And suddenly you realize the beginning of the month is here and you aren’t even sure if you did anything worth your time and effort during the last one.
But times fly, right? And it can happen that a whole year goes by in the same way: without you being proactive.
But, what if I told you there is a secret formula to start every month with the right foot? What if you could take action to maximize your potential for growth each month?
Well, there is! And we are going to review it here! Here are six things you should do at the beginning of each month to improve your life.
6 Things You Must – Do at The Beginning of Each Month for a Better You
Decluttering has been one of those wellness trends that have surprising results in people’s lives. Why? Because it works!
Research has proved that people in an organized space are less likely to commit mistakes in their work. Also, they are able to focus more.
Another great benefit for decluttering is that it gets you motivated to achieve other goals too.
These are some of the things you must declutter:
Declutter your mind
Your month is full of tasks, appointments, goals, news and so on. As you finish one month and start another, you should empty your mind from two things. One, last month’s events and thoughts that aren’t necessary anymore. Two, the events, tasks and projects for the upcoming month. This last category you will need to organize later and the relevant stuff to your calendar.
To empty your mind you can use the brain dump technique. This consists in writing all your thoughts in a paper, without filtering or organizing them.
You can read how to do a brain dump and turn it into a to-do list here!
Declutter your phone
Is your gallery a mess? Does it has 100 memes someone sent you or 50 screenshots from things you need to remember? Maybe you don’t need those other 49 photos you took for your Instagram, since you already posted the one you were going to use.
Even if you have unlimited storage, your gallery, your download folder and your messaging app shouldn’t be cluttered.
Things you no longer need or are interested in make it difficult to find the ones that do matter. So, at the beginning of each month, declutter your phone.
Declutter your inbox
Inbox zero appears to be a popular thing these days. I honestly see it almost as impossible, as I use my email as an archive for important things. And if you are like me, it is ok.
You don’t have to delete ALL of your emails.
However, if you have 100 subscriptions but you never have the time to read those emails, you should be taking a hint. Delete subscription emails that aren’t important.
Then unsubscribe from those stores, or magazines you are no longer interested in. If it is not longer needed, then deleted too. Erase as many emails as possible and make room for the upcoming ones.
Declutter your house
If you don’t have the skill (nor the will) to declutter each day, you are prone to finishing the month with a messy house. For example, your “laundry chair” might be full with two or three loads you never folded. Or maybe your mail is taking over your table.
A great way to begin the month is to declutter your house. Fold the clean laundry and put it away. Go through the mail and discard what isn’t important.
You can even use an app to scan the important mail and get rid of all the pile of paper. If not, make sure to store the “keepers” in the right place.
An important thing to do every month is to reflect. You probably rush through every day without stopping to analyze it. So, even if you don’t do this exercise daily or weekly, every beginning of the month you should make a pause.
Sit down with your journal or you planner and think about the following things:
- What went well last month?
- What can you do better this month?
- Did you achieve everything you wanted? If not, what must be completed this month?
- What did you achieve?
- How did you feel last month? Why?
- Did you spend time with yourself?
- Did you do something for somebody else?
- What is your main goal for this month?
- What are you thankful for?
- How do you feel about your life right now? How do you feel about yourself?
- What things can you do to grow in your personal and professional life this month?
- What is something you want to do?
These are just some questions to guide your monthly reflection process. If you answer them honestly, you’ll get a clearer perspective of what you’ll need to focus on during the upcoming month.
3. Set goals
Yep, goals. The beginning of the month is the perfect time to set new goals and review old ones. This is a way of making you accountable AND tracking your progress. Long term goals will require you to work on them monthly until you achieve them.
Therefore, every month it is important you see where you stand in your journey, so you don’t lose motivation. On the other hand, short term goals are a good way to keep your motivation going every month by hitting small milestones.
A small goal might look like “losing 4 pounds this month”. On the contrary, a long term goal can look like “losing 25 pounds by the end of the year”. When you break down your long term goals into small monthly goals you make sure you have something to celebrate each month.
Also, your monthly goals don’t necessarily have to be related to your long term goals. You can learn more about how to set goals the right way here.
4. Make a budget
*cues Mamma Mia song* ♪ Money money money, always sunny, it’s a rich man’s world ♪
Alright, even if you are not rich, you should know how to manage your money. Sadly, that’s something you usually don’t learn in school. Therefore, if you are a mess when it comes to budgeting, you are not alone.
But budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated or scary. A quick budget guide according to Nerdwallet is:
- Apply the 50 – 30 – 20 rule for your income. This means 50% goes to your necessities (aka food, rent and utilities). 30% goes to hobbies, subscriptions or vacations (aka things you don’t need to survive). Finally, 20% of your income must go to a savings fund.
- Check what you are spending and categorize it between needs and wants. Add you expenses to your monthly budget.
- Track your incomes and expenses with a worksheet. Then, make the necessary adjustments as you go.
You must repeat this exercise every month in order to improve your finances and to be accountable about how the money enters and leaves your pocket.
5. Plan and schedule ahead the month
Planning is such a huge part of a successful life and career. Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” I mean, have you ever read Franklin’s bio? Seems like he knows what he is talking about!
So? It is not a surprise that planning is included in the things you MUST do at the beginning of the month. Some of the things you should be planning / scheduling are:
Me Time during the month
You know, self-care, hobbies, time alone? You might be wondering why would you plan that. Well, can you remember when was the last time you did something for fun?
Your typical routine can make you forget the importance of doing things for yourself. Scheduling these things in your calendar guarantees you time to rest, to recharge your batteries and to practice self-love every month. Schedule this in your calendar and you’ll save yourself from a lot of burn outs.
Schedule appointments and deadlines
There’s nothing more uncomfortable and stressing than remembering a doctor’s appointment the day before it’s due. So, make sure that at the beginning of each month you write in your calendar every single appointment. Also, include deadlines for your personal goals or work projects.
This way, you’ll have a clearer preview of what’s going on and you’ll plan the rest of your days and weeks accordingly.
Plan time outside
Planning time outside in nature during the month is as important as scheduling your appointments. Being outside in nature is not only important to get your Vitamin D, but studies show that it reduces your stress and your anxiety.
It also improves your mood. And who doesn’t need a little bit of that these days?
Time with friends
As an adult, it can be quite difficult to meet with friends. It seems like it is almost impossible to make schedules meet. But sharing time with your friends is an important part of life and a proven way to boost your mood.
So, instead of waiting for things to magically happen, plan time with your friends at the beginning of the month. Contact them and ask if they have time on a specific date. After you schedule it, remember to give them reminders as the date approaches.
6. Take a challenge at the beginning of the month
Each month is an opportunity to challenge yourself. Besides your common goals, you can set a goal to do or learn something new every month.
Not sure what challenge to take this month? Here is a list of a few examples:
- Take a picture each day during a month
- Exercise for 30 days
- Write a short novel (30 minutes daily writing)
- Do something kind for people every day (read about the kindness challenge here)
- Become a pro in Dance Dance Revolution
- Master the basic of a new language in 30 days
- Start a new blog
- Go minimalist in 30 days
- Start a new course
- Read a complete book this month
Up to You!
How you treat the beginning of each month will determine how it goes.
Whenever the first day comes, you should be decluttering your home, making a budget or starting a new challenge. Also, should be reflecting, setting new goals and planning the rest of your month.
Doing this each month will help you not only to improve yourself, but also improve your lifestyle little by little.
Do you want set goals, make a budget and plan your schedule each month all in one place? Check out the Dreamer’s Life Planner.