Do you feel as if you’re drifting through life without ever achieving anything? Do you often make excuses for not taking positive steps towards a long-term goal?

If so, you would benefit from setting quick and easy monthly goals in all areas of your life.

Here is a system for doing so in just one hour a month.

Choose Your Tools

Buy a hardback notebook or journal for the specific purpose of setting your goals and recording your achievements.

You may also use a laptop or smartphone, as long as it’s easy for you to consult your list of goals frequently.

Set Monthly Goals

During the last weekend of every month, set aside one hour to record your goals for the next month.

Write the name of the month at the top of two pages.

At the top of the first page, write “Work Goals,” and then list all the things that you would like to achieve at work in the coming month. If you run your own business, write down your business goals.

Just jot down the goals as they come into your head without putting them into any particular order at this point.

Once you’ve finished writing your work goals, put the heading “Personal Goals” at the top of the second page and write down all your personal goals for the month ahead.

In this category, include everything you would like to achieve outside of work, such as goals relating to:

• relationships with family members and friends,
• hobbies and interests
personal development
• educational and general interest courses.

Prioritize Your Goals

After recording all your goals, look at them again and prioritize them. Put a number by the side of each goal to indicate how much of a priority it is to achieve that goal in the month ahead.

Write the number one by the side of the goals that are your highest priority.

Put a number two next to the goals that you will try your best to achieve but which aren’t the top priority.

Number three is for goals that are less of a priority - it would be good to achieve them in the coming month but it wouldn’t be a disaster if they were left until the following month.

Don’t prioritize any lower than three, otherwise you risk making the whole process more complicated than it has to be. If you prefer, you can restrict your prioritizing to just one and two.

Fix Weekly Goals

After you’ve finished setting your monthly goals, write two lists of work and personal goals for the week ahead.

To do this, set some smaller goals that will lead you toward achieving the highest priority monthly goals by the end of the month.

Give these weekly goals a priority of one. Then repeat the exercise with the monthly goals marked “two” and “three.”

Motivate Yourself to Achieve Your Goals

During the week, look at your list of goals often and cross each one off the list as soon as you achieve it.

This will give you an instant feeling of satisfaction and motivate you to attain another goal.

If you wish, you can break the weekly goals down into daily goals but this is not necessary and may be too time consuming.

Review Your Goals Each Week

At the end of the first week, review your progress and set goals for the second week, based on your overall monthly goals and your progress in the first week.

If there are any top priority goals that have not been crossed off your list in the first week, transfer them to the second week without being judgmental.

If you didn’t manage to fulfill all of your top priority goals in the first week, it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure and that you should give up goal setting. The secret of high achievement is to consistently persevere rather than give up at the first hurdle.

Repeat this process for each week of the month.

Review Your Goals Each Month

On the last weekend of the month, review your progress over the past month.

Did you accomplish more or less than you expected to? Did you enjoy attaining some goals and avoid others?

Did you feel energized and motivated by the exercise or did you feel a failure because you didn’t achieve everything on your list?

If you achieved less than you expected to, perhaps you set yourself too many goals.

Try setting fewer goals next month and see if you feel the satisfaction that comes with achieving most of what you set out to.

If there were some goals that you avoided, then listen to what this is telling you about yourself. Perhaps it means that you should change your job or find extra help with your business.

If you felt a failure because you didn’t accomplish everything on your list, continue with the exercise and remember that it is an ongoing process.

The goals you don’t achieve in one month can easily be transferred to the next month. We all have limited time for working toward our goals, and not achieving some goals doesn’t make you a failure.

Adjust Your Goals

Look at all the goals that you didn’t achieve in the previous month and decide whether you wish to transfer, modify or discard them.

You may decide that you still want to attain one of your original goals, so you would transfer that to the new month’s list.

If there was a specific reason for not reaching a certain goal in the previous month, you could modify that goal so that it will be more attainable this month.

If, however, you’ve realized that a goal has become unimportant for you, you may discard it.

You will waste time and energy clinging to goals that are not a priority or which take up too much of your time to be worthwhile at this point in your life.

Conclusion

Repeat the exercise each month for a year and you will be amazed by how productive and well-rounded your life has become.

At the end of the year, you will be pleasantly surprised by the ways your goal setting has prompted you to change your life for the better.

Author's Bio: 

Roz Andrews is a freelance personal development writer. She is the owner of RA Writers For Hire and can be hired to write articles, blog posts, eBooks and newsletters for your website or publication. Further examples of her work can be found in her portfolio. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.