How To Set Monthly Goals: 3 Simple Ways To Success

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Today, I want to talk to you about an incredibly important topic; how to set monthly goals! 

I know, I know… this topic has been discussed to death! Yet, many people are stuck in their comfort zone, never working toward their dream life. Why is that?

As much as we all claim to know how to set monthly goals, a part of us still isn’t actually doing it the right way.

We all tell ourselves we “know” how to do it, but the reality is that we’re not quite sure what we are doing or we’re making the same critical errors over and over again. 

That’s why I’ve put together this guide on how to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. It’s time for you to turn your big dreams into reality

To understand why goal setting is necessary, we must first understand how it relates to personal development. This is incredibly important and can be the difference between success and failure. 

Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

monthly goals

Why Are Goals Important For Your Personal Development?

There are many benefits to monthly goal setting, but one of the most prevalent is your personal development. Think about it, do you want to be the same person you were five years ago? And do you want to be the same person you are in 20 years?

No! 

One of the most beautiful parts of being human is that we constantly grow and change. This could be in pursuit of our dreams or to better align with new priorities in life.

Related: How To Rediscover Yourself After Motherhood

Either way, personal development is an essential part of all our lives, and setting monthly goals goes with that like peanut butter and jelly! 

The reason goals work so well with personal development is that they provide an effective way to: 

  • Get clear on what you’re working towards
  • Track progress
  • Develop new habits
  • Stay motivated & disciplined (check out these self-discipline affirmations)

Goals also remind you of what is truly important to you and guide your efforts in the right direction.

When you’re overwhelmed by options and decisions, which is common in today’s modern world, your goals can be your guiding light to make the right choice for you and no one else

Having ambitious goals can also give you a sense of purpose, allowing you to take control of how much progress you are making in life.

Achieving these goals can bring you greater confidence, productivity, and satisfaction

Ultimately, meaningful goals are essential for personal growth or success in life! 

Okay, I bet you’re thinking that sounds great, but how do I set meaningful goals to help me grow as a person? 

A great place to start is with your monthly goals (or you can turn them into 3 month goals at the beginning to not feel too overwhelmed)! Get yourself a vision board to illustrate your goals better!

monthly goal setting

How To Create Monthly Goals

Regarding your monthly goals, you could take a few different routes. 

How To Set Monthly Goals: Option # 1

The first option is to break down your yearly goals, quarterly goals, or other long-term goals you have. As an example, if you want to save up a down payment for your first home, chances are good you won’t be able to chew all of that off in one month. That’s a big goal!

Instead, you could break your goal into smaller chunks, each becoming your new month goals. For example, you could save $1500 this month and put it towards the down payment.

How To Set Monthly Goals: Option # 2

The second way to create a monthly goal is by looking at your to-do list and making a goal out of something you’ve been putting off for a while now. For example, if you’ve meant to read that new book but have yet to get around to it, make it your goal this month to finish reading it. 

This approach also works well for monthly goals for students!

How To Set Monthly Goals: Option # 3

The third way to create a monthly goal is to set new goals that are attainable to accomplish in one month. Monthly goals ideas include:

  • Developing a new habit
  • Learning new skills
  • Starting a new project
  • Taking the time to relax

Regardless of your route, your monthly goals must align with your overall mission and purpose in life. Make sure you set goals that are meaningful to you and achievable within a month. 

Related: Journal Prompts for Self-Growth & Self-Improvement

A good time to set your goals is during your morning routine or evening routine. Or how about on a Sunday afternoon when you are getting prepared for the week ahead? I prefer setting my goals in the evening after I finished doing everything for the day so I can focus better, but it’s totally up to you!

Making Your Monthly Goals SMART

Your gears are probably already turning in your head, thinking about what goals you could set for yourself this month. (I know, it’s exciting!) But before you jump to planning your goal, it’s helpful to learn how to make monthly goals that are SMART. 

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before (if you haven’t, don’t worry!)

If you have, don’t skip over this part! Because, even though you might know what it is, can you confidently say you’ve followed the SMART goal framework? (Hint: If you’ve struggled to achieve goals in the past, this might be why. So stick around!)

SMART goals stand for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound 

But what does all of that mean? Let’s take a closer look at this and I’ll explain the golden rules for goal setting to you.

Setting Monthly Goals

Setting Specific Goals

Trust me; vague goals do NOT serve you in any way. 

And, you might think to yourself, yeah, but I like to give myself flexibility! The problem with that approach is that you might give yourself an out if things don’t go as planned.

Plus, if your goals are vague, it is hard to track your progress or even stay motivated since you don’t know what you’re working toward. 

To make your goal topics specific, start by asking yourself questions such as: 

  • What do I want to accomplish? 
  • Why is this important to me? 
  • Who else will be involved in this? 
  • When do I want to achieve this?

Understanding the who, what, when, and why behind your goal can ensure that your monthly goals are distinct and focused. 

