Show Up. It’s scary, but you’ll be fine.
One ritual that I’ve been incorporating into my life in 2018 is doing a monthly planning and review check in with myself at the beginning of every month. This check-in has become a favorite part of my year because I get to sit down with myself and dream about how I will make my future plans happen. Fun, right?
Here’s the catch. The thing about monthly planning and reviews is that you have to show up for yourself. You have to be honest and raw and real. I get scared to check in on these goals every month because I am afraid of failing myself, of truly dreaming bigger, of wanting better for myself. And every month I have to be brave enough to show up and plan how I will love others and myself in new and better ways this month.
It can be heavy. Deep breath in. Long breath out.
Set Measurable Goals
Here’s what I do with my check-ins:
- I review my goals for the month and make new ones for the upcoming month
- I evaluate my last month’s budget and make the current month’s budget
- I celebrate progress, even if it’s small
- I reflect on areas to grow and practice honesty with myself
- I journal about the month, the people in it, and the memories experienced
I have been using a GREAT resource for my monthly review ritual (link here) and it has given me guidance as I try to be more intentional with my life and choices. I have prioritized financial well-being, health, creativity, and reducing the amount of things I own for 2018. In January 2018 I had no idea I would be going back to graduate school full-time, starting my dream internship, and moving back home, yet the goals I set almost a year ago still ring true.
When you try to set your goals, pick things that are very concrete and measurable. Deciding to eat better is great, but how do you know if you did it? Try cutting out fast food, eating veggies every day, or doing a carb-free day.You can measure if you accomplish that. Use a food diary (like this one) to help you out.
Allow yourself to feel proud of the moments that you experience success. Did you make it to workout class you wanted to try this month? Go, you! That rocks and you should know that.
Turn disappointments into growth moments. Did you overspend at Starbucks this month (my hand is as high as it can be raised)? Now you know better what you can focus on for next month.
Let’s Get Personal
At the end of September these are the goals I set for myself in October: make and stick to my budget, read/listen to a book, work on finishing my quilt, transition to my fall wardrobe, start an internship, work out three times a week, complete my graduate homework, and journal daily.
Easy, right? Oh Gems, it was not.
As I stated in my last post, October was rough. I didn’t know it was going to be such a hard month when I planned it, and yet it was the most rock bottom place I have ever found myself in due to situations I could not control.
Yet, in the things I could control, I was reckless. In October, I spent every cent of the money I had coming in, I started but did not finish three books, my quilt lay untouched, my summer wardrobe is wadded in bins somewhere in a closet, I did yoga three times in the whole month, I was asked to redo a graduate school paper because my first attempt was so dismal, and I journaled only when I felt like it (which ended up being 10/31 days). My life felt out of control and my choices reflected that.
As I sat at my new favorite coffee shop to do my November planning, I honored myself for showing up. Reflecting on October meant entering into the pain of the month again. Planning for November means acknowledging that October happened.
I had two choices: I could be disappointed in myself or I could grow. And I thought “here is a new month to try again, to love myself better, and to keep going”.
So, I reviewed my goals. I made a new budget. I celebrated my new internship and new jobs. I decided to focus on less reckless choices for November. And I journaled that day to process all the emotions that were coming up.
Here’s what’s on the table for November:
- Complete graduate school homework weekly
- Stick to my budget and check in on it every week
- Write three times a week
- Do yoga once a week
- Be gentle with myself (I don’t know exactly what this will look like this month, but I know I am going to have some moments where I will be tempted to be harsh with myself. I will choose a more loving path instead)
Now it’s your turn, Gems. Look at your calendar and set aside ten minutes to reflect and prepare. How are you showing up for yourself this month? What goals are you achieving?