Because I am a Planner Girl, I love to Plan. And because I love to Plan, I love Goals. I love making Lists, like New Year’s Resolutions, and figuring out a plan or system for how to acheive those goals. INTJ personality type here! I totally nerd-out when it comes to these things. Nothing feels better than checking off a box of a task completed or a goal reached! (Okay, I can think of a few things in life that are better, but those things are not what this particular post is about.) Stay with me here.
If you were to take a look at me and my lifestyle before and after I really became a Planner Girl, I am certain you would see the difference. While I’ve always loved organizational things and “school supplies” if you will, now that I’ve found the Planning System that works best for me, I’m able to put that to use in my life. Before it was to-do lists written randomly on my collection of notebooks or notepads or scribbled on a dry erase board – without much thought or intention. Those tasks may or may not actually have gotten done. Who knows? It was all too random. No goals to work towards or a plan in place to make actual changes happen – just random tasks with no order or strategy.
Don’t get me wrong- I’ve always been a girl who had a planner. From those little monthly calendars you can get from the dollar store to pre-made spiral agendas (spiral – never again for me!), sketch books that I literally made into my own planner (gosh, it was so ugly), Moleskine Bullet Journals, Traveler’s Notebooks (which I still love for archives), etc. I have just found that The Happy Planner is what works for me. It’s the longest I’ve stuck with any type of planner. (Since July 2016!) I love that I can customize it and make it my own, but that those components I need already exist. I can just purchase them (a little at a time, with a coupon, of course) until I get all that I need and put it together. It just works for me! Another thing that I think is a big component of why I love and use it so much is that it’s beautiful. There are so many different styles and varieties of the Happy Planner that deciding which one to get is the hardest part. I think that when something is pretty, it makes you want to look at it. It’s why I’ve begun decorating my planner even more – Give me all the washi and pretty handwriting! And no, this is not a sponsored blog post for the Happy Planner. I just really love it!
So with all that said… now, let me share with you how I use my planner to reach my goals and be more intentional. It’s why you’re here, right?
- Yearly Planning: Start with the Big Picture for the Year by writing New Year’s Resolutions and Goals. You can do this by just having a brain dump onto paper of all of the ideas that you have. Think about the different hats that you wear in your life and come up with one or two ways you’d like to improve this year in those categories. This is all about being more intentional and becoming a better you than you were last year. You CAN do this! You can read my previous posts and use S.M.A.R.T. or W.H.O.O.P.I.E. to help you set some goals for yourself. Just by writing down your goals, studies show that you are more likely to actually acheive them!
- Monthly Planning: Once you have your Big Picture of your Year and maybe even a Word of the Year to focus on, it’s time to break it down into months. For each big goal – you have 12 months or 12 different steps you can take to reach this goal. Think of it like building blocks. Instead of starting a new diet, going to the gym every day, drinking more water, and taking the stairs all in January, just choose one of those to really focus on for the month. Track it for the month, and then add another thing in February. You might find that you are more successful this way, and you might see that you naturally just want to make more healthy choices anyway, without much thought.
So go ahead and get your plan in place. Take each big goal you have and break them down. Focus on one at a time. Another option would be to choose just 4 big goals for the year and do one per quarter. All of your goals may not have “12 steps” where you will do one thing per month.
For example – If your goal is “Get Closer to God”, don’t just leave it at that. Make a list of steps you will take so that you are intentional to make that happen. Realize that God is doing His part already – He’s ready and willing to meet with you every day, and He’s just waiting for you to show up.
Some examples of how you can do your part to reach this goal….
Step one – Establish the habit of Morning Quiet Time & Bible Reading… Use a monthly calendar to track this habit. Draw a small symbol or color in a box every day that you do it. See how many consecutive days you can get. Do it, no matter what, until it becomes a habit for you and a part of your identity. Think of it like an appointment you have set up each day, like you would with anyone else. Go to bed earlier. Have a snack and a quiet activity available for your kids. Set your alarm a little bit earlier. Prep the coffee the night before. Clear the chair and area you plan to sit. Think about all of the obstacles beforehand and plan a way to overcome them.
Step Two – Handwrite a scripture from your daily Bible reading that speaks to you. A planner with horizontal lines is perfect for this. It’s how I will be using mine.
Step Three – Create a prayer journal so you can intentionally pray for your life and the needs of those around you. Again, use a monthly tracker to track the days you do this until it becomes a habit. Seeing it on a calendar gives you a big picture view of your progress.
Go ahead and plug your goals into your planner if it helps you to do that. I use my monthly pages to write down my specific goals for that particular month. That way it’s easy to focus on and keep track of my progress. You can do this for any goal that you set – they just may be broken down in different ways. Find what works for you!
- Weekly Planning: Next, you’ll break down your planning into Weeks. Look at your monthly calendar to see what you have going on this week as you get ready for your week. If you are using a weekly spread in a planner, be sure to carry all of your events, appointments, birthdays, and holidays over to your weekly spread. Add in any little notes of things you need to bring to these events or ways that you need to prepare for them. At this point you can take the monthly goals and habits you are working and focusing on and plug them into your planner, or you can save this for your daily planning. I usually will write “Weekly Priorities” and appointments only on my weekly spread in the “Notes” section, and save the specific tasks for my daily planning, but what you do is up to you.
- Daily Planning: When planning your Days, in my opinion, it’s best to do it one day at a time. While I may fill in the things that will not change such as events or appointments in advance, for the most part, I only write tasks for today or tomorrow at most. I use the bullet journal style for daily task lists. Every task listed has a check box where they get an “X” as they are completed. If they do not get completed, I carry them over to the next day’s list with a “>” to show that it has been carried over from a previous day, and I also put a “>” in the box on the current day to show that it didn’t get completed, but I moved it over. That way I won’t see an empty box and look at it again, but I will see it when I need to. I also like to prioritize 1-3 tasks that REALLY NEED TO BE DONE TODAY. My daily pages have had a section at the top for this, but my new Trendsetter daily tasks page will not, so instead, I will add 1-3 stars beside the checkboxes for the day so that I can see what I really need to focus on doing. (I hope that this all makes sense. I think that a video would be much better for explaning this more thoroughly. Maybe one day soon, I’ll get to that – but the thought makes me really nervous.)
So that’s it! Now it’s time for you to write down your own goals for yourself and get a plan in place to make them happen! You still have a few days before the New Year begins so that you can start it out with intentionality and purpose. This is going to be a great year! Let’s be goal-getters!