Making Your Goals Measurable 

There’s nothing worse than knowing you have a goal but having no idea what progress you’ve made or what stage of the goal you’re in. This lack of awareness can even kill your motivation and productivity, which isn’t what you want!

Instead, make your goals measurable. Consider what you want to accomplish by the end of the month and all the mini milestones in between. These milestones that you set for yourself in your journal can keep you on track and allow you to measure your progress. 

monthly goals ideas

Not sure whether a bullet journal or a planner is the right choice for you? Read my post on which organizational system is the better one to use.

You can also make your goals measurable by understanding what action steps you want to take to achieve your goal and tracking whether or not you’re doing them consistently.

While this may not work for every goal, it works well for those that involve developing a new habit or learning a new skill. 

Making Your Goals Achievable 

You have the ideas, and you know what steps to take… now it’s time to think about if your goal is achievable in the timeframe you’ve set for yourself.

After all, you don’t want to set a monthly goal and do all the right things only to fall short and lose motivation, all because you didn’t set an achievable goal. 

When setting monthly goals, it’s essential to ensure your goals are aspirational, realistic, and achievable. Ask yourself if you have the resources (time, money, people) to achieve your goal within one month. 

If you do, then you’re off to the races! However, if you don’t, it is a good idea to re-evaluate your goal and break it into smaller chunks. Once you have something feasible, you can make sure the rest of your monthly goal examples are SMART! 

Also, learn how to overcome barriers and work with them to be able to achieve your goals.

Making Your Goals Relevant 

This brings us to relevance. Before setting any goal, no matter how small, ask yourself if this is truly a goal you want to focus on right now. Is it in line with the kind of life you want to create? 

If not, you should reconsider the your ideas for monthly goals and hone in on something personally relevant and meaningful for you now. 

Trust me; I know this from personal experience; if you aren’t excited about your goal or aren’t aligned with the life you’re trying to create, you will feel resistance. This resistance could result in feeling like something is wrong or out of alignment, not feeling motivated to work on it, or not feeling excited about it. 

If you are still determining if your goal is relevant to you right now, consider your core values and priorities. That should give you a clear indication of if this goal is worth your time or not. 

Making Your Goals Time-Bound 

Finally, it’s time to make your goals time-bound by setting an end date. Once you do this, it makes it easier to set deadlines and plan out all the mini milestones along the way. Plus, giving yourself a deadline like this creates external pressure that keeps you accountable.

Of course, monthly goals have a natural end date; the end of the month. However, you can break it down further to make your goal more attainable so you aren’t scrambling at the month to get it all done. 

Try setting weekly or even daily goals so you are constantly in the process of achieving your goal and progressing towards it. This helps you stay on track and feel a sense of accomplishment as the end date approaches! 

monthly goals

Related: Overcoming barriers to achieve goals

Monthly Goal Ideas

Now that you know how to set monthly goals, I thought sharing some examples of monthly goals would be helpful. After all, it can be hard to come up with good monthly goals all the time.

Here are some of my favorite monthly goals examples that helped me getting started in monthly goal setting (and sticking to them!)

Monthly Personal Goals

  • Get eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Drink eight cups of water daily.
  • Read two books. 
  • Plan out your time for the month, week, and day. 
  • Develop a productive morning routine.
  • Start doing a nightly self-care routine.
  • Do your biggest task first thing in the morning every day.
  • Volunteer twice at the local animal shelter, hospice, food bank, etc. 

More Self-Care Ideas:

Monthly Professional Goals

  • Land 3 new clients. 
  • Strengthen your skills. 
  • Develop your leadership skills. 
  • Improve problem-solving skills. 
  • Plan the book you want to write. 
  • Start a side hustle. 
  • Do a career assessment. 
  • Practice more work/life balance. 

Monthly Physical Health Goals

  • Go on a daily nature walk.
  • Practice yoga 3x per week.
  • Do strength training 2x per week. 
  • Try out four new healthy recipes. 
  • Follow a healthy exercise routine. 

Monthly Mental Health Goals

  • Meditate for ten minutes each day. 
  • Practice daily gratitude
  • Read one personal development book.
  • Make a vision board and practice visualization daily. 

Monthly Relationship Goals

  • Go on two date nights with your partner/spouse. 
  • Wish everyone you love a happy birthday. 
  • Touch base with family every Sunday. 
  • Plan one friend date. 
  • Go for coffee with someone you haven’t seen in a while. 

Monthly Financial Goals

  • Make a budget.
  • Track your spending. 
  • Pay off $1000 to your debt. 
  • Save $200 for your sinking funds.

These monthly focus ideas can be changed to fit your life, situation, and personal goals. I just included them here to give you some ideas of where to start with choosing your monthly goals for self improvement!

How To Plan Monthly Goals

Once you’ve picked your monthly goals and made them SMART, the next step is to start planning! Some people call this making an action plan. 

