Goal setting is all about deciding where you want to go and putting a plan together on how you will get there. Having monthly goals puts you on the path to achieving your long term "big dream" goals.
It allows you to live intentionally, with a clear designated path of where you are going.
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How to Set Monthly Goals
The style you use to set goals is very dependent on you as an individual as well as your experience with goal setting.
For people that are new to goal setting, I recommend being diligent and specific with your goals.
This is because you do not have the practical experience with goal setting. You are still learning about what works and what doesn’t.
When I was learning about nutrition, I spent a couple of months very closely weighing and measuring my food. I logged everything I ate.
It was clear that it was not a sustainable practice long term, nor was it a method I planned to use in order to manage my nutrition for the rest of my life.
I was doing it to learn about the quality and composition of food and how it affected my body/mind. After I had a good handle on this, I practiced a more sustainable way of eating.
It is the same for goal setting.
When you are still learning how to live intentionally and the direction you are trying to go, it is better to be very meticulous.
In this case, it is important to set SMART goals.
When you set your monthly goals, do not set too many all at once.
That is a quick way to failure.
I recommend you choose one goal from 2-3 categories (e.g. work, health, productivity, etc.) per month.
This way you can remain focused on your chosen goals without feeling overwhelmed.
Once you have set your goals with the level of specificity you feel is appropriate, you must take accountability.
The easiest way to do this is to start a journal.
Document your plan on how you will execute towards each goal. Also, document your daily progress towards each goal.
This does not have to be an essay. A simple 5-minute journaling session will keep you on track.
Use your journaling sessions to outline specific, small actions you are taking daily to achieve your goals. These will be the daily habits you form to ultimately achieve the larger goals you set.
Ideas for Your Monthly Goals
These are some monthly goals I recommend that will help you develop a variety of skillsets.
Overall, they will allow you to live intentionally. Striving to specific development goals that will put you on the path towards the success you want to achieve.
Rather than going through life robotically and aimlessly.
Remember, these goals are entirely tailorable.
I have included values and specificity, where appropriate, in order to provide you an example of what I believe to be achievable, measurable goals.
You should use these as a guideline, not as an instruction manual, to put yourself on the path to success. Choose the ones that are appropriate for you and what you want to work on.
They are divided into categories, so you can focus on specific areas in your life.
To Improve Your Productivity
1. Journal for 5 minutes every morning
Develop a habit of journaling so that you can document your progress, your daily habits, affirmations and gratitude.
2. Limit TV to 1 hour a day and only on Saturday or Sunday
3. No phone before 8 am or after 6 pm
Put it in another room. Get off social media.
Use your phone-free time for productive things, like reading.
4. Identify and follow a morning routine
I am a big fan of routines. Having structure to your day is crucial for productivity.
Your morning routine is one of the most valuable routines. It sets the tone for the rest of the day.
5. Wake up at 6 am every day
6 am is an example. The time of day will be very dependent on you.
But you want to have an early wake up time.
Choose a time that will give you an hour or two before the rest of the world will start bothering you.
6. Go to bed at the same time every night
Similar to waking up at the same time everyday, you want to go to bed at the same time everyday. Routine, routine, routine.
7. Declutter and organize your closet, bedroom, kitchen, pantry, or another room
A clean space will keep your anxiety lower and allow your mind to focus on the things you are trying to accomplish.
Choose one room each month to declutter and you will soon have a clean home. Just keep it clean!
8. Develop a time management technique like calendar blocking
9. Get better at saying "No"
A lot of people are always asking for your time.
They don't all deserve it. But most people give their time too freely.
10. Be more mindful with tasks
This is the equivalent to not multitasking. Be present for the task at hand.
To Improve Your Career
11. Ask for feedback from your manager and implement it
Very few people actively ask for feedback as they are afraid of being criticized.
In reality, asking for feedback and growing from it is one of the best ways to develop yourself professionally. It also garners respect in the workplace.
12. Develop your communication skills
13. Identify and request to attend training
Taken your professional development into your own hands.
Identify training that is relevant to your job and talk with your manager about attending it.
14. Find a mentor
Mentors are critical to improving your work performance.
Identify someone you respect and aspire to be, professionally. Build a strong relationship with them so that you can learn.
15. Discuss your career development with your manager and set clear goals for a future promotion
Promotions are all about laying the foundation and groundwork.
Have your manager identify what goals need to be met, for your development and the business, in order to reach that next step. Then hold them accountable as you deliver.
16. Complete a project milestone ahead of schedule
17. Learn more about your business
Being recognized at work is about demonstrating your value to the business. In order to do this, you must understand the details of the business.
