It’s the end of another month, and when you look back at the previous 30 days, do you wonder “What did I achieve during this last month?” Many of us fill our days with an endless list of chores and things to do, yet at the end of a month, we don’t even remember what we did or if we achieved anything. If you want to do better and achieve more with your time, make sure to follow these simple tips to set up next month’s goals and keep yourself motivated for the next month.
Write down your goals
When you start a new project, write down what you want to achieve in SMART terms. SMART stands for Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Time-based. SMART goal is a formula used in most corporate performance reviews, and understandably so. This system not only helps you list your goals in concrete terms, but it also helps you envision the steps that help you achieve those goals. Writing down things you want to achieve within a specific time frame will also hold you accountable and give you the motivation to get things done.
A few simple monthly goals examples include: Read two books this month, work out for 30 minutes every weekday, or walk 10,000 steps every day for a month. You should know your own limits and try not to set too many goals or overly ambitious goals. Accomplishments often start with small and simple steps that nudge you on the right path, and if you make small commitments every day, you will see results as time passes.
If a goal seems overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, you are not alone. Luckily, there are systematic first steps that can help you organise your schedule and make it easier for you to incorporate a new routine. When you first set new goals for the month, rank them in terms of importance. What would be your first priority, and what are some small things you can do every day to achieve this goal?
For example, if your goal is to read two books this month, you should pick those two titles and commit to reading 50 pages every day. To make this easier, you should incorporate this to your daily routine. Perhaps you are already spending 30 minutes commuting to work, why not spend this time reading or listening to the audiobook? Perhaps you can read before going to bed as a way to wind down? Why not make this a self-care routine by playing some peaceful background music to help you focus? Whatever it is, incorporating small steps to your existing habits can make achieving your goals a lot more seamless, and you will still reap the same benefits.
Track your progress
We may think: “New month, new you!” but the reality is, many of us are excited for the first couple of days and give up soon afterwards. Without a system of accountability, not many of us can keep up with motivations day after day. If you are like most people, you can keep up with a new routine for a few days, but when some minor inconvenience gets in the way, you will miss a daily goal and throw off your whole routine.
Tracking your progress using a bullet journal or an app on your phone is a good way to keep yourself motivated and accountable. Tracking is also a useful way to remind yourself to complete your daily goal, as well as understand what motivates you and what deters you from completing the task. Understanding your own motivating factors will also help put you in the right headspace to get things done in the future.
Plan for improvements
If you are a perfectionist, you may feel discouraged and give up at the first sight of failure. That is why many people, when missing one day of a new workout routine or a new reading habit, give up soon after. But you must remember that nobody masters a skill in a day! It takes time to create a new habit, and you should not let minor failures deter you from becoming better.
When you plan for improvements, you are allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes to become better. This way, these mistakes will not discourage you on the road to master a new skill or achieve a new goal. On the contrary, this new approach will create a positive mindset to motivate you to do better the next day. Soon, you will find that you are excited to tackle a new goal to test your limits and become a more well-rounded person.
Review and repeat
At the end of the month, take a look back at your journey and reflect on what you have accomplished. There’s a reason that companies do performance reviews periodically – they help you understand your strengths, your weaknesses, and how you improve your future performance. If you have set SMART goals for yourself at the beginning of the month, take some time to reflect on those goals at the end of the month. Did you achieve those goals? If yes, what did you do and how you can repeat these steps in the future to achieve more? If not, what kept you from achieving those goals and how can you do better in the future?
Self-reflection will help you understand yourself, your motivating factors, as well as some of the priorities in your life that may affect your ability to achieve your goals. When you complete this step, repeat the cycle next month, and the following month after that, so you can continuously learn about yourself and get better. Let this new month be a new beginning to help you kickstart goals that you have always wanted to accomplish. Good luck!