How I Set Monthly Goals

About six months ago, I began a practice that changed how I live: monthly goal setting. Since then, I have begun living more on purpose -- I stopped feeling like life was just "happening" to me. I treat myself better, I love people better, I am less stressed. I invest in my current and future self. Setting goals helps me to tangibly step in the direction of the life I want to live and the person I want to be every single day!

I hope you'll join me in this endeavor because today I am sharing just how I set monthly goals. It's not a quick one-size-fits-all operation, but I assure you the process is well worth it.


Brainstorming is the first way to outline what you need to be doing better or differently in your life. I do this by considering five categories and a corresponding question with each. I like to read the questions, mull them over for a day, then create a brainstorming page. Here are the categories I use and questions I ask myself:

1. SELF-CARE | mental + physical well-being
"What do I need to do to feel my best mentally and physically?"

Some examples from this category:
Write down three things I am grateful for every day
Meditate four times a week
Include veggies with each meal
Remember to take my daily vitamin
Work out x number of times a week

And I always include: "make sure to actually track goals" as a goal in this section!

2. LEARNING | school + self-betterment
"How can I learn more and learn well?"

Some examples from this category: 
Stay off my phone during class
Read a non-school related book
Practice writing each day
Go to one review session a week
Watch one TED Talk or lecture a week

3. LOVED ONES | family, friends, and everyone
"How can I show up for those I love?"

Some examples from this category:
Call my grandma once a week
Send snail mail to a friend each week
Say hi to someone new every day
Help someone daily

4. FAITH | pursuing a relationship with God
"How can I be a better daughter of God responding to a love that I know?"

Some examples from this category:
Go to weekly Bible Study
Write in my prayer journal daily
Invite a friend to mass
Pray a decade of the rosary each day

5. TIME, MONEY, ENERGY | spending all three wisely
"How can I allocate my resources in an intentional and smart way?"

Some examples from this category:
Look ahead for each week to avoid procrastinating
Track spending
Set a monthly budget
Stop worrying about things out of your control
Spend 1 hour or less on social media a day


The next thing I do in this process is to look at the goals I have brainstormed and decide what is most important at the current moment. I choose anywhere from 1-5 goals from each category based off of what I think I can handle! Make sure not to overload yourself or all of your goals will suffer. It's okay to remove a goal as the month goes on if it gets to be too much to handle.

I'll then move on to creating my goal tracking sheet. To do this, I'll write the category, then the goal, and then a "say no" statement. For example, I would write, "Self care" then under it "Remember to track goals" and then under that "Say no to setting empty intentions."

The reason I include a "say no" statement under most goals is because setting goals can feel overwhelming and like a huge undertaking. But if you think of it as saying no to some things so that you can say yes to other things that serve you better, the goals will feel much more attainable.

Tracking your goals is just as important as setting them. To do this, I draw a "progress bar" instead of a checkbox for each week of the month. On Sundays, I fill in the bar to correspond with how well I followed through, or how often I attempted to follow through, with my goal. If your goal has a numerical correlation, like a number of times you worked out or amount of money you spent, write it in the progress box.

And that's all...

I hope this post was helpful to get you on track to setting your own goals. It's changed my life-- now go change yours!

Let me know in the comments: do you set monthly goals or intentions? What has been your most life-changing so far?

Stay Sunny,

The Most Fun Jumpsuit Ever

I can say without a doubt that this jumpsuit is the most FUN piece of clothing I've ever put on my body. And for good reason-- would you look at those ruffles!? I can hardly keep from smiling whenever I'm wearing it. I paired it with my trusty platform espadrilles (on sale here) to make the ruffles even flowier. I added simple gold hoops to not draw any attention away from the jumpsuit.

I love this jumpsuit because it feels so "me." When we dress for ourselves and our personalities, it can make us feel unstoppable. It reminds me of the reason I fell in love with fashion in the first place -- because it can be used in service of honoring and portraying my true self!


Stay sunny,

Behind The Blog Post

Social media is weird. When it comes down to it, we all are much too familiar with VSCO filters, face tune, texting our friends for caption ideas, and re-taking a photo 67 times. But as we consume media, whether it’s looking at blogs or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, we take what we see at face value. We make assumptions that others don’t go to the same lengths as us for the ‘gram. We assume that the photo and the person’s body hasn’t been edited and that capturing the image was effortless.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is almost never the case. Especially in the blogging realm, photo shoots have a lot of difficult and un-camera-ready moments behind the scenes. As a blogger, it’s my job to create refined and aesthetically pleasing images. However, this doesn’t mean that I want people to think that it comes easy to me, that I’m perfectly styled every moment of the day, or that I’m always doing something blog-worthy. My hope with this post is to show you the typical effort that goes into a blog photoshoot and to help shatter the misconception that the images you see on social media are true to real life. I'll be giving the behind the scenes of a photoshoot where we shot this post and this post, because the situation was not as glamorous as the photos make it seem!


5:00 - Head to Whole Foods to buy sunflowers
5:30 - Take the plastic wrap off of the flowers, then wrap them in a brown paper bag for that #farmfresh vibe
6:00 - Shower, blow dry my hair and start getting ready
6:30 - Do my makeup and straighten my hair
7:20 - Pack the car with three outfits, shoes, jewelry, a picnic blanket (which was actually a scarf), and flowers

7:30 - Drive over to Rachel’s house, jamming music the whole way to get myself pumped
7:40 - Arrive at Rachel’s (I was supposed to get there at 7:30 and I’m embarrassed to say that 10 minutes late is the earliest I’ve ever been to a shoot...)
7:45 - (90 minutes until sunset) We arrive at our location, none other than a local NURSING HOME.
7:47 - I change into my dress and shoes in the back of Rachel’s car, hoping not to flash any elderly people. The dress zipper got STUCK so it's literally unzipped in all of the photos from behind!
7:52 - We literally SPRINT down the street to get to the nursing home lawn that we want to shoot in
7:55 - Stage the picnic area
8:20 - Finish shooting in the lawn and neighborhood
8:22 - Change into my next look while Rachel drives to the next location
8:30 - Finish shooting look #2
8:35 - Change and HYDRATE
8:45 - Finish shooting look #3 (our final look) with 15 minutes to spare before sunset!

A couple days later...
Rachel finishes editing the photos! While we choose to never edit my face or body (there’s quite enough of that in media already), she does things that are way beyond my capability to make sure the lighting, coloring, and shadows of the photos are perfect.

Next time you're looking at social media, just remember that the photo...
...isn't as effortless it seems!

Bloggers: I want to hear from you! Tell me your funny behind the scenes moments :-)

Stay Sunny,

Photos by Rachel Issler