Research the industry, the business' critical goals, financials (if it is a public company), presentations, and any other information that you can use to find new ways that you can bring value.
18. Create a business casual capsule wardrobe
19. Educate yourself on competitors
Similar to learning everything about the business you support, you must also understand the business' competitors.
What are they doing that is working? How can you leverage that for your business?
20. Find a new way to bring value to your business
Whether through skill development or pitching an idea based on your research and experience, always strive to bring more value.
This will benefit the business and ultimately your own career.
To Improve Your Job Search
21. Revamp your resume with a modern, eye-catching template
Make sure your resume is professional but also stands out from the rest.
I may be biased, but these are super...
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22. Apply to 5 jobs a day with a tailored resume
23. E-mail 10 people at the company for each job application
These days, 40% of jobs are filled through a referral.
Landing a job is all about building new relationships. Then leveraging those relationships.
Use LinkedIn to find people that either are likely the hiring manager or have a similar job to the one you applied.
Use a press release and find a marketing contact, this will allow you to decipher the email structure for the company (e.g. email@example.com). Then e-mail and ask for a 30 minute chat to learn about their career and experiences in the role.
Most will ignore you, but you only need one to get a job.
24. Practice interview answers to common questions for 10 minutes every day, out loud
Start with mastering "walk me through your resume".
25. Attend one local networking even each week and actively meet people
26. Reach out to one old colleague a week and catch up
Maintain and grow the connections you already have.
27. Update your LinkedIn profile
If You Are a Student
28. Make a list of 10 dream companies at which you’d like to work
Start thinking about your potential future employers so you can build a plan.
29. Build professional relationships.
Start thinking about your future job search now. As I mentioned about, getting a job is all about building relationships which you will leverage in the future (check out 23 above).
Email 10 employees each week that work and ask them to have a conversation about their career experiences.
30. Attend every class the entire month
31. Find an on-campus internship opportunity
Try to find relevant experience that you can gain which will support your future job search.
32. Develop a strong relationship with one professor
Professors are part of your network. They can be extremely powerful connections.
33. Learn about personal finance
My recommendation? Read I Will Teach You to Be Rich
34. Apply for one scholarship a week
35. Volunteer 3 hours a week
36. Learn to cook meal per week
Cooking is a valuable life skill to develop before 30
37. Create and stick to a study schedule
Try calendar blocking to manage your time
To Improve Your Mind
38. Self reflect for 10 minutes every evening
Check out my tips on how to self reflect.
39. Read or listen to 2 books each month
Reading is one of the most critical habits you need to develop.
It is the straightest path to self improvement.
40. Learn and practice meditation
42. Go to therapy
If you are struggling with mental health or just life in general, never be ashamed to ask for help.
43. Clean up your social media
44. Take one MasterClass each week in something you want to learn
I love MasterClass as another way to learn new skills and develop the ones I have.
I have learned about everything from gardening to negotiation on MasterClass.
To Improve Your Finances
45. Create a budget
46. Save 20% of your after-tax income
47. Don’t eat out for a month
Eating out is usually one of the most common ways people drain their disposable income.
48. No Starbucks/Coffee shops
These are just unnecessary expenses. Make cheap coffee at home!
49. Create a plan to pay off debt
50. Start an emergency fund
52. Sell items you don’t need
Use Facebook Marketplace or LetGo
53. Check you credit report
54. Utilize the cash envelope system for 30 days
To Improve Your Health
55. Go to the gym 3x per week
56. Try 3 new fitness activities (e.g. hiking, yoga, Crossfit)
Developing an active lifestyle is critical to personal development.
Find an active hobby that you love by trying new ones consistently!
57. Eat 3 meals a day (that you cooked!)
58. No alcohol for 30 days
59. Only shop the perimeter of the grocery store
The perimeter of the grocery store is where you find all the fresh food. The aisles typically only contain processed and pre-packaged food.
This is an easy way to make sure you are buying healthy options.
60. Do Whole30
I have done this program and it is absolutely fantastic.
It is not easy. Changing your lifestyle is never easy. But it teaches you a LOT about food and how it makes you feel.
61. Meal plan and prep every Sunday
62. Practice Self Care
What is self care for you? A bubble bath every night? 30 minutes to yourself to read? A weekly massage?
Whatever it is, incorporate it into your routine.
63. Get 8 hours of sleep every night
So those are my recommendations for how to set monthly goals and which ones to consider so you can live intentionally!
Have you accomplished a monthly goal recently? Share it below!