Like many things that shifted as I approached 40, I started craving routines with more substance. More oomph. More spark. I wanted to deepen the connection between intention and action.
Actually, I wanted to deepen the connection with my own soul.
I love to plan, and my monthly setup has been a favorite routine for a long time. It helps me connect my big-picture goals and my daily actions. I’ve always infused intention setting in the process, but suddenly, that wasn’t enough.
I believe there’s a type of overwhelm that goes far beyond the tasks crying out for our attention. It’s like our essential selves are being pulled apart, the pieces caught up in a hurricane swirling around us. It’s not about lists or goals or even intentions; it’s about anchoring, and calling the pieces of ourselves back in. The beautiful thing about this swirl is that it becomes a perfect opportunity to release whatever needs to be released. Let it blow away, making the core stronger.
And so, my monthly setup morphed to become a treasured touchstone—even a lifeline—through shaky, quaky seasons, and now I offer it to you, with love.
Who are you becoming? What life are you creating? Picture it.
Select a handful of words or phrases you want to focus on in the coming month, then find images on Pinterest that evoke those feelings. Sometimes it feels like work to find the right words or images, but I find this process allows me to start swimming in my intentions before the month even begins. And at the end you have a compact package that will support you in directing your focus and integrating those carefully chosen qualities into your month.
What do you want more of? Where do you want to go deeper?
I call this section the monthly summary. Remember CliffsNotes?* The summary is like that, but for your entire mind, soul, and spirit.
This is where you can take all of the coaching, the reading, the journaling, the affirmations, and the inspiration that are currently resonating with you, and distill them down to a page or two… or three.
Let me be honest, this will become exactly as overwhelming as you allow it to be. I’ve discovered it’s an exercise in tuning into my intuition and allowing things to naturally refine themselves over time. Take the pressure off, you can easily edit it.
*Allegedly the students are using SparkNotes these days. I’m trying to keep up…
What will you integrate? What will you practice?
This is your personal implementation guide for the month. This is where we shift hard into practical steps. The vision board is conceptual. The monthly summary is more concrete, but still a thought exercise. The implementation guide is straight-up, “here’s what I’m committing to do about what I’m learning.”
It’s where you can capture the ideas and insight that caught your attention and allow them to change your life.
Sometimes this is extremely practical. For example, I’ve been reading up on heart health, and I was surprised to learn that flossing your teeth is important for heart heath. It turns out it’s vital for brain health, too. That was enough to get me to commit. For some reason, protecting my teeth wasn’t motivating enough, but my desire to be mentally sharp when I’m 80 and to keep my heart healthy was compelling.
The good news is that we don’t need to overthink this. These days, many books provide implementation guides. Coaches and therapists give homework. Even podcasts frequently give us practical steps.
When in doubt, I love to give myself journal prompts for the month. I’ll notice quotes that spark something in me, and I’ll capture them here so I can dive deeper into why they are resonating so deeply with me. Keeping these on my radar all month allows me to uncover insights I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
It takes real work to set yourself up like this, but I promise, if you are in a season of growth, reflection, or change, it will pay off all month long. It will help you navigate with intention and purpose. It may even become the map you return to over and over again.
If you try it, I’d love to hear what you’re choosing to focus on. Drop a comment below or tag me on Instagram @beccarusinko so I can cheer you on!