September Goals: How to Set and Slay Your Monthly Goals the Smart Way


I don’t know where you are reading this from, but it’s so hot here it’s hard to imagine  we are about to say goodbye to summer.

Now is the perfect time to squeeze in anything you didn’t manage to get to so far this summer. With that in mind, it’s a great time to set some goals for September.

With a few quick tips, you can set goals you will actually achieve and you will be as excited as I am to start working on them now.

Goals Worth Pursuing

The first step is going to be to make sure your goals are worth the time you are going to spend on them.

Life is too short to base anything on how others see you. Make sure that this goal is something that speaks to you. You have to want it for yourself. Bad.

If you pick something that doesn’t resonate with you, chances are you will ‘fall off the wagon’ immediately, if you start any work on the goal at all.

Be brutal and be honest with yourself about why you are contemplating doing what you are doing.

Keep It Manageable and Realistic

You want to choose something you actually have a chance of achieving with a measurable outcome.

For example, instead of writing a complete novel (unless you are some kind of superhuman content creator and you have done it all in a month before) focus on writing for an hour a day.

Writing a whole novel? I feel stressed already just thinking about it. Writing for one hour a day? I could commit to that.

I could also track that because it is a specific, measurable outcome. I will know whether I have written for an hour today but I would not know how much I need to write every day to complete my novel-there are too many variables.

I would also suggest sticking to one big main goal.

You can focus your energy where it will have the most impact and won’t feel overwhelmed, especially if this is your first month in a while of killing your monthly goals.

If you want to make more goals, keep them small and with a lesser time commitment required every day.

Break Your Goals Down and Decide How You Will Track Them

  • Now that you know what you want to achieve, think of a quantifiable way to track your goals (I.e. do this task once every week day for x minutes).
  • Will you do it in the morning before work? When you get home? On the weekend?
  • Don’t forget to plan a few days off. You need a break from all the hard work now and again.
  • If you are attending an important event or have a family event coming off, give yourself the day off so you can really be present and enjoy the moment.
  • You can track your goal in your journal or bullet journal, using the calendar in your phone, or using an app specifically designed for this ( I like Goal Tracker+ Habit List+ Workout Calendar by Intrasoft for android users).

Reflect

At the end of the month, reflect on the progress you have made. Don’t worry about it if you missed a day or two- it doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things and you are only human.

Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t work. What do you want to tackle next?

Don’t forget to relax and reward yourself! Take an afternoon off and go out into the world or binge your favorite Netflix show.

Speaking of goals, I am working on an ebook and could really use your help.

I have a short reader survey here that will help me immensely with what I am working on. Thank you in advance for your feedback, and have fun slaying your goals!

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Reap All of the Surprising Benefits of Journaling in Just 15 Minutes a Day: 30 Journal Prompts for September

Do you need some inspiration for your journaling this month? I have got you covered!

If you are still toying with the idea of keeping a journal but have not started yet, use this article to get started today.

1. Monthly Goals. Review your goals from last month. What went well? What was harder for you, and how do you plan to handle it in the future? Any Surprises?

Next, decide what you want to achieve this month. Limit yourself to a few goals that are critical and have measurable outcomes, i.e. write for 30 minutes daily or write 8 blog posts rather than just aiming to write each day.

You can design a fun tracker on the same page to help keep you motivated and to see how close you are to achieving your goals.

2. Find a poem or quote about Fall or write your own.

3. Make a list of things you want to do this Fall or reflect on a past Fall.

4. Say Goodbye to Summer. Write a letter to summer or your past or future summer self.

5. Write a review of a book you are currently reading or have recently read.

6. What does the world need most?

7. What is making you stressed? What do you plan to do about it?

8. List 10 questions you have for someone in your life.

9. Go outside and pick a subject. Describe it in as much detail as possible.

10. What kind of business would you like to start? Make a business plan.

11. What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?

12. You won the lottery. What would you do with the money?

13. Write a comic.

14. If you could be any movie or book character,who would you be? Why?

15. Who would you never want to be?

16. Write about a book, movie, or song that changed the way you look at the world.

17. What do you value most?

18. Does your life currently reflect these values? How? What areas need improvement?

19. What could you simplify in your life today?

20. Are you kind to yourself?

21. Who have you not forgiven?

22. What summer memory do you want to hold on to?

23. What would your ideal job be like?

24. Do you use your money wisely?

25. Write about someone who drives you crazy.

26. Describe someone you adore.

27. What are you grateful for?

28. What worries you? Do you have any control over it?

29. If you had the chance to start life over again, what would you do differently? What would you do again?

30. Find something random and beautiful. Describe it or try to explain why it was so moving.

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Why You Need a Journal: Brilliant Methods to Achieve Your Goals, Develop Your Dreams, Reduce Stress, and Communicate Better

This blog post contains affiliate links from Amazon . If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend tools that I personally use and love and I always have my readers’
best interest at heart.

