Setting Up a New Month in your Planner

Starting a new month in your planner is a fresh start and time to refocus on any goals you’ve set for yourself or maybe got off-track the month before. Here’s a snapshot at how I set up a new month and some other examples for inspiration!

New month, who dis?

So, I’m always excited to start a new month because that means setting up my monthly dashboard and thinking about goal-setting. Last year, when I got my first Erin Condren Life Planner, I did not take advantage of these notes pages and didn’t think much about those “monthly goal” circles. It seemed too final and/or too much work to write down – in pen, no less – what I was going to work on or focus on (and if we’re being honest, I was not willing to be that introspective).

This year, when I was moving into my Plum Paper Planner, I knew I just couldn’t bear to leave them blank. I also have done a lot of work to have a more focused outlook on my life and really be in control of who I am and who I want to be. (Side Note: this is my shameless and unsponsored plug of all things Rachel Hollis because I swear to Jesus that she seriously changed my outlook on self-development and personal growth, and I just admire her so much. Read/listen to Girl, Wash Your Face & Girl, Stop Apologizing and you will see what I mean!) It gets easier each month that I do it, but it does take some time to really narrow down what it is that you want to work on and what you’re going to work towards.

So, what is a dashboard?

A dashboard is the thicker cardboard/plastic divider at the beginning of a planner or bullet journal. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning, but that’s the most common place. You can also use them as dividers between sections or months or weeks. It’s kind of a versatile term for a divider of some kind. I’ve seen all kinds. I have one I bought from Erin Condren that is a meal planner that I move week to week in my planner, but now it mostly just collects sticky notes of things I don’t want to forget about but don’t require immediate action. See?

I think of a dashboard as like a home base for each month in my planner. I group the monthly goals page with the first notes page and treat that as my monthly dashboard, a landing page, and it’s highly functional. Some are more inspirational, with a favorite quote or something to motivate you, while some are more decorative, but that’s the best part – you do you. You can do it however you want, and you can design it to suit your own needs.

What do you mean “functional”?

I’m someone who is anal enough to enjoy tracking behavior. Also, tracking makes me feel like I am in control of things I actually have no control over, so there’s some weird information about me that you can analyze and come to whatever conclusion you’d like. 🤣

So, I map out each behavior or “thing” I’m going to keep track of each month and those usually overlap with the three goals identified on the left side page. For the most part, the items on the right have stayed pretty consistent, but I’ve rotated a couple of them out as my focus changes.

For instance, earlier this year, I more concerned with monitoring how much sleep I was getting because it had a direct correlation with my own mental health and stability as I was working through all of that postpartum stuff. I still track that, along with my step count, in the week so I can see just how much sleep I’m getting, but I was looking to identify overall trends, and this was a helpful way to see how my sleep was doing. Once I was getting more sleep, I went from hoping to get more than 6 hours of sleep a night to more than 7 hours of sleep a night, and now that’s pretty consistent, so I don’t feel like I need to monitor the overarching month for trends since that’s really leveled out.

What kind of stuff do you track?

Well, I’m glad you asked! You can track all kinds of stuff!! For instance, right now, the items written down for August in my planner include:

  • Prayer/Gratitude Journaling
  • Don’t Lose My Shit
  • Glimpse at Grace Activity
  • Move My Body for 30 Minutes
  • At Least 10k Steps
  • 1/2 My Body Weight in Ounces of Water
  • Period
  • Encouragement

But, you can totally track so, so, so many things! I’ve included a list of habit trackers I found on Instagram that may inspire you! (Instagram tends to be more helpful for inspiration when it comes to my planner than Pinterest.)

Inspiration & Examples:

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January Notes Page

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