Monthly resolutions: An effective approach to do all the things

Instead of making just one New Year’s resolution, I’m making monthly resolutions—one goal per month to upgrade my life, embrace my ambition and make the world a better place.

Monthly resolutions: The effective way to reach your goals and embrace your ambition without intimidating New Year's resolutions. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I love the possibilities of the New Year: Seems like everyone has the confidence to tackle long-held goals and make the changes they know will help get them their best life. (In fact, I just wrote an article for Women’s Health about how to finally achieve your goals you make and re-make every January!) But this year, I’ve felt totally overwhelmed by the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe I’m overly ambitious, maybe I’m scattered, but there’s just so much I want to do—and there are only 24 hours in a day.

I’ve been talking with friends about different approaches to New Year’s resolutions. One friend identifies a single word by which she wants to live. (2018 is “ease,” she told me.) Another friend sets New Year’s intentions. I like that these approaches have lower pressure than the typical New Year’s resolution. But I needed to figure out my own path to reach my goals.

So I sat down in a comfy spot on the couch, soothing music playing and tea steeping, to do some brainstorming. I started with a big question:

What do I want in 2018?

Identifying my goals

Then I made a big, fat list in my bullet journal. I didn’t censor myself, and I didn’t limit myself. I let my ideas flow.

Turns out I have a lot of things I want to do, and there’s not one overarching theme. I want to make positive changes and reach goals in my career, finances, activism, creative play and more. So what to do?

Monthly resolutions: an effective way to reach 12 goals in a year! Bullet journal brainstorm - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Enter the monthly resolution: Month-long goals I can work on for just 30 or 31 days (or, in the case of February, 28!), then move on to the next project.

A monthly resolution is going to help me focus on one thing at a time (something I struggle with—I just have so many ideas that it’s hard to rein in my energy!). A monthly resolution will also help me feel accomplished, which is an enormous motivator for me. And a monthly resolution will support my ambition—so I can do all the things! (At least in theory, haha.)

My approach to monthly resolutions

When it comes to setting goals and getting things done, I do best when I have structure and deadlines. (You’re learning an awful lot about my process and preferences this post, aren’t you?!) So these are the ground rules for my monthly resolutions:

  • Take goals one day at a time and one month at a time. If I goof or miss a day, no guilt and no self-bashing!
  • Recap what went well (and not so well) at the end of the month. #accountability
  • Outline concrete steps and specific goals at the beginning of each monthly resolution.
  • Make monthly resolutions for me—not for someone else.
  • Do everything with this goal in mind: A happier, more fulfilling, more generous life.

Monthly resolutions: Your way to reach ALL your goals this year. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Making 2018 my year

Like many people, I could have done without much of 2017 (except all these things I’m grateful for last year). But I’m tired of having the events in the outside world dictate how I feel about an entire 12 months.

So now I’m making 2018 my year.

I’m going to hit my goals. I’m going to make my community a better place. I’m going to embrace my ambition and do all the things!

Are you with me? 

Check in tomorrow when I share my monthly resolution for January!

Monthly resolutions—not a giant New Year's resolution—are the way to reach ALL your goals this year. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

9 thoughts on “Monthly resolutions: An effective approach to do all the things

  • January 3, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I like this approach! Bite size goals seem less daunting. Happy New Year to you!

    • January 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Happy New Year to you, too! I’m all about smaller goals—I make way more progress that way.

  • January 3, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Sounds like a plan – the concrete steps and recapping after and not not beating yourself up for lil lapses sounds doable and healthy!

    • January 3, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      That’s my hope! Thanks for reading, Pech.

  • January 3, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Love the idea to do monthly resolutions! It seems so much easier to tackle this way. OK – I’m going to go home and think about this tonight… I’m already a few days late for January.

    • January 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      I was “late” in my resolutions, too, but the month is still young! Let me know what you come up with after noodling on it—I’d love to hear.

  • January 5, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Your small bites and “orderly yet forgiving” approach sounds like one that has a better chance of being successful than simply throwing out a bunch of resolutions and seeing which ones stick. I actually took the day after Christmas as a time to start making changes (including slowing down and being more present), and have been implementing that in a gentle way so far this month. Good luck with your process – I hope by end of year you will feel accomplished!

  • January 5, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I love your brainstorming and creating monthly goals is the way to go. Thanks for the inspiration!


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