Surprising Benefits Journaling Can Offer You

A journal is a tool for self-discovery and growth. There are many, many things you could write  What is appropriate? Anything in the universe . You are completely free when writing in your journal. You don’t have to be nice or funny or entertaining.

You can use your journal to track your goals, de-stress, and develop your dreams. The act of writing things down allows us to reflect and can lead to a better understanding of ourselves, which can help you communicate more effectively.

Still not convinced journaling is for you? Check out the benefits below.

Consider Starting a Journal for these reasons:

1. Enjoy the process of creating. Whether you write a letter you will never send, a poem, or use writing as a way to work through your ideas and feelings creating something is fascinating and rewarding. The process of taking a thought, expanding on it, and editing is a journey that changes your life (or at least entertains. you for a while!).

2. To purge your emotions. If you are overwhelmed, livid, despondent, or feeling anything at all you can write about it and lose yourself in the process of choosing the right words. When you re-read what you have written you may be surprised by the perspective you have on what happened and you may have a better understanding of what actually triggered that emotion.

3. To become a better writer. You can’t do that without writing. Period.

4. It Feels Good! Whether you are venting, breaking down your goals, or just enjoying the process of writing and the joy of language this one speaks for itself.

5. To plan and strategize. When you come up with your many brilliant ideas you can plan out all of the details of the ebook you are writing, your ideal December playlist, your new workout routine, etc .

6. To track and monitor progress toward your goals. This is the most crucial step in creating goals you will actually achieve. You want to break up your big dream into several trackable mini-goals. Then break each chunk into smaller daily or weekly goals. The goal needs to be realistic. Most people don’t have two hours per day to workout. It also needs to be specific and measurable (i.e 30 mins of journaling versus just writing in your journal).

7. To encourage reflection. The unexamined life is really not worth living. When was the last time you made time to reflect on what really matters in your life?

8. To keep your thoughts organized. The act of writing your thoughts down will help you remember key points and when you are re-reading your journal later you will find inspiration.

9. To Relieve Stress. The act of expressing yourself without fear of judgement or censure and the act of recording your thoughts will help you relax and think more clearly.

10. You will have a place to store your ideas and thoughts quickly when you are on the go. Some of your most valuable ideas may come from things you scribbled in the margins.

What Should You Write?

Here are a few things you might want to include:

  • Lists. Top Ten ways to get out of doing housework,what you would buy if you made one million dollars,  grocery lists, lists of what you want to accomplish this week or month or year, lists of beautiful and pointless things.

  • Write down poems or quotes or passages you want to remember. A sweet sense of nostalgia can be yours as you look back over all the things you used to love. You can make a  book of things that made you feel alive or things you wish you had written. In six months when a specific quote you used to know is haunting you and you can’t find it you can simply grab your journal.

  • Ideas. Your journal is an awesome way to record your idea for the next Greatest American Novel, the greatest joke ever told, or a snippet of a poem in seconds before it is lost forever.

  • Record emotional outbursts. Writing can be a way to purge your emotions. If someone really pisses you off, write them a letter in your journal. You will feel better and have a better understanding of what you are feeling and what you want to do about it.  I personally usually calm down after finding the right words to express myself.

  • Write a poem. Write a short story. Start writing a book. The process of writing is it’s own reward. You will feel alive. You will become a better writer. You will have fun.

  • Notes on things you have researched, words you have looked up, books you want to read, recipes you want to try.

What notebook and writing utensils should I use?

    I could go on and on but those are just a few things I use my journal for. In terms of the journal itself, you can used a handmade journal, an inexpensive spiral notebook, an electronic document on your phone or computer, or a combination of all of the above. Again, the important thing is to write.

If you prefer to keep everything digital, I adore the free OneNote app. It is easy to make sections and to customize every detail of your journal. You can also sync your writing across multiple devices and log in anywhere.

If you prefer a physical book like I sometimes do, here are my top picks:

1. Black Ruled Notebook

2. Adventurer/ Pirate Themed Journal

3. Elephant Journal

4. Flower Journal

5. Baroque

What should I write on the all-important first page?

    The first page of your journal can be a bit intimidating. You can write “journals are stupid and I love them” in your fanciest cursive or copy down a favorite quote or song that’s been running through your mind. I also like to copy down a section out of a favorite book or poem.