As a lover of all things planning, this is one of my favorite parts of monthly goal-setting. But don’t worry if you don’t like planning as much as I do; you can keep this simple and plan what you need to get started with your goals! 

how to set monthly goals

As I mentioned above, reasonable monthly goals are SMART. If you’ve done that work, planning your goals is easy.

Here are some tips on how to plan your monthly goals. 

Tip #1 – Break The Goal Down Into Smaller Goals

Have you ever heard the expression, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite? Well, planning monthly goals is very similar. 

A good way to confirm you don’t bite off more than you can chew or leave yourself scrambling at the last minute to get it all done is breaking the goal down into actionable steps that you can work on day by day. This can be in the form of weekly goals, daily goals, etc. 

For example, suppose you have a goal to get your taxes done before the end of the month.

In that case, you can break this down into smaller goals like gathering all your important documents, organizing everything into folders and looking up tax laws if necessary, setting up your tax system, etc.

Then, plan a deadline for each of these steps. You could make a weekly goal to get each specific goal done so that by the end of the month, you’ve accomplished your big goals. 

Tip #2 – Determine If Daily Habits Have A Place In Your Goal

While this isn’t true for all goals, you’ll find many of them require some daily habits.

For example, if you aim to read four books this month, a new daily practice you might need to adopt is reading 50 pages daily. Or, if you’re doing a 30-day challenge to go for a daily walk, you need to get in the habit of actually going for a daily walk. 

The best way to ensure you stay on track and focused on your goal is by providing those habits have a place in your daily routine.

Think of the example above: when do you have time to read 50 pages or go for a walk during the day? Time block that in for yourself to be confident it’s getting done. 

If habits are a vital part of the specific goals you’ve set for the month, you might also find it helpful to use a habit tracker. This can be a simple Excel sheet, app, or paper notebook where you keep track of your habits and when you’re doing them. 

Tip #3 – Set A Start Date & End Date

Having some accountability can be a good thing when working on a goal. Not only does it help motivate you and keep you on track, but it also gives you an endpoint to look forward to! 

A great way to do this is to pick a start and end dates for each mini-goal you’ve set.

Bonus Tip: Break up the start and end dates between your different goals. Otherwise, you risk doing too much at once and not getting anything done. 

Tip #4 – Make Sure You Have The Necessary Resources

Every goal you set for yourself will need one of the following resources; time, money, help, and energy. Make sure you have an honest assessment of what resources you will need for each goal so that by the end of the month, you’re not burnt out, broke, or way behind. 

It is also helpful to get your resources ready ahead of time. Some examples of doing this could include: 

  • Buying the books you need to read. 
  • Purchasing an online course that will help you level up your skills. 
  • Scheduling time in your calendar to work on your goals. 
  • Delegating tasks you don’t need to do or asking for help. 
  • Scheduling time to meet with your mentor. 
  • And more! 

Take time to think of everything you will need to accomplish your goals and get ready in advance. 

You should also start using goal reaching affirmations to keep you positive and motivated along the way. You can write them into your journal or on your vision board.

How To Set Monthly Goals: Get Started & Take Action Immediately

Congratulations, you’ve reached the final step! 

It is exciting to get to this part, but it can also be the most challenging step. After all, it’s one thing to discuss a goal and plan it out… it’s another thing entirely to take action and do the work. 

One way to combat this is to start immediately and take fast action. Refrain from giving yourself the time or space to overthink, overanalyze, or question what you’re doing. If you made your goal SMART, you already know this is an excellent monthly goal for you to work toward. 

So, get to work! 

Every single day, celebrate the progress you’ve made and the action you’ve taken. If you notice yourself struggling, feel free to review your plan and see if you need to make any changes. 

Setting one month goals involves experimenting, learning what works and what doesn’t, developing new habits, and achieving something new. Don’t be hard on yourself throughout your journey. 

And trust me, once the end of the month arrives, you will have such a sense of personal accomplishment that you won’t be able to wait to work on your monthly goals list! 

I hope this blog post has helped you learn how to set monthly goals. If you know anyone who would benefit from learning more about this, share it with them too! The more people learn to set monthly goals, the closer we will all be to reaching our dreams! 

FAQs to How To Set Monthly Goals

What Are The 3 R’s Of Goal-Setting?

  1. R = Rigorous
  2. R = Realistic
  3. R = Results Focused

Rather than an activity, a goal is something you do to achieve a different outcome to the situation you left off before starting to work on your goal.

What Are The 6 W’s In Goal Setting?

Learn how you can accomplish your goal by asking yourself the following 6 W’s:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Which?
  • Why?

How Many Goals Should You Set In A Month?

There is no rule to how many goals you should set in a month. It all depends on your personal circumstances and the type of goal you are planning to achieve. It’s better to only pick a few goals per month that are achievable rather than

About The Author of How To Set Monthly Goals

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

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