Have you ever found yourself about 50 weeks deep into a friend of a friend’s cousin’s Instagram thinking to yourself: I want that vacation, to look like that in a bikini, to look that great in candid photos?!
(Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me – unless you accidentally double tap. I can’t unlike that photo for you. Scroll carefully.)
Only to be left feeling a little bummed?
I think this quote summarizes it perfectly:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
It can be healthy and motivating to look at where others are in their journey and set a new bar for ourselves. The problem seems to arise when we look at where someone else is on their journey and feel envious that we aren’t there, yet. That can really just take the wind out of our sails, ya?
The only thing we should really be comparing ourselves to… is ourselves.
Lucky for us, it’s the last day of May and the last day of each month is the perfect time to do some self-comparison, check in on your goals, and set some direction and intention for the month ahead. Despite my love of living in the present moment, I am a huge fan of mapping out the future, setting goals, and making a habit of checking in on those goals obsessively throughout the year.
Keep reading to learn my simple 3-STEP GOAL CHECK for wrapping up your month, heading into the next month with intention, and re-directing your focus from everyone else’s journey back to your own.
WHAT’S A GOAL CHECK?
A Goal Check is the simple step of actually setting aside the time each month (or as often as you’d like) to assess progress and re-evaluate the goals you’ve set for yourself for the year – or life! If you’re not a goal setter, no worries. This is actually the easiest way to start!
Go ahead: Open your calendar right now and add a re-occurring reminder for the last day of every month to Goal Check & then come right back to read the 3 easy steps.
STEP 1: LIST YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Make a list of your accomplishments from the month. I keep my definition of accomplishments very expansive and I make sure it includes any and every small win that’s a part of my bigger-longer-term-goals. For example: In addition to some pretty lofty business goals I have for myself, I have a personal goal of visiting my family in Indiana at least 4 times per year. Since I visited in May, I’ll add that trip to my May accomplishments.
Quick tips: Look through your calendar to jog your memory. Keep a running google doc throughout the month and jot down anything you’re proud. Be sure to include every single thing that happened that filled you with joy or took up a significant amount of your time – even if it doesn’t necessarily pertain to your longer term goals. It will be helpful to be able to look back and assess what took up the majority of your time (good or bad) to decide if you want to do more or less of anything in the month ahead. For example: I started 4 books in May & I’ve yet to finish any of them! For June, I’ll probably aim for finishing one at a time or I might decide I don’t even want to finish some of them. Who knows!?
STEP 2: CATEGORIZE
After you’ve completed your list of accomplishments, categorize your list.
I break my goals into 3-4 categories depending on what my focus will be for the year. Typically, I will segment my focus into Career, Personal, Health & Fitness
Career – includes a focus on all revenue streams I am building and any continuing education opportunities I want to pursue.
Personal – includes a focus on all things that I personally want to accomplish including quality time spent with my friends and family near and far and travel goals.
Health & Fitness – includes anything I am focusing on for my physical and mental well-being. Exercise habits, eating habits, meditation, mindfulness, etc.
For example: last year, I was working a full-time corporate job, launching my own coaching business, and planning a wedding. (Yes, I’m still tired from all of the above!) Because those are 3 really major projects and I knew my self-care would naturally fall to the back burner, I gave self-care it’s very own category. This year, I’m looping it into my health and fitness and even consider time with family and friends to be self-care.
The reason for categorizing is to give you a holistic view of how you’re spending your time. Maybe this is a big career year for you but once you categorize, you can see that you spent the majority of your time this month with friends and family, at social events, etc. which is totally fine, of course! Your focus will naturally fluctuate but awareness is key and categorizing can give you the insight to make a conscious decision to reprioritize your upcoming month.
STEP 3: PLAN AHEAD
After you’ve listed your accomplishments and categorized them, take a second to make a set of mini goals for June. This is a great time to look ahead and get really intentional with your time. Try asking yourself: When I’m completing this exercise at the end of June, what do I want to be able to write?
Then, take a good look at your calendar and try asking yourself: What can I re-arrange? What can I get out of? Where can I schedule some R&R time for me? Should I skip that dinner and finally update my resume this month? Should I schedule a beach weekend? How can I make the most of June?
And that’s it, folks. Easy peasy.
As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Was this exercise helpful? What are some ways you close out your months and gear up for the months ahead? Are you a goal setter? What else do you want to read about goal setting?
Thanks for reading!