Now that you have that first step out of the way you are free to write anything.

Help! I can’t think of anything to write!

    If you can’t think of anything to write, try one of the following prompts.

  •     Write a letter. Write to your significant other, your past self, your future self, your boss, a dead celebrity. Offer unwanted advice. Tell them how you really feel. Try your hand at a love letter to your favorite cereal or your favorite author or the man who lives in the apartment below you.
  • Think about a goal you want to accomplish. What are the benefits? How long will it take? What is the first step? Plan it out and get started. Track your progress.
  • Make a list. Try ten books or songs that saved my life. Ten reasons why being an adult sucks or rules. Ten secrets. Ten reasons why I love you. Ten reasons I love or hate lists.
  • Respond to something you have read. Rewrite a scene from a book you are reading. Write a review. Write a rant. Expand on ideas or concepts that stood out to you. Write character biographies.

Final Thoughts

I personally have found keeping a journal to be beneficial in all of the ways listed in this article. If you have always wanted to start a journal, what are you waiting for? Dig up some writing materials and write now.

If you have any stories about your experiences journaling, share them in the comments below. If you haven’t started yet, let me know what is stopping you!

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Inspiration is Bullshit

I am going to tell you something that sounds obvious but will make your life a lot easier: writing (or whatever else you are contemplating attempting) is work.

       I am going to refer to writing in this article as the activity you might be contemplating but not doing much about, but this applies to everything worth achieving in life.

       If you wait for the right moment to start a blog or write a novel you will never get started and you will never improve.

       If you sit staring blankly at your computer screen or piece of paper nothing much will happen.

       Daydreaming may be underrated but it is not necessarily related to your writing. The most important thing is planting yourself firmly in your chair and actually writing.

      This is the only way you will get better and indeed the only way you will produce anything: by actively beginning.

       If you can’t think of anything to write about, write about how boring life and writing are.

      In Frank O’Hara’s poem “ Why I Am Not A Painter” the speaker writes :

One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES.

      Like the speaker in the poem, you may start by thinking or feeling one thing but your writing may take you in another direction.

       There are times when your fingers won’t be able to keep up with your ideas. Take it as it comes but face reality and write even when you don’t feel like it (this is when I do my best writing!).

      The best possible thing you can develop is the practice of writing daily. It does not matter if you write for an hour in the morning or late at night, for a full eight hours per day, or only on your breaks at work.

       It has helped me to have a consistent daily schedule. Block out the time you are going to write and commit to getting it done.

 The most important thing great writers have in common is they forced themselves to actually write. Write and Write and Write.

      The other thing you should do is read. Study other writers. Think about what is awful or exciting or beautiful in the things you have read.

       You can write about that. You can use that in your own writing by quoting the work or by responding to what you read.

Join the conversation.

Now get out there and write something ( or start your business, workout plan, etc. Whatever your goal is, the time to begin is now).

At the beginning of anything worth reading,  there was just a person and a blank page.

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How to Be More Productive Now: This Technique Really Works!

If you have ever oscillated between starting at a blank page, getting sucked into 52 chrome tabs of “research”, and typing furiously until you realize the sun has set and you have a headache from not eating or pausing for air, this technique can help you get more done right now.

I have found this technique especially helpful for writing, but you can use it to clean your house or finish your assigned reading or just about any task.

The Pomodoro technique was named after the tomato shaped timer the inventor used as part of this technique (pomodoro means ‘tomato’ in Italian).

The Pomodoro technique is especially useful because it helps you focus and gives you a solid estimate of how much time tasks take to complete versus how much time you thought a task would take.

This will allow you to plan what you can accomplish daily note accurately, and to say no when you know you are taking on too much for one day.

You can also quickly breeze through smaller tasks and ride the endorphin rush that comes with ticking items off your to do list.

Ready to try it out? Simply:

1. Pick a task and estimate the amount of time needed to complete the task.

2. Work with extreme focus ( no distractions! ) for 25 minutes. Take a five minute break. Repeat.

After a few sessions take a 15-30 minute break.

3. Record how much time it actually took to complete the task and note any challenges or distractions for the future.

It works for me every time I feel myself getting overwhelmed and is much more efficient than when I try to jump from task to task.

Thoughts on this technique or any productivity tips you would like to share? Reach out in the comments below.

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How to Create the Perfect Budget

Making a realistic budget is the first and most important step towards financial independence and the life of your dreams.

Once you commit to trying a budget with an open mind, you will realize that budgeting is simply a way for you to make sure your money is put to work in a way that reflects your values and priorities.

