New month, new goals! September always feels like a good time to start fresh and brings with it a feeling of reset and refocus.
The lazy days of summer have come to an end, the kids are back in school, and even as an adult who has not been a student for a (very) long time, the back to school season always feels like the start of a new chapter and a natural new beginning.
Also, as the end of the calendar year approaches, it is an opportune time to reassess and reevaluate the goals you might have set earlier in the year and prioritize where you want to focus your efforts throughout the remaining months.
September has always had that “fresh start” feel about it, but no matter the time of year, the beginning of a new month is the perfect opportunity to set some new goals.
In this post, we will learn about 8 areas of life to set goals, discuss 4 simple steps for setting monthly goals, as well as some of the obstacles that often hold us back from getting started.
New month, new goals: Where to begin?
When thinking about goal setting, are you feeling like “where do I even begin?”.
Perhaps you consider yourself a bit of a “go-getter” and despite having a long list of goals you’d like to go after, you can’t decide where to focus first.
OR maybe you’re more of a “go-with-the-flow” kinda gal and although there are certain things you’d like to accomplish, it all feels a bit much and you never seem to start.
In any case, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming since there are a multitude of different types of goals we can set in our lives.
Getting into shape…earning more money…doing yoga more often…..where to begin?
8 Areas of Life to Set Goals
It’s true that in order to be well-rounded and ultimately feel fulfilled in life, it’s important to set goals in a range of areas.
One way to help do this is to look at some different pillars that work together to bring us a sense of wholeness in our multifaceted lives.
These pillars are the 8 areas of life to set goals and we can use them as our starting point:
The emotional area of life is all about nurturing your emotions and making sure you are doing things to understand, process, and express your emotions in a healthy way so as to foster a sense of stability.
This area of life involves taking care of your space and physical surroundings and includes everything where you physically spend time – your home, your workspace, your car, etc.
Ideally, you want your physical surroundings to encourage growth and create a sense of peace in your life. Goals in this area might include decluttering your workspace or redecorating your bedroom.
The mental area of life is about continuously working to strengthen the mind, expand your perspective, and enhance your knowledge. It involves learning new things and challenging your thoughts to foster personal growth and development.
This could mean setting new goals of going back to school, learning a new skill, or challenging yourself to read more books.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the physical area of life encompasses taking care of your body through physical movement, nutrition, adequate sleep, good hydration, proper hygiene, and regular health check-ups.
Goals in the physical area of life would include things like exercising more frequently, going to bed earlier, and staying on top of your annual doctors’ visits.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time and how often do you just have fun for the sake of having fun? This is the recreational area of life and it’s all about how you spend your leisure time.
It includes engaging in hobbies you enjoy, making time for fun, and trying new things for pure and simple enjoyment.
The social area of life has to do with your relationships with family and friends. It encompasses cultivating healthy relationships through meaningful connection, respectful boundaries, and honest communication.
Our relationships with others provide an important support structure in our lives and as such, it’s vital to continuously work to improve these relationships through working on developing better communication with loved ones, spending more time with family, or setting necessary boundaries.
The spiritual area of life entails taking care of your soul through practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, and meaning to your life.
If you are lacking in this area of life, you could set new goals such as starting a gratitude journal, establishing a daily meditation practice, or spending more time in nature.
8.) Career & Finances
The career and finances area of life is pretty self-explanatory and I’d be remiss not to mention it. If you have a career, there’s a good chance you spend over half your days at work and many of us also spend a lot of time worrying about money.
Yep, these two aspects play a huge role in how we live our lives and oftentimes go hand in hand. Your career often supports your financial capabilities and goals and your finances can greatly impact the career path you’re on.
Earning a new promotion, changing the career track you’re on, or saving for that vacation home or new car would all fall under goals to set in the career and finances area of life.
New month, new goals: 4 Steps for Setting Monthly Goals
I hope you now have a greater understanding of the different areas of life to set goals so you can move on to setting some goals of your own!
Below are 4 steps for setting monthly goals:
1: Reflect and Evaluate
With the 8 areas of life in mind, grab a journal, notebook, or blank piece of paper and spend some time reflecting on the previous month.
In doing so, you’re looking to assess which areas of life you feel warrant improvement first and foremost and where you’d like to focus your efforts for the new month goals you’ll be setting.
Think about your successes and challenges this past month. What went well? Where did you struggle? How are you doing on any goals you might have previously set?
Consider how you have been spending your time and how it makes you feel. Have you been working a lot? Are you allowing time to nurture your relationships, practice self-care, enjoy your passions and/or hobbies?
Try to evaluate how you’ve been feeling mentally and emotionally. What habits, routines, or practices are you finding helpful in maintaining a healthy mindset? What is not serving you?
If you need help coming up with some more self-reflection questions, download my 50 FREE Self-Reflection questions by clicking the image below.
2: Prioritize and Focus
Once you’ve finished reflecting on the previous month in relation to the different areas of life to set goals, it’s time to select 1-2 life area priorities for the new month that you want to focus on.
These priorities are the areas of life where you want to dedicate your time and energy and they will inform the goals that will ultimately make up your “new month, new goals” list.
