Today I wanted to share with you the things I do on the first of the month (or the last day of the previous month) to prepare for a new month. To set myself up for success in the month ahead, and make sure I have all my ducks in a row.
A new month, the perfect time for a fresh start. The fresh start is a scientifically proven phenomenon where we’re more likely to change things on a day that represents a ‘fresh start’ for us. Like a monday, a 1st of the month, a birthday or the biggest one, January 1st.
So as the start of a new month is always a great day to refresh some things, it’s also a good time to take a look at your last month, the upcoming month and possible goals you may have. It’s a time to take inventory of your life and figure out your next steps.
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Plan my month on a big calendar pad
The first thing I do when I prepare for a new month is to grab a big calendar pad like this one. You can also print your calendar from google calendar or outlook, get a free printable or keep everything digital if that’s what you prefer. I’m a paper and pen kinda girl, so I prefer to write everything out.
On my pad, I write everything I already know needs to happen. Any important appointments or birthdays I’ll write down straight away.
Add any important horoscope information
This is where it gets a bit more airy fairy, because I take a look at my horoscope for the month. I always use astrostyle for my monthly horoscope. I print them down and highlight anything that is extra important for me. I then copy this information down on the appropriate days in my calendar.
I am not the strongest believer in astrology, but I think it doesn’t hurt to keep it in mind. So usually what I’ll do is if there is something technical I need to do that month and we’re in a mercury retrograde for example, I’ll hold off on that thing until it’s over, or I try to do it before it starts. Or if there is a day that’s really good for a specific area such as family or organization, I’ll try to do that on that specific day. It’s small things, but I’d prefer to stay on the safe side.
Take stock of last month and things I haven’t accomplished.
The next thing I do to prepare for a new month is to look at last month, the specific goals I wanted to achieve and the overarching things I’m working on. Is anything running behind? Anything I haven’t done that I wanted to have done by now? I’ll make those a higher priority for the upcoming month.
I think it’s always nice to start with a clean slate, and tackle any of those things first if possible. It’s not a great feeling to get all excited about your new month and new goals if you have a lot of things left over from the month before. So instead of stacking my goals, I try to balance some of last month’s goals with some new goals.
Add any goals I want to achieve this month
Then, I look at the things I want to achieve this month. I try to work in 12-week blocks, so for every 3 months I have an idea of what I want to do in that time. So I’ll write down the things I want to do to achieve those goals.
Usually I’ll also have daily habits I want to work on. Behaviours I want to start implementing such as journaling or working out every day, or they could be daily habits to achieve one of my goals, such as working on blog posts every day for 30 minutes.
I write all of these down so I can take them into account when I plan my month.
Plan my goals into my days
The last step to prepare for a new month! When I have my important information, my appointments and goals all together, I am ready to plan my days. I’ll see if anything interferes, and that I’m not overloading myself.
When I was studying for exams I’d actually do everything by the hour. Meaning that I’d usually set myself a 6 hour limit of studying per day, and write down exactly how many hours I expected to need per course. Then, I’d plan those study hours into the 6 hours per day over the course of the month. Often I’d need to add some hours during some days, going over the 6 hour limit. But generally, this kept me productive, successful and most importantly sane during my study periods.
Now, I just make sure I don’t have 10 important goals to achieve in one month as that’s a bit too much. IT’s way better if you limit yourself to 3-5 goals and focus on those. If you achieve one of them early, you can always choose to add a new one if you want.
I think it’s always better to underwhelm yourself and be so motivated that you want to work extra hours, than when you overwhelm yourself and are burnt out after a week. So plan accordingly, and find what works for you!
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So this is how I prepare for a new month, and keep myself accountable towards the things I want to achieve. It isn’t always easy, and it sure isn’t always successful, but it works for me. There are always days that just don’t work, and days on which you feel like 200% and it’s all going great. I try to do a bit more on those amazing days, so I can also be kind to myself on the lesser days and take a break. That balance is important to me.
If you liked this post, you may also like this one on being more productive!