Whether you are a doctor or a single mom, you will be able to see where every dollar is currently going and by making some small changes you can completely transform your finances.

If you need some motivation or some convincing that a budget is worth the time you will spend on it, see this article for my top 10 reasons everyone needs a budget.

Before we get started making that budget, I would like to point out that budgeting is not about deprivation.

If you feel that you need coffee every day from the artsy cafe down the street, account for this in your budget so that it doesn’t wind up interfering with your rent or your car payment.

It’s all about balance. I would never tell you to give up something you love.

There are a variety of apps you can use if you prefer them to a pen and paper budget, but for the purposes of this exercise, I would try getting everything down on paper (feel free to ignore me and use your favorite word processor if you prefer).

You can switch to an app anytime you want to if you prefer to track your spending with one.

1. Gather Your Bank Statements and All Pay Stubs/ Income Reports

  • If you have multiple incomes, make sure to include your spouse’s information.
  • If you are a freelancer or have irregular income, average your wages over the last six or twelve months (whichever you feel will be the most closely aligned with what you expect to make going forward) and look for patterns.
  • Add everything together to get your income from all sources.
  • While you are at it, take a look through your bank statements over the last month or several months. Are there any amounts that surprise you? For me, when I added up how much I was spending on fast food and lunches at work I received a reality check.
  • Don’t be afraid to delve deep ( how much have you spent on clothing for the last six months? Entertainment? Etc.
  • Keep digging until you feel like you know where every last dollar went and what you would like to reduce.

2. List All Fixed Expenses

Fixed expenses are any expenses that are the same month to month.

The list below includes expenses that are usually fixed monthly payments:

Rent or Mortgage payment
Internet bill
Cell phone bill
Car payment
Car Insurance
Medical Insurance premium
Property taxes
Childcare and support
Retirement Savings

This list is not all-inclusive, so be sure to utilize bank statements, etc. to locate any additional fixed expenses.

If you have bank statements available, try highlighting all your fixed expenses with one color or set of colors, and all your variable expenses with another color or set of colors ( I.e. fixed expenses are dark colors, variables in neons, etc.).

This can be very helpful if you are having trouble accounting for every dollar.

If possible, fixed expenses should be on auto pay.

This will save you money on late fees in the long run and make your budget even easier to maintain.

3. List All Variable Expenses

  • Variable expenses are expenses that vary from month to month.
  • Don’t shy away from the truth here.
  • If you spend about 200 a month on clothes and getting your nails done, include that here.
  • This is a judgment-free zone and your budget will only help you if you are thorough and accurate.

Eating out
Groceries
Gas
Clothing
Salon/Spa charges
Entertainment
Subscriptions
Vacations
Contributions to charity
Gifts
Pet Care
Haircuts
Personal Care ( shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, etc.)

4. Make Some Tough Choices

Add up all your variable expenses and fixed expenses and subtract them from your income.

If you get a negative number, you are living beyond your means.

If you don’t make some changes, you will keep incurring debt until you are drowning in it.

Don’t get discouraged. No matter how much debt you have, you can make meaningful changes once you have a plan.

Fixed expenses can be reduced by asking for lower rates or shopping around (on your auto insurance, for example) or by eliminating the expense completely.

For example, if you are paying for satellite t.v. switching to Netflix or abstaining (however temporarily) could save you up to hundreds of dollars per month.

Variable expenses are a bit easier to make changes to.

Maybe you could try shopping at your local thrift store.

You won’t believe the awesome books, clothes, furniture, and appliances you can find for just a fraction of the price of new items.

Review every expense with a critical eye.

Maybe Starbucks is a necessity but you could learn how to change your own oil or do your own nails.

After you have gone through each expense and decided if it needs to be reduced or eliminated, make any changes to your totals.

This is your new budget.

The money you saved can go towards your savings goals, vacation, retirement, or paying down your debts.

5. Act as CEO of your Budget

  • Finally, decide how you will track your spending.
  • You can use pen and paper that you carry around with you, a free or paid app, or you can even withdraw everything you need in cash and separate it into envelopes labeled with the name of the category you budgeted for.
  • Also, be kind to yourself!
  • You are only human and will eventually overspend.
  • If that happens, adjust your budget however you can (reduce the next months spending for that category or any area you can reduce spending in, or look for a side hustle to earn some extra money, etc).
  • Address it, own it, and move on.

I recommend that you re-evaluate your budget every month.

Take a few minutes to think about what did and did not work.

Update your goals and totals and make sure you feel happy with how you have every dollar working for you.

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard work, now sit back and reap the rewards.

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