Life is full of natural cycles. In fact, life itself is just one big cycle as we move from birth to death and new life succeeds us. As a planner and journaling aficionado, I love to take advantage of natural transition points to give my life structure and forward motion.
The space between the end of a month and the beginning of another is one such transition point. It’s a nice time to take a moment, tidy up your mind and physical space, and start fresh. Perfect for a monthly reset routine.
I follow this rough monthly reset checklist to prepare myself and my workspace for a new chapter.
Step 1: Get Ready
It’s hard to properly reset when you are faced with physical clutter. The first thing I do is clean up my workspace. I have been loosely following a weekly cleaning routine, so I don’t have much to address at the end of the month, but there are always little stragglers that get missed in the day-to-day.
Papers will collect on my desk, or I’ll have a small pile of shipping boxes that I never broke down for the recycling. It takes me about ten minutes to scan the area, return things to their proper place, and give the desk top a quick wipe for dust.
If your workspace is a little more messy, that’s totally fine. Take the time you need to reset your space before you reset your mind.
Step 2: Review
Before you can start planning for a new month, you have to make sure everything from the previous month has been closed, all loose ends have been woven in, and nothing is left hanging.
Tasks and Goals
Look through your journal, planner, Notion, or any other media you use for keeping track of your goals. Make sure all the tasks you have completed are checked off. Is there anything that needs to get done before the new month starts? Is there anything that needs to be migrated over?
I like to take this time to see how my longer-term goals are coming along. Checking in on quarterly or yearly goals every month can help you find places where you are falling behind, or even ahead of schedule.
If you don’t have a budget, you should make one! Budgeting is a great way to get control of your money. Figure out where your hard-earned cash is going each month and make sure you’re directing it toward the things that support your goals.
I use an budgeting app called Mint that tracks transactions automatically, but I still need to check on my budgets and ensure that the transactions are getting categorized correctly. At the end of the month I will run through all the transactions and make sure they got put in the correct buckets.
I’ll also shift money between my budgets to make sure I am not going over budget in any one category. For example, if I managed to keep my food spending low (ha, ha) but I went over on entertainment, I may shift some of that “food” money over to the entertainment category.
By checking in on my budgets at least once every month, I am always aware when an unexpected auto-charge occurs, or when I have been spending too much on food delivery and need to cut back to stay on target.
Social Metrics or Business Analytics
If you are working as a content creator or running a business, the monthly reset is a great time to dig into your analytics and see what you can do to maintain or improve your results. Look at what types of content or products have earned the most. Can you put more of your efforts into that kind of product in the next month? Similarly, observe where things have performed poorly. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there.
Step 3: Prepare
Once you have a clean workspace and an understanding of where you are with all of your projects and goals, it’s time to prepare for next month!
I like to start by adding reminders to the calendar in my Passion Planner. I make this fun by using stickers, and I add reminders for everything I know I will need to know about in the next month:
Scheduled Twitch streams or content deadlines
Paydays and bills due
Appointments, vacation days, social dates
Weekly task reminders (I do this for content planning and meal prep)
It really helps to have this overview of the upcoming month so you can move on to the next step, which is to update your goals, projects, and tasks.
I currently follow a quarterly goal-setting plan that is broken down by week (the 12 Week Year), so I do these goal check-ins every week rather than every month, but the process can be adapted to fit your timeline.
I have already reviewed my goals in the previous step, so I know what I’m currently working on. The first thing I do is migrate over anything that is in-flight. Then, I fill in my weekly task list by breaking down all of my quarterly goals.
Similar to goal-setting in the Edison app, one by one, I ask myself “how can I make progress on this goal in the next week (or month)?” I break things down into pieces that I can accomplish within one day, and I assign these to a day of the week. In Notion, where I keep most of my goal planning these days, I can plot these out on a weekly board and see everything at a glance. It’s really nice, and helps me avoid scheduling too much for a single day. I can drag these tasks onto a new day to reschedule them at any time.
Step 4: Take Action
That’s the monthly reset! After this, all I need to do is... the work. The weekly task list tells me what I need to be working on so I’m never lost or confused. I have a path and I just need to start running. Sometimes, this is the hardest part, but I believe in me and I believe in you.
If you find that you’re still facing a lot of resistance, or that it’s hard to get the work done, try breaking it into even smaller pieces. Try making the tasks so small that they almost feel silly.
There’s no task too small if it gets you moving.
If you’d like to follow along as I complete this monthly reset checklist myself, you can find a video here that does exactly that.