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Do you know how to achieve your goals and dreams? How to create an action plan out of your goal ideas? Or even why goal setting is important?
Most of us have some big hopes and dreams that we would love to accomplish. But a lot of us don’t know how to map out those ideas into actionable steps that will actually help you find success.
Each January, millions of people set resolutions, and by February 13th, over 75% of those resolutions have been abandoned.
Well we don’t want to be a contributor to that statistic, do we?!
In this post we are going to take a deep dive into types of goals, why goal setting is important and even giving you a list of goal ideas for each month of the year.
Let’s start at the beginning –
What is a goal?
A goal is defined as the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
A lot of people conflate goals with dreams – and while they are similar in nature, dreams are not goals.
Dreams are ideas and aspirations that you have. A dream becomes a goal when you give it some form of measurement or action plan.
So while your dream may be to have a public speaking career, (anyone else? or just me?), that isn’t a goal.
The goal would be to be booked for 4 public speaking engagements over the next 6 months.
In that goal, there is a measure of success and a timeline that the goal is to be completed in. See the difference?
Why is goal setting important?
Goal setting is crucial to the success of any dream you might have. If you don’t have a plan to achieve your dreams, they will never come true.
If you don’t have a plan – you are just wishing. And wishing won’t get you anywhere.
By taking the time to set personal goals, you are giving yourself a road map to follow step by step until you get where you want to go.
And the more you break down those action steps, the easier they are to achieve.
A lot of people set a set of goals that they want to accomplish over the course of a year, or even 5 years (the 5-year plan question, right?!). And for most people, that is just too much time to focus on one singular goal.
Or that goal may feel so big, you don’t know where to start.
How to achieve a goal successfully.
You might be able to see where I am going with this. The way to set successful goals is to break them down into smaller chunks.
You can certainly have your ginormous 5-year goals – but you need to set smaller goals to keep you moving in the right direction.
And the way to do this is to just keep breaking down your goal until you can make it no smaller.
So if you have a 5-year goal, start by asking yourself “what can I do this year to make progress on that 5-year goal?”
- What can I do this year to make progress on that goal?
- What can I do this quarter?
- What can I do this monthly?
- What can I do this week?
- What can I do today?
- What can I do right now?
I have found that the bulk of your progress is going to feel like it comes monthly. Which is why we will focus the rest of this post on how to set great monthly goals.
How to set Monthly Goals
As we talked about earlier, setting monthly goals is just a big bulk of how you create your action plan for your long-term goals.
The reason that monthly goals are so effective is because of the length of time in each month.
You may know that the average habit is formed after 30 days of repetition. And if you have gone through kindergarten, you know that most of the months in our calendar are 30/31 days. Aside from February which just comes up a little short – but the idea still sticks.
So working on goals in monthly increments is a great way to create habits and goals that build on each other.
Instead of tackling a goal that might be a huge change in behavior for you all at once, you should work on small incremental changes that will build on each other.
Example: Running a marathon when you are currently counting going up the stairs as a workout.
If you were just to sign up for a marathon, you would likely be setting yourself up for failure. That is why there is a huge market for marathon training plans. Because people understand the need to strengthen your body before running 26.2 miles, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
So you might start your marathon training by going for a run 3 nights a week and trying to run 2 miles each time. Then the next month you might run 4 miles at a time. And you would keep building until you were ready for the full marathon.
To be noted – I have no intention of ever running a marathon, so I would be very pleased just to be in the 2-mile zone.
In order to set good monthly goals, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish in 30 days.
A month is a great time frame because it is enough time to make significant progress, but not too long where you get off track. But even then, many people find it difficult to determine what they can really do in a month and they overshoot.
When you overshoot, you are more likely to feel like a failure for not making the stretch goal. And that feeling of failure can knock some people off track for good. Which means they never accomplish their big goals. Sad!
But we aren’t going to let that happen!
Below I have created an action plan for you to follow while setting your monthly goals that is sure to set you up for success!
Step 1: Establish your goals
To start, you need to create your big goals. Make sure that your goals are measurable (ex: 4 speaking engagements) and have a deadline (ex: in 6 months).
If you have more abstract goals (ex: lose weight), you will be missing out on celebrating those milestone accomplishments. And those little wins are what will keep you moving!
Step 2: Work Backward
Once you have your goal and your deadline, start working backwards to figure out what you need to accomplish and by when.
