It’s hard to believe, but we’re already over halfway through the year! All of us are busy and many times, unexpected events mean our goals and intentions get pushed to the side. This month, our theme of “Finding Your Balance” is a chance to get back on track and help you refocus your goals and plans for the rest of the year.
How do you choose what to do that will help you accomplish what you want? Do you know what’s moving you forward? Where you are stuck? Where you are succeeding?
If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how far you’ve come. Conducting a month end review is one of the most effective ways to keep track of your progress toward your goals. It also helps you ensure you are focusing your time on what matters most.
1. Know Your Progress
Setting goals for the year is great, but it’s not enough to just set the goals. Experts agree that we make more progress when we have a set of written goals that we frequently review.
Taking time to review your goals on a regular basis helps you determine your progress and their relevance to your long-term vision for your live. The sooner you realize you’re going off track, the sooner you can get back to where you want to go.
Each month, it’s essential that you spend time to review your progress. Ask yourself these questions:
What goal(s) did I work on?
How committed was I?
What task or project was I able to complete in support of that goal(s)?
How do I feel about my progress?
Am I satisfied or unsatisfied with my progress?
2. Understand What Activities Are Paying Off
When you take the time to review your progress, you should also take a deeper dive into assessing how each day was spent. What activities moved you closer to your goals and which ones stalled or prevented you from meeting your goals for the month? A goal is important to have, but if that goal is not backed up with activities, no progress occurs.
To know which activities are paying off, ask yourself these questions:
Which of my activities produced the best result and why?
What activity should I eliminate or adjust?
What activity should I improve or increase in the next month?
By getting granular and identifying which activities are working and which ones might have become roadblocks, you can set yourself up for success the next month. Doing this type of deep dive monthly helps you adjust your schedule more effectively.
The more committed you are to a monthly review, the greater the likelihood you find more progress. Of course, there is an assumption that once you figure out what you need to do, you actually do it! Answer the questions above and use the answers to make the plan for next month.
3. Know Your Victories
My favorite part of the month end review is getting to celebrate victories. I want you to celebrate every victory, not just the mountain moving type of victories. You did what you committed to – celebrate! You adjusted and found a tiny bit more success – celebrate! Keeping your victories front and center will motivate you to keep reaching for more.
How do you celebrate? That’s up to you. I want you to first acknowledge your accomplishments by writing them down.
Look at the list – which one are you most excited about? Go big on that one. Defining big is up to you. Maybe you have a small item that you promised yourself you would purchase if you accomplished “x”. Treat yourself! But I’m not suggesting you break the bank. Don’t purchase something that will cost you more than your achievement accomplished.
A reward that enhances future performance is always a smart investment. For example, if you walked every day that you committed to last month, maybe now you need to invest in something that will keep you going or support that goal of exercise.
4. Plan Ahead
Now that you’ve taken the time to review and process the past month (and given yourself a well-earned treat!), it’s time to plan for the next month.
You may have monthly goals, yearly goals, or even longer term goals that you’re working towards. Use the information gathered in your month-end review to allocate your time effectively for the next month.
If you set monthly goals or other short-term goals that were completed, it may be time to create some new goals for the upcoming month. While I could spend an entire blog post talking about how to set goals, I’ll keep it simple here. Remember to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
And when it comes to planning goals, don’t forget to write them down! Taking the time to physically write out your goals in detail helps signal to your brain that this is something important. It also makes it easier to check back and review on a regular basis.
Now that you’ve reviewed the past month, how did it go? Can you see where changes need to be made? How much progress did you make on your goals?
To help you in your review, here is a free Month End Review worksheet. Dedicate some time this week to complete the review so that this month you have a plan that results in progress!