out, you will be less likely to let other activities that don’t contribute to your overall personal growth and well-being take their place. (You may notice that many, if not all, of your monthly goals fall under Q2 in the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, and that’s a good thing!)
As you complete your monthly goals, be sure to check them off and then celebrate your success! At the end of the month, really think about how your completed goals positively affected each area of your life and how you can build off of them in the next month.
If there are some goals that you didn’t complete, start by considering why you didn’t complete them. Did you set unrealistic goals and simply ran out of time? Did you not put forth enough effort? Be honest but forgiving with yourself and start fresh the next month. You can simply transfer your uncompleted goals to the next month or drop them and create new goals altogether.
That’s the great thing about a new month- it’s always a fresh start!
Download your FREE worksheet and get started!
Here is an example of the worksheet filled in with my own personal goals for next month. The download includes a sheet with the categories I use plus a completely blank copy if you want to create your own categories.
If you are looking for some extra encouragement and accountability in following through with your goals, join us in the Facebook Group where have monthly goal setting discussions and weekly reviews to celebrate our successes and work through our struggles together!
Start planning your monthly goals today!
Get your FREE Monthly Goal Setting worksheets delivered straight to your inbox now! Blank copy for adding your own categories is also included. 🙂