MOTIVATION FACTOR #5: The Monthly Goal List

Previous Motivation Factors:

MOTIVATION FACTOR #1: Buy A Notebook, Not A Planner.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #2: Set Yearly SMART Goals

MOTIVATION FACTOR #3: Divide Your Major Goals Into Mini-Goals

MOTIVATION FACTOR #4: Create a Master List

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In the previous factors, we’ve covered two of the five elements of the “Base 5 System”.  As a reminder, the first element was setting ten goals for the year and then setting mini-goals for the first goal you were going to work on.  The second element was the master list.  This is where you write down every single item to work on including your mini-goals.  Now that you’ve got that done, it’s time to use both of them to assess your monthly goals.

Your monthly goals or monthly list works a little different than the yearly goals you set.  (I may be using monthly goals and monthly list interchangeably here, so feel free to call it whatever works best for you.)  If you’re using a college-ruled notebook (which I’ve recommended), I usually keep my monthly list to always 30 items.  So as you look over your previous two subjects in the notebook, you want to list the 30 most important things you’ve got to do for the next 30 days (or 31 or 28…depending on what month you’re in obviously).  You don’t have to list them in any certain order right now, you’re just making a list of those 30 items you want to work on through the month.

Finished?  Ok, now that you’ve got that list down, next to those 30 items, draw a vertical line down the page.  Next to those 30 items, put a date down when you’d like to complete them.  You don’t have to have a date for every item.  For example, if an item carries over to another month or it’s not high on the priority list, you may not want to set a date yet and that’s ok.  But if there’s something that must be completed by a certain deadline, by all means, put that date down.  I usually have dates with about half of the items on the list.

Got that done?  Great…draw another vertical line next to that.  Now comes the prioritization part.  Decide what your top 6 items on the list are and mark them with the letter “A”.  Once you’re done with that, take the next six items, and mark them with a “B”.  Keep doing that until you have A through E marked six times each.  Now that you’ve finished that, go back to your “A” items and number those in order of importance with a “1”, “2”, etc.  Then, do the same with the other lettered items.  So you should now have a list that ranges from “A-1” to “E-6”.  Your month has now begun.

I will come back in a few blogs to this list, but for next time, I will go over the Weekly List.

 

If you do use this system and would like to leave a comment on how it goes for you, please feel free.  Thank you for reading another “Motivation Factor”.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #4: Create a Master List

For previous factors, click on the following links:

MOTIVATION FACTOR #1: Buy A Notebook, Not A Planner.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #2: Set Yearly SMART Goals

MOTIVATION FACTOR #3: Divide Your Major Goals Into Mini-Goals

The fourth motivation factor is very simple.  It’s creating a master list, which means a list of practically everything you’re going to do.  I reserve the second subject of the 5 subject notebook for the “Master List.”  It’s a list of what you do daily, what you do weekly, what you do monthly, and quarterly, and every six months, and….well, you get the point.

The one thing I don’t recommend is hurrying the process up so that you forget something.  You’re putting down a lot of things….I even include sleeping, brushing my teeth – things that are part of my daily routine.  However, make it specific…if your goal is to sleep 8 hours a day, then write that instead of just “sleep”.  Another thing on the master list is to write in the planner every day.  You’re really writing down everything you’re going to be doing.

Think of your weekly engagements.  A simple goal for the week may be to work 40 hours, but you still write that.  It can be anything from attending church on Sundays to playing in that weekly Bingo game.

Think of things during the months.  If you know you’re going to be celebrating someone’s birthday in the next month, write that down.  The one thing that is important about the master list is that you want to make sure it’s updated thoroughly at all times, especially before a new month hits because the things that are going to go on your monthly list come from your master list.

You also want to include the goals that you set in Subject #1.  That includes the big, large goals and the mini-goals.  I also put down deadlines and anything else important that goes with it.  The monthly list is going to be based on whatever you have put on your master list.  The weekly list is going to be based on what you have on the monthly list and the daily list is going to be based on the weekly list, so you can see the importance of the master list.

So, in summary:

Subject #1:  Yearly Goals and Mini-goals.

Subject #2:  Master List

 

Next week, I’ll go more in depth about how the Master List and Monthly Goals work together.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #3: Divide Your Major Goals Into Mini-Goals

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So now that you have a list of goals, written in the SMART format, what do you do?  It’s actually really simple as you take the first goal and work on that one.  For myself, I still use the first subject of a five-subject notebook and I skip a space in between the 10 yearly goals and the first goal I want to work on.

So after a skipped space, rewrite the first goal (either the first one in sequence or the first one in priority) and make sure you include the deadline.  Now you’re going to break that goal into mini-goals by brainstorming EVERYTHING you need to do to get the goal accomplished.  Don’t worry about what you have and don’t have, just write down all the things you need to do to get your goal moving to the end.  There’s really no set number, I just write until I can’t think of anything else.

Once you’re finished with that, you now have a major yearly goal written down with a list of mini-goals.  With that list of mini-goals, you’re going to do the same thing you did before and that’s put two numbers down afterwards, a sequence number and a priority number.  While this process may take a while (depending on how large of a goal you’ve set), I’ve also found it to be organized and motivational.