After selecting your 1 or 2 priorities, it’s important to set intentions surrounding them. Think of your intentions as commitments to these priorities.
Keep in mind that intentions are different from goals in that they are not something you can accomplish or measure. They’re open-ended, more a way of being.
Here is an example:
Let’s say your priority is the social area of life because in the “reflect and evaluate” exercise from step 1, you identified that you have been feeling distracted and have not been spending as much quality time with your kids as you’d like to.
The intention you set to support this priority could be “I am committed to being present when with my children”.
We’ll get into the goal you might set below.
3: Goals and Actions
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already reflected on your previous month, evaluated it in relation to the 8 areas of life to set goals, chosen 1 or 2 priority areas to focus on this month, and set intentions for each of these priorities.
Now it’s time to set your goals!
A goal is an outcome with an end date. Your goal could take a week, a month, or even all year! It should be challenging, yet realistic, and must be tangible and measurable.
When we talk about goals, we also must talk about actions.
Actions are the steps you take to achieve your goals or the tasks that contribute to your goals. An action can be something you do one time or it can be recurring (and eventually form into a habit).
Going back to the example in step 2:
The goal you might set for the new month could be to set aside 2-3 hours a week for quality time with your kids during the month of September.
The action you take to contribute to this goal is designating “Friday fun night” each week during which you put away all electronics and spend uninterrupted time with your kids doing something fun that you enjoy together.
Ideally, your goals reflect your intentions and your actions reflect your goals. It’s all connected!
4: Structure and Systems
How often have you set goals for yourself that you never accomplish because you either forget about them after a while or find that you don’t have the necessary structure in place to maintain consistency in your efforts?
Structure involves the habits and routines, as well as the systems (or processes) that will help you work towards your goals. It also refers to having appropriate boundaries and reminders set so you can stay on track.
Habits and routines form when you consistently take action, hopefully in the direction of your goals.
You also need appropriate boundaries with yourself and others to protect you from getting distracted and help you stay the course.
This could mean setting a new boundary with yourself in regards to how often you check social media feeds or what time you wake up in the morning. It could also mean a new boundary with a family member or friend who is not respecting your time.
Last, it’s useful to have some reminders in place that reinforce your “why” and help you stay productive.
Make sure to add due dates to your planner for your action tasks, set alerts on your phone to remind you of the habits you’re trying to build, or put visual reminders around your space like post-its with notes to yourself or a vision board.
Put it all together with a FREE Monthly Goals Worksheet👇🏻
New month, new goals: What’s holding you back?
Despite our best efforts in setting goals, figuring out the necessary tasks to achieve them, and working on creating the structure to support them, sometimes it’s still hard to get started.
Does any of this sound like you? I’ve certainly struggled with some of this, if not all of it.
When I started this blog, I only had a fuzzy idea of what it would be about, I had no clue how to make a website, I was worried about what others would think, and I feared no one would even read it.
But, I did it anyway and I’d like to offer you some words of encouragement if you’re struggling to get started on your goals.
1: Choose progress over perfection
Progress is more important than perfection when you have a goal in mind. If you wait until the perfect circumstances are in place for you to start on a new goal or endeavor, i.e. waiting for the stars to align, then you will never start.
Just start, even imperfectly, and choose progress as the measure of success, not perfection.
Start with small steps in the right direction and you will see your confidence build and gain the needed clarity and knowledge as you continue to move forward.
Deciding to let go of the pursuit of perfection and do the best you can with what you have today is how you learn and eventually things will fall into place.
2: Get creative
Don’t be afraid to get creative, be resourceful, and try different things to see what works.
Sometimes we think we need to have a perfectly scripted plan or a blueprint of the best way to do something before we start doing it. But oftentimes, it’s through trial and error, through failing at something, that we learn what doesn’t work and subsequently what does.
It’s important to maintain a growth mindset and to look at failure as an opportunity for learning.
Maybe what you come up with by taking imperfect action, and possibly failing more than once, will turn out even better than it would have if you had planned it all out perfectly.
3: Don’t waste your energy worrying about what others will think
Eleanor Roosevelt once said “What other people think of me is none of my business.” This is so true!
Others’ opinions of you actually have nothing to do with you. They’re based on their perspectives, created by their own limiting beliefs and insecurities.
Also, other people are not thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are! People spend way more time thinking about themselves than about what others are doing.
Keep in mind that you are likely your own worst critic and work on changing that instead.
4: Don’t sweat it
The truth is that sometimes you won’t be focused on goals and there’s nothing wrong with that. Also some months may just be a continuation of the last where you’re working towards the same goals. That’s perfectly fine too.
Either way, don’t sweat it!
Just remember, that everyone feels unmotivated at times, but if you’re consistently feeling stuck and want some extra inspiration in this area, check out my post: “5 Legit Reasons You’re Feeling Stuck in Life (+ 25 Affirmations for Motivation)” 💕
New month, new goals: Are you ready to get started?
With clearly defined priorities, intentions, and goals, plus the structure and systems to help you make them happen, I’m hoping you now feel ready to set some new goals this month and go after them!
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.