If your goal is to lose 10 lbs by your cousin’s wedding – calculate how much weight you have to lose each month in order to meet that goal.
Step 3: Identify Your First Step
After you know what you need to do and in what amount of time, you can create your first step.
The first step does not have to be some grand act. Like if your goal were to get a promotion in the next 6 months, your first step wouldn’t be to ask your boss for a raise.
Your first step would be to do some research on how you compare to your peers and the market.
Or if your goal were to run a marathon, your first step wouldnt be to run 10 miles. It would be to invest in some running shoes. Or block off time to train on your calendar.
Step 4: Take Action
After you have done your proper planning – you now need to take some action!
This is actually where so many people get stuck. The planning stage can be a security blanket for some of us. We can use planning as a way to make us feel like we are making progress on our dreams, when the reality is that we never left the starting line.
So take action! That is why we make the first step so small. It is just your first jump to something great! And the hope is that you just keep making small steps forward until you look back and realize that you have come a long way towards achieving your goals.
So go out and buy those running shoes. Take that first workout class with a friend. Write the first page of the book that you have stirring in your heart.
Just take a small step forward. It will add up to big things before you know it.
Monthly Goal Ideas For Each Month
Not sure what goals to set?
Let me help you out there.
Below is a list of monthly goal ideas for each month, just to get you started. Please note that you don’t have to follow these examples. You can make each and every goal idea your own.
These are just supposed to be a jumping off point to get you started!
January Goal Ideas
- Save $500 (or any amount)
- Organize your holiday decorations
- Meal Prep One Day a week
- Try a new workout class
- Take a load of old toys to GoodWill
- Write down big dates (birthdays & planned trips) in your planner
February Goal Ideas
- Write an intentional love note to your spouse each week
- Make cookies for a neighbor
- Read a book that betters your marriage
- Text three friends to let them know what you love about them
- Call your grandma
March Goal Ideas
- Create a cleaning routine that works for your family
- Spend time outside each day
- Start planning a memorable summer vacation
- Clean out your linen closet (get rid of mismatched sheets)
- Invite new friends over for dinner
April Goal Ideas
- Plant new flowers (or just pull out the dead ones)
- Pack up winter clothes to make space for warm-weather ones
- Complete a 30 day workout program
- Learn a new recipe
- Read a book about time management
May Goal Ideas
- Treat yourself to a spa day
- Schedule a few vacation days for a mental break
- Plan a girls night for your friends
- Have a kid free date day
- Read a fun novel
- Find a swimsuit that makes you feel confident
June Goal Ideas
- Take a vacation
- Try three new workout classes
- Create a splash pad fun day in your own backyard
- Treat your parents to dinner as a thank you for raising you
- Write encouraging notes to 4 friends
July Goal Ideas
- Host a 4th of July Party
- Have a pizza party at the neighborhood pool
- Treat your kids to a family movie night outside
- Take a trip to the beach/lake
- Learn a new recipe
August Goal Ideas
- Try an outdoor bootcamp
- Set a back to school budget (for supplies and clothes)
- Create a screen time guideline for your family
- Join a Bible Study
September Goal Ideas
- Go apple picking (or something to welcome fall)
- Take family bike rides
- Learn to bake a new dessert
- Take an art class
- Support your local high school at a football game
October Goal Ideas
- Try to DIY your Halloween costumes
- Make memories while painting or carving pumpkins
- Visit the zoo
- Take a social media break
- Keep a journal for 31 days
November Goal Ideas
- Find a way to volunteer with your spouse and/or kids
- Set a Thanksgiving tablescape
- Have an outdoor fire (with smores!)
- Write an encouraging note to 3 friends to tell them why you are thankful for them
- Create your Christmas shopping list
December Goal Ideas
- Participate in an Advent Study (kids Advent found here!)
- Pray intentionally for others
- Bond over your favorite family tradition (like decorating the Christmas Tree together)
- Bake cookies and deliver them to a neighbor
- Read a book that challenges your faith
Little by little all of these small monthly goals will add up to a year of memories and success that you will cherish! And each month is just a small part of creating that life that you dream about. You are building on foundations and continuing to make progress with each day that passes.
Setting monthly goals is one of the best ways to spend your time intentionally and reach your big goals without losing focus or getting overwhelmed.
Follow the steps outlined in this post and you are going to be on your way to your best month yet!
Let me know what monthly goals you set in the comments below!
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