Now that you have that list finished, it’s time to get started on that first mini-goal.  Just like your major goals, this one should also be written with a deadline in mind.  And just like your major goals, it should be realistic.  Give yourself a few days to finish it if you have to…the idea is to make sure you don’t set an unrealistic time and then finding yourself overwhelmed when other goals begin crossing over at the same time.  It’s many cases it’s not life-ending if you don’t meet your deadline right away.  Just extend it and keep working at it.

Once you’ve finished that part, you can move on to the next mini-goal and work on that.  The idea is to just keep taking baby steps towards finishing the goal.  There will be barriers along the way, obstacles that you didn’t foresee and that’s OK because we can’t predict every fathom of life.  For myself, I take a deep breath and just move forward.  You can’t change anything in your past, so don’t dwell on a mistake or something that happened that stopped you in your tracks, just think of how you can get back to the task at hand.

As you start finishing your first major goal, you can then repeat the process with your second goal.  If able, you can start your second major goal while working on your first or you can wait and start and finish your first one.  If it starts to get overwhelming, go back to your earlier goal and complete that first because the last thing you want to do is start on something, put it aside and then forget about it.

Continue on until you finish all your goals that you’ve set.  Some of them may be pushed further down the road, some of them may be surprisingly started earlier.  No matter what, you’re now on your way to working on things that will help you feel happier and more accomplished in life.  Good luck as you move towards a more successful life!

Next week, I will go over the fourth motivation factor.

MOTIVATION FACTOR #2: Set Yearly SMART Goals

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When you set a goal, and you stick with it long enough, the goal lingers and whether you want to or not, you work on it little by little.  That’s the great thing with SMART goals, in that whether you meet the deadline or not, you’re probably going to achieve it.  No matter how hard it is, setting goals is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

Last week, I talked about buying a 5 subject notebook and dedicating that first section to making yearly goals.  What I’ve done is set 10 goals and allowed myself a deadline for each within the next twelve months to finish them.  When you set a goal, the best thing to do is to set them the SMART way.  In case you don’t know by now:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Timely

The first thing you have to do is make it specific.  A general goal would be something simple like “Make money”.  But what does that mean?  If you have a job, you already make money, but there’s no amount specifically and the words “make money” won’t make anyone achieve anything bigger.  Do those words really motivate anyone?  A specific goal is clear and will make someone work hard for it.

The second element is measurable.  Measurable means you have something to work towards.  If we go back to the “Make Money” goal, this part will allow you to answer “how much”.  So instead of “Make money”, let’s state “to make $45,000 with my job.”  Now you have something to work towards and the question becomes “How do I make $45,000 with my job?”  Now you have a goal that is measurable and more specific.

The third part is asking yourself whether your goal is achievable.  For someone that is making $40,000, a goal of making five thousand dollars more isn’t really unrealistic.  It can be achieved.  But if you’re already looking for a six figure income at this point, you may be setting your goals too high and when you do that, you start losing motivation to want to achieve your goals.  And with no motivation comes dejection and failure.  So it’s important that one sets a goal that is as realistic as possible.

The next thing – the ‘R’ in SMART – is making your goal relevant.  Simply put, why is it that you want to “make $45,000 at your job.”  Is it because you have an absolute need for it or just because you want to make more money than another person?  Is it because you care or because you’ve been told “more money is better”?  Make sure you are absolutely passionate about achieving your goal.  If you’re struggling to make ends meet, making more money is going to be very important to you and that’s why it would be relevant to you.  You want to make sure you want to keep going forward with your goal.

Finally, your goal needs to be associated with time.  When I was in school, the one thing that always kept me on track was the fact that I only had a certain period of time to finish my assignment.  If I knew a homework assignment was due soon, I had to scramble sometimes to finish it.  Goals also need to have a deadline so we make an effort to finish it as soon as possible.  “To make $45,000 at my job by September 30, 2018”.  Now you have a deadline to go for and it allows you to continually check your progress, especially as you get closer to that deadline.

There is one other thing to mention about these goals.  They should be SMART, but they should also allow you to attain some kind of balance in life.  To do that, you don’t want to set goals all in the same area.  Depending on whom you follow (if anyone), there are either 7 or 9 areas to set goals (listed below.)  I like to set goals in different areas, so I’m not finding myself getting overwhelmed.  Some of them will cross over to other areas.  A lot of my financial life has to do with my career.  My relationship with my wife also concerns my family and so on.

  1. Career
  2. Family
  3. Financial
  4. Health
  5. Personal Development
  6. Recreation
  7. Relationship
  8. Social
  9. Spiritual

Your first challenge was easy – to buy a 5 subject notebook.  It’s cheap and affordable and will do what most planners can do as well.  If you have accomplished that, it’s time for your second challenge.

Challenge #2:  Make a list of 10 goals you would like to achieve in the next calendar year.  Make sure you use the SMART formula and balance them by setting them in one of the nine areas.  Also, when you set them, keep them in the present tense.  In parentheses, follow them with two numbers…the first number is sequence, the second number is priority.

EXAMPLE:  I make $45,000 at my job by September 30, 2018.  (2, 1)

That means that this specific goal is second in sequential order, but my top priority.

Next week:  How to get started on a yearly goal.