Why bother with a personal monthly review?

You only have to have been reading this blog for a couple of months to see I undertake monthly reviews. To be honest other than a handful of friends and those who have undertaken my Planned & Present course, I don’t know many people who do this for their personal lives. (On a separate note, if you were interested in Planned & Present, the next round is coming up quite soon so head here and jump on the list to be notified. It will take you step by step through the goal setting, habit setting and review process.)

Many people have monthly performance reviews at work, create a profit and loss each month for their business or will have a personal trainer to keep them on track with their fitness goal, but never take the time to conduct a personal review each month.

Before I share why I think it is so important to conduct a personal monthly review, firstly let me list all the reasons why you might think it isn’t worth it to bother with a monthly review:

  • I don’t have the time.
  • I haven’t made any progress on my goal.
  • I don’t have a goal that I am working to.
  • I know how everything is going anyway.
  • Everything is going along well.
  • It’s too late to start now, we are in June.

If you look hard enough, you can find reasons for why you shouldn’t do things. The harder the task, or the more confronting the task, often the more likely we are to look for excuses as to why we can’t or shouldn’t do it.

To persuade those of you out there who are not doing a monthly review, I am going to respond to the reasons above why you wouldn’t bother doing a monthly review, and in the process (hopefully) convince you how very valuable conducting a monthly review can be.

I don’t have the time

A monthly review doesn’t have to take more than 15 minutes. If you come up against some big issues across the month, it may take a little more time to process it, but most months you can swiftly move through the habits you are working on and assess your progress.

I haven’t made any progress on my goal

I have many months where I am not making progress. Check in May Monthly review below and you will see it is almost half way through the year and I am yet to even start on one of my habits. While I can look at this as a failure, I look at it as a lesson. I have learnt, that my tendency to add too much to my plate is still there.

However my ability to stop myself from grossly over committing has improved dramatically. I may not be doing the community volunteering I want to, but on a positive note  I am not burning myself out by adding too much to my schedule.

If I had not taken the time each month to track and review my progress, I would see this as only a failure and feel disheartened. Not hitting a goal can be a net positive experience if we let it be.

I don’t have a goal that I am working to

Not everyone sets a goal for the year, I understand that. I think everyone should and I share my process for goal setting here. You can set a goal at any time. not just at the start of the year.

But if you haven’t set a goal for the year and really feel it isn’t your thing, there is still value in doing a monthly review. You can look at where you spent your time over the month, you can write down what you achieved for the month and the challenges you faced. Both achievement and challenges can provide you with a wealth of information about yourself. This information can help you work through the future challenges and activities for better outcomes.

I know how everything is going anyway

In the day to day of family life, it is actually quite hard to know how everything is going from the bigger picture point of view. You may know that most days for example, that you didn’t get up at 6.30am and go for a walk as you had committed to doing.

Without taking time to analyse why, you might not find out that the reason for this is because you are going to bed too late. You are going to bed too late because just before you go to bed you like to check social media, then end up spending an hour scrolling through your feeds. If you however do this analysis, you can make changes. You can set yourself some boundaries on what is the latest you can go on social media at night for example, so you get enough sleep so you can wake up at 6.30am.

Everything is going along well

if you are hitting all your habits it might feel unnecessary to do a monthly review. But to quote Tony Robbins “success leaves clues” and if you work out why you could set one habit, it can be helpful information when you are struggling with another at a different point in your life.

For example I found it easy to stick to an early morning exercise routine. The reason for this was because I set myself up for success. I had a plan of what I was doing and when. I would have my clothes out ready the night before and I never snoozed the alarm – it wasn’t negotiable whether or not I was exercising. I was going to do, so I just had to get up (unless I was sick of course).

I then took this approach across to improve my diet. I decided there would be certain things I just would not eat (refined sugar etc) and I would spend time preparing food in advance so I always had a nutritious choice of food to eat. I set my self up for success with healthy eating.

It’s too late to start now, we are in June

If you set a goal in January and haven’t given it a thought since then, it isn’t too late to check in and see how you are progressing. You may have made no progress at all; but there is no need to give yourself a hard time about that.

Take time to revaluate how important the goal is to you and if you still want to pursue it, write down the three next steps you need to take to help you achieve it over the next month and then review again.

Will you take up the challenge and review the month of May? If so I would love to hear what you learnt.

My monthly review for May

HabitConnection to goalMay progress
To make three phone calls a week to family and friendsI am terrible at making phone calls. For friends and family that are not near me, this is a great way to stay connected and I have to change my attitude towards making calls.

The best way to change my attitude is to act, so I am going to set a target of three phone calls to make each week.

I also think there will be a natural flow on effect from making phone calls to seeing people in person more too.
May has been the first month where I have met this habit and had it actually feel natural and not forced. I hope this continues!
To be an active participant in a parent body at each of the three schoolsOver the last couple of years, my focus has been more inward and I haven't been as heavily involved in the kids' schools as I used to be.

This has left me feeling less connected, so by stepping up my involvement I hope to increase my feeling of connection.
I am certainly being regularly involved in all three schools, but I have some questions for myself about this one, that I need to ponder.
To volunteer my time (min 3 hours a month) to a local organisationI find great joy in giving to others. My life is full and we have everything we need, many others are not so lucky.

I want to find a local organisation where I can give my time to help others in need.
I registered my interest to be involved with a social justice group connected to one of the schools.

I have a feeling this may take a little while to take off and I am okay with that. My commitment to the schools and entertaining at home combined was bigger than I expected.

Where once I would have pushed through for the sake of being able to tick off that I have established this habit, I am giving myself some room to breathe and see what happens.
Host a family or friend catch up once a month at our homeI find welcoming friend and family into our home a great way to connect. I did more of it in the last quarter of the year and enjoyed it.

Once a month does not sound that much, but combined with the other habits I am trying to establish, I am wary of overloading myself.

Hopefully I can do more, but I don't want to undo my last couple of years work on slowing down by establishing a habit that I end up finding causes too much work.
This was great for May. The key will be if I can continue through winter as I tend to hibernate a little.