This is going to be a different kind of blog post. Typically when I sit down to write, something from everyday life grabs me – from fog to a game of Connect Four, the ordinary inspires me with practical wisdom. Perhaps it actually is the ordinary that grabbed me once again, this time – the calendar. Stunned by the realization that February is almost over, I have to ask – Can you believe that in less than a week it’s March? When I look back over the past few weeks, I can’t help but notice how easy it has been for motivation to hibernate. Oh we start the year ambitious, filled with grand ideas of what we’re going to do differently this year. “This will be our year,” we say. Whether we name our goals “resolutions” or just internalize a change we want to make, it’s amazing that just two months many of us, me included, are already struggling to make steady progress.

Recently I realized how my progress has stalled for a few of my goals. Distracted by life, it simply happened. Talking to a few friends, I quickly realized that I’m not alone. In fact, I have lots of good company. Rather than let another month slip by, I decided it was time to get back on track. Looking ahead to March, I created structured a calendar to ensure my priorities get the necessary attention over the next several weeks so that by this time next month I will have tangible progress to show for my efforts. If “structure” scares you, take a deep breath and hang in there for a little bit longer. You’ll see I found an easy way to help us both get on track or stay on track. Here’s how it works:

5 Steps to Jump Start Your Progress:

1. Pray over your priorities and goals so that you are pursuing the right ones.

I’ve heard it said “Stop asking God to bless what you are doing and do what He’s blessing.” Where is God nudging you to growth or action? Make sure it’s captured in your priorities and goals.

2. Identify two to three main priorities or goals for the month.

Be sure these are achievable. For example if you’re goal is to lose weight, setting a goal of 1 – 2 pounds a week is far more realistic than 5 pounds a week. Or, if your goal is to write a book this year, maybe you take the month of March to commit to completing your proposal. Consider the time you have to realistically commit to your goals without compromising other priorities including your spouse or children.

3. Identify weekly goals that support the larger monthly goal.

Continuing with the example of writing a book proposal – perhaps you choose to write a chapter each of the first three weeks of the month and then use the fourth week to outline each of the remaining chapters and write your market analysis. Or if losing weight is your goal, a weekly goal could identify how many days of the week you plan to head to the gym or try new healthy recipes. The sum of all your weeks’ goals should add up to success of your monthly goals.

4. Schedule appointment blocks on days of the week to achieve your weekly goals.

After considering your family and work commitments, create time blocks on your calendar necessary to achieve your weekly goals. Don’t over commit yourself and block of every night to accomplish your goal, but allow for your family’s routines to be considered. Maybe you plan to work on your goal(s) on a particular night of the week or for an hour each morning. I set my alarm early and work on my goals from 5-7am before I head to work for the day. Find what works for you. Mark your calendar and treat the time as you would an appointment. The sum of your daily appointment blocks should add up to success of your weekly goals.

5. Follow your calendar!

It won’t work if you don’t implement it. Don’t allow distractions to move your pre-scheduled time blocks. If you absolutely must move one due to a family obligation, reschedule it before you miss it. Try to make your appointments when they can be immovable. Soon your family and friends will know your schedule. But, they’ll only respect the time blocks if you do.

Sound easy? Why not join me during the month of March. You can download your copy of the March Calendar I’ve created here. I look forward to hearing what you plan to do in March. And, be sure to check back and let me know how this plan works for you. I want to hear from you!

With my new found structure, I’ve committed to posting a new blog post each Tuesday. Join me next week when I share the valuable life lesson I learned from radio static.