Happy August! 6 Steps to Plan Each Month
Happy August! It’s the start of a new month. Children are preparing to go back to school. Parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. Most of us are trying to stay on top of the goals we set in January. August is one of the more popular months to get married so many couples are undoubtedly preparing to say, “I do.” We have goals at work, at home, in our relationships, and so forth. There’s a lot going on! I’m tired just thinking about it all.
So how can you and I stay on top of all the things we need and want to do? We plan and we schedule. It’s important to have a plan in place not just for the year but for the month and the week as well. Otherwise, August will come and go without anything worthwhile to show for it. You know the saying, “Fail to Plan. Plan to Fail.”
I’m dedicating today’s post to starting the month off right. I spent this morning updating my monthly calendars for August. Yes, there’s two. I’m preparing to launch the first ever From Caterpillars to Butterflies home study course, Transform Your Life in 60 Days Blueprint. I am super excited but also super nervous as well. Thanks to my coach, I’ve mapped out the major milestones I need to hit in order to launch my product on September 21 (which also happens to be my birthday).
To summarize, I recommend setting time aside on the first of each month to:
1. Reflect on the goals you have for the year.
2. Reflect on the previous month. Ask yourself what went well and what didn’t go so well. Are you progressing toward your annual goals? Do you need to course correct?
3. Write out your goals for the current month. Ideally, you already have a close version of these goals that were established at the beginning of the year. Although, you may need or want to tweak them.
4. Work backwards to create a plan that will help you accomplish your goals for the month. What milestones do you need to hit? For example, if you want to lose 4 pounds perhaps your milestones are one pound each week.
5. Put your goals and your milestones on the calendar.
6. Add additional activities, responsibilities, plans, vacations, etc. to the calendar. Make sure your reference the calendar and the goals regularly throughout the month. Depending on the nature of your goals you may want to complete this step before Step 3. For example, if you have a two week vacation planned you may not want to schedule a product launch that same month.
Having everything written down with dates attached to them will help you stay on track. At the beginning of each month you should sit down like I did this morning and write all your goals, plans, activities, milestones, etc. on your calendar. You should also reflect on the previous month, where you are in reference to your goals and devise a strategy to get back on track or to update your goals so that they are still realistic and achievable.
I’ve used the From Caterpillars to Butterflies Transform Your Year Workbook and Planner to capture my goals for the year and for each month. The picture I have above is the August page from that workbook. I love the Transform Your Year Planner because it helps you not only plan out your goals but to establish what your goals should really be, break the goals down and track against progress so you can course correct as needed. Your monthly goals are right there at the top to see everyday. It also challenges you to ask yourself at the end of each month how things turned out so you can prepare and improve going forward.
Here’s another option for planning out your month. I found this cool dry erase board at Wal-Mart today. It’s so crazy because I was thinking about how I wanted a color coordinated calendar dry erase board. Unexpectedly, I came across this one without even looking for it! This dry erase board calendar comes with five different color markers and a space to identify what each color represents. For me I’ve chosen green for all things From Caterpillars to Butterflies, blue for the Corporate Rescue Plan I’ve apart of, the Magenta color for exercising (I have a goal to lose 18 pounds this year), orange for house cleaning (I’m a self-professed slob), and black for everything else. Color coordinating activity is so convenient. I automatically know what I am scheduled to focus on each day just by seeing the color. You may choose to have a color for date nights, family time, classes, self improvement, church, etc. The options are endless.
You might be wondering why I have two calendars. Well, for one the second calendar I just bought today. I haven’t always had two. However, I do see a benefit to both. I explained earlier how the Transform Your Year Workbook and Planner is a robust planner that helps you develop your goals, break them down and track against them. It’s main purpose isn’t to be a calendar. In this workbook, clients create strategies, identify obstacles, and establish visions and goals for the year. There is, however, a calendar in the workbook to map out a plan to transform their year.
The dry erase board is something to hang up and look at every day. I am using it to keep track of my August goals from the Transform Your Year Workbook. It can be used for the entire household whereas an annual planner is generally person specific. The dry erase board calendar can also be used to keep track of household chores or events such as weddings or concerts. Since the dry erase board can only be used for one month at a time you’ll definitely want a separate calendar for your yearly goals. In the TYYW, we write out all the goals for the year in January (or July depending on the version).
So now that I’ve shared with you 6 easy steps to plan out this month and every month as well as the tools I use to help with my planning what do you think? Is this something you can do yourself? Do you have a plan for August? I’d love to hear about it.