My ‘project’ for 2021 is a focus on health and wellbeing, and as part of the plan I will be monitoring progress through monthly reviews, which I’ll share here.

Monitoring should not be confused with evaluation – these monthly updates are not an assessment of whether or not my annual plan is a success or failure. Monitoring is to check the planned actions are being done, that the immediate effects of these actions are still contributing towards the overall goal and that the actions can be achieved with the planned resources. I’m using these monthly monitoring posts to see if there are any mini-corrections I need to make, such as altering the action/goal or committing more or less resources. I can also see if there is a particular area I need to lean into.

When reporting monitoring on projects I like to use a traffic light system. It’s simple to communicate but also simple to assess. I read a great post from ‘Live Well by Alison’ that describes an approach to healthy eating using a ‘good/sometimes OK’, ‘better’ ‘best’ system. I really like the simplicity and positivity of the system, and the way that it avoids the tendency to strive for perfection.

I’ve decided to use it when monitoring my health and wellbeing habits, so red = ok, yellow = better and green = best. Importantly, ‘best’ is not 100% for the month, but more of a 80/20 rule which is much more achievable and reasonable.

Exercise – This month I’ve been super consistent, running 5km twice a week without fail. I’ve got into a really good rhythm of leaving work a bit early on Mondays and Fridays because I’ve noticed these are days where I’m less likely to feel the need to stay late. This consistency has translated into better fitness, I’ve noticed that I can comfortably run the 5km within 30 minutes each time now. It’s made me consider whether I need to stretch my measure for this year and try and get up to 10km.

Diet – As our kitchen has not been fully functional this month, diet has slipped a bit. I’m still eating good breakfast (banana) and lunch (pre-made soup, yoghurt and fruit), but evening meals have been a bit hit and miss with more take-aways than I’d like. I’m not beating myself up too much though, as soon as we have our kitchen back I’m confident that my diet will be back on track as I’m actually craving healthier options!

Flossing – This habit has dropped to almost nothing. My evening routine is a bit disrupted because of the kitchen/evening meal workaround which then has a knock-on effect. Next month I’ll be working hard to re-establish how I prepare for bed, which for me is best started when I’ve finished my last cup of tea for the night but before I’m too tired to do anything.

Organisation – So far this year, organisation has only been red or orange and I’ve never quite defined what I would consider green. An organised home/stuff is not attainable right now, so I’m going to stick to having an organised Trello board and keeping my to-do list down to a handful of items (it will never be zero!). Perfect would be if I could plan ahead more for things like entertainment, hobbies and self-care trips and treats, however I don’t need to do these things to achieve ‘green’ status.

Stress induction – This only counts the things I have as actual (not perceived) commitments, which at the moment are my job and house renovation. I’ve decided to make this orange rather than the red it’s been all year because although I don’t have room for extra things I can cope with this amount of accountability.

Stress reduction – My ‘green’ status for stress reduction is to do two things per month that are only for myself and give me some time out to reflect or relax. In June I attended a day of training for personal development, and did a breathwork session. If you’ve never tried breathwork, I would highly recommend it. It can be a bit emotional and exhausting at the time, but afterwards I felt a much greater clarity of mind.

How are your 2021 goals tracking? I’d love to hear how you are going in the comments!

May’s update can be found here

April’s update can be found here

March’s update can be found here

February’s update can be found here.