How to Plan for the Month Ahead (& Actually Stick With It)

image of laptop, plan notebooks, ribbons, tea

Goals without action are just dreams.

What are you tired of only being a dream in your life?

What is something you’ve wanted to do or achieve for a while but get off track with any time you try? This doesn’t have to be some huge accomplishment. It can be as simple as more time with friends, as common as losing weight, or as big as publishing a novel. It’s that thing that you always fall back to, no matter how long you’re distracted with other people and things.

We all know the typical New Years craze of big plans that usually fade before the end of January. These resolutions usually fail because it’s difficult to stay on track with them for twelve consecutive months…let alone 52 consecutive weeks or 365 days. But what if instead of focusing on one long year with one big goal, we focused on twelve short months with twelve smaller goals? What if we checked in with ourselves and reflected on our lives more than once or twice a year?

Imagine the progress we could make.

Now hear me out on the whole “planning” thing…after enough years of school, I grew to loathe schedules and plans. I was beyond tired of having all of my days decided for me. Up until recently, the idea of putting a time limit on anything was a straight up mood-killer.

But then I realized…if I wait for everything to feel right at a certain time, I may wait forever. As much as I love the relaxation of “going with the flow,” I also hate the disappointment of being in the same place for so long. Implementing even a small amount of planning into life can be the one thing to help you move forward.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided it’s time to make peace with structured time and use it to my advantage! If you’d like to join me, I’m using the next few weeks to get ready for a motivating, fulfilling month. This week I’m in the planning phase with my goals, and next week I’ll do some inner work on what’s held me back from achieving them in the past.

While reading the rest of this post and completing the worksheet at the bottom, ignore any doubts or excuses already flooding your brain—we’ll get to those later—right now is for being honest with yourself about what you wish you had more of in your life.

Think big and then small.

Big goals may seem impossible when they’re so far from where you’re at right now, but they do give you a sense of direction. Once you have that, though, it’s time to figure out the action steps to get there. What little things can you do each day or week to be closer to that goal by the end of the month? All of it adds up and will make your future self so grateful. By breaking down your big picture goal into smaller steps, you automatically have a higher chance at succeeding.

Be mindful/realistic with your time.

Setting intentions for your time is fantastic, but sometimes we get a little overambitious. I can’t be the only one who’s gotten carried away with a to-do list, only to realize there’s no possible way it could fit into 24 hours! This is where being patient with yourself comes into play. Try to be proud of each small thing you achieve instead of frustrated you didn’t accomplish more. As I said earlier, every little bit adds up! If you truly want to get more out of your day, try waking up earlier.

Set yourself up for success by preparing. 

To succeed at this plan, what do you need? I’ve purposely posted this a couple weeks before the new month so you have time to prepare yourself for success. For this month, I’ve bought some greens powder and a new laptop/planner case. I know I’ve been struggling with energy and motivation, so what better than some healthy nutrition and cute accessories? Whatever it is that you think could help you, practice some self-love and buy it. Treat yo’self!

Find an organization plan that works for you.

Have you ever had a method for keeping your life organized well? If you have, dust it off and get it ready for the coming month. If you haven’t, seriously consider checking out YouTube for some planning motivation and ideas. For me personally, to-do lists and schedules help me stay on track and motivate me. This Law of Attraction planner has completely changed the way I view my time and overall life. I’m a total nerd about it too, so if you’d be interested in learning more about it, let me know!

Make it real and exciting.

It’s time to transform this blurry dream into a tangible reality! Tell someone about your plan; maybe see if a friend will check in with you to keep you accountable. Decide how to reward yourself for reaching this goal (although reaching it is a reward in itself!). I like to book a massage or set up a fun road trip day with friends for the end of the month. By bringing this goal into more parts of your life, it will feel more real than the dream it’s always been. Making your goal feel like a real possibility leads you to make more decisions that align with it.

Start practicing!

The best part about taking time to plan for the month ahead is that you have time to try out what you want to do. It helps you work out any overlooked details in your plan. This could mean trying to wake up earlier, fitting a workout into your day, being on time for work, etc. Whatever it is you want to accomplish next month, there’s no need to wait until then to start working towards it. The more you try, the more you learn–and the more you learn, the closer you are to creating lasting habits that support your dreams.

Let’s Get Started.

For the next week, take time to reflect on your life and how you’d like to affect it in the coming month. In what areas do you want to see improvement? Can you think of what specifically has held you back from this in the past? It’s most often not a lack of planning that keeps us from sticking with our pursuits; it’s our mindset. In my next blog post, we’ll dig into how our thoughts affects our chances of lasting achievement.

For now though, check out the questions in this worksheet and consider what goals you want to work towards. Then in next week’s post, you’ll receive a free fillable worksheet and calendar to plan your month. By the following week, you will feel readier than ever to conquer your goals and live intentionally! Be sure to sign up here if you want me to email you when the new post and content are ready. Let me know what your goals or hopes are in the comments below or by contacting me! I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Planning!

Get your Goal Planning worksheet by clicking this link!