While there's nothing magical about flipping the calendar from one month to the next, it is a pretty magical opportunity to build habits.
Because a new month shows up like clockwork every 30 or so days, it's easy to anchor habits we want to establish—habits that will help us live out what matters—to its start. And when we can take the guesswork out of cultivating what matters, it frees up our brain space to be present with the ones we love, stay flexible with any curveballs that are thrown our way, and enjoy each day as it comes.
Today, we're sharing 5 thoughtful ways to start a new month well.
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If you've been a Cultivator for any length of time, you've probably heard us say it: reflection reaps rewards. Progress happens when we pause to reflect! You'll make better decisions about how to use your time and energy in the month ahead when you look back at where you've been. And—bonus!—when you stop to celebrate big and small wins, you gain momentum to keep moving forward.
If you're a PowerSheets® user, you have a built-in opportunity for reflection each month: your Month in Review page. These thoughtful questions make it easy to:
- Reflect on what went well in the last month and what's not working
- Highlight good things and what you're grateful for
- Set up simple yes/no intentions for the month ahead
Don't skip this step!
2. Plan for your priorities.
If we don't choose our priorities, someone else will.
At the beginning of a new month, take a few minutes to choose what matters most in the weeks ahead. What's the next right action step for your goals? How do you want to spend your time? What is on your calendar that needs extra preparation or attention?
Once you've answered these questions and defined your priorities (PowerSheets users, use your Prepare Well page for this!), fill out your Tending List's monthly, weekly, and daily action items to remind you of your priorities and keep you accountable to them throughout the month.
For more about time blocking and scheduling and completing goal action steps each week, you'll love this post!
3. Schedule what matters most.
Are there activities that fill you up, connect to your goals, and make you come alive, but that aren't on a set rhythm? Get them on your calendar right at the beginning of the month! Keep a simple list of these activities handy (the sidebar of the monthly calendar page in your Season by Season Daily Planner or PowerSheets is perfect for this!) and schedule them at the beginning of each month, before your calendar fills up.
Choose what matters most to you, but here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Date night
- Book club
- Having another couple or family over to dinner
- Going out with friends
- Workout classes, long bike rides, or runs
- Kayaking or paddle boardiIng
- Trip to a museum where you have a membership
- Day trip adventure
- One-on-one time with kids
4. Batch what needs to get done.
Instead of scrambling to tend to routine household or life management tasks as they come up, make a list and take care of them in a batch at the beginning of the month. That way, you can rest easy, knowing that the important stuff is getting tended to on time and nothing is falling through the cracks.
Choose what fits your unique life circumstances, but here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Meal plan for the month
- Clean out your inbox
- Send thank you notes
- Update your budget
- Pay bills
- Complete deep cleaning tasks
- Update your calendar or transfer digital calendar items to your paper calendar
5. Love your people well.
We all want to make the people we love feel seen, known, cherished, and loved, but it can be hard to stay on top of birthdays, anniversaries, and milestone moments. You can batch this task, too! The beginning of each month is a perfect time to check in with your perpetual calendar and set birthday reminders on your phone (to text or call a loved one on their big day!), buy gifts with plenty of time to spare, prep cards, and reach out to proactively make social plans.
Gosh—wouldn't it feel AMAZING to start each new month having taken care of these things?! With the right tools, a little forethought, and a chunk of time, you can. As always, though, start small. If this is new to you, choose just one of these steps to try this month. Once it becomes a habit, you can add another. We're cheering you on!
We'd love to hear: how do you start a new month well?