A new month is right around the corner, and January’s dreams seem to slip further from our grasp every day! But not to worry, because despite everyone’s desire to enjoy summer and then slip into hibernation and pretend we never had goals in the first place, it is actually possible to salvage the year by planning next month and the following months out in advance, and reshaping your schedule to make room for your life goals. Remember, as Mel Robbins often says: “No one is coming to save you. And no one is going to give you permission to dream, be, do, or grow.” This basically means no one is going to come and help you achieve what you want to, so you need to make time for it yourself. The following tips should help.
Think on what’s been stopping you so far
There must be a reason that you’ve had these goals for a while but nothing has been done to achieve them, right? You can use the “too busy” excuse as many times as you like, but the more you put off doing what you actually want to do (not just what you need to do) then the longer it’s going to take you to get there. Decide if it’s an external force that is stopping you, such as distractions from family in the house, too much overflow of work from your day job that you end up having to bring home, that sort of thing. Or, is it an internal mindset issue, such as feeling like you will fail, or that you don’t deserve the outcome, or are you worrying too much about money, or what people will think of you. You need to let go of those limiting beliefs and barriers that are stopping you, not by ignoring them, but by acknowledging that they are a part of your life and factoring them into your planning sessions. Examples could be:
- If you have a busy family life, make time to work on your goal during the hours when the kids are in bed or at school, so you can find some peace and quiet
- If you have money worries that are constantly pulling you back from getting things done, make budgeting and financial planning part of your monthly organisation
- If a busy social life is keeping you back from your goals, take time to plan ahead, factor in any events or gatherings you have to be at, and look for ways to maximise the productive time that you do have between social outings
Make use of a calendar
Some people write a list of what they need to achieve in the month and go through it one by one, and this can work for some people. I find planning a month requires a kind of bird’s-eye view of the whole month, so you can picture what each week is going to look like. The main benefit to this is being able to see what days are particularly busy or have unattainable deadlines, so that you can re-evaluate and move things around, giving more time to finish projects.
You can download our Best Month Ever calendar printable and start planning next month today to get ahead and keep all of your meetings, tasks and priorities in one place. If you want to go even further (which I highly recommend based on what I’m going to talk about next) then you can download our Best Week Ever and Best Day Ever sheets for free on the Printables Store here.
Add exact time frames and deadlines
There’s definitely such a thing as being too strict with yourself, but if you’re the kind of person who is easily distracted (me) and procrastinates often (me) then you may want to go so far as to plan not just what you will do, but when you will do it, how long it will take, and at what point you will move on to the next task, whether you are finished or not. Adding more strict time frames allows you to plan your day so thoroughly that there’s really no excuse for not achieving anything that you need to. I usually add things like:
- Write a blog for a client [1.5 hours, start at 10am]
- Phone call with client to finish a project [45 minutes, start at 2pm]
- Answer all outstanding emails [30 minutes, start at 4pm]
You get the idea. And what’s very important here is also scheduling in things like going for a lunchtime walk for 30 minutes, or allowing yourself 20 minutes of reading time during a 3pm slump in productivity. It’s crucial to plan ahead for self-care and breaks too, so you’re not filling your day too much with stressful and tiring tasks.
Break all goals down into tasks
It’s a fairly obvious one, but for those who haven’t come across it before; it’s so important never to write large, ‘sweeping statement’ goals down, because you will never get them done. Things like ‘write a book’ or ‘attend a networking conference’ or ‘start a YouTube channel’ are nowhere near specific enough goals to have any hope of achieving them. A better list would look something like this:
- Outline my new book and download Scrivener software to plan chapters
- Attend the She Can. She Did Midweek Mingle on Wednesday 1st August and aim to connect with at least 2 other business owners
- Create a rough script for my first YouTube video and set up a space in my house for filming
These smaller, bite-sized tasks are things that you can actually tick off your list in a day, not only making you more likely to start taking steps toward your goal, but also giving you the confidence boost of having actually achieved something each and every day. Tick, tick, tick!
What else do you do to plan out a month that prioritises your life goals? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to download all the planners you need (free, of course!) to plan an awesome August.