How to make successful daily steps forward using good habits with your planner

Let’s break the title of this article down into manageable sections.

“How to…” – I do not claim to be an expert at productivity.  The opposite is true, actually. I am very well versed in the art of failure and as a result, have learned numerous ways of how to and how not to do things.  My aim is to show you how to move forward with your goals using a planner.

“…successful…” – After much trial and error, I have learned that the first step to success in setting and reaching goals is identifying the end result.  I set values-based SMART goals which allow me to able to focus in on the tasks I set for myself.  Who am I?  What do I believe?  What do I stand for? Hopefully, you have identified those values for yourself.  Assuming you have, you need to ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?”  Be specific. How will you know when you have achieved it? Set a standard by which you will measure your progress. Document your starting point. Once you have identified your starting point and your end goal, ask yourself, “Is this attainable?” Are you able to reach this goal in one effort or do you need to break it down into smaller goals? Is this a realistic goal to work towards? Or do you need to gain additional skills or resources before you can start working towards it?  What is the timeline for reaching this goal? When do you want to reach this objective? Remember, a goal without a deadline is a daydream.

“…daily…” – Repetition is key.  Once you have established your goals it is easy to determine if you should begin a certain project or not.  Will it help you reach your values-based goals? If yes, it is time to identify the daily tasks that will create momentum and do them.

“…steps forward…” –  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

“…good habits…” – Whether you realize it or not, you are already engaged in habits.  And while they may not be BAD for you, they may or not be serving your purpose of helping you achieve your goals.  Each time to watch television or eat a meal or sit down at your computer, ask yourself, “Is this helping me reach my goal?”  If the answer is yes, repeat it daily. If the answer is no, stop doing the thing that is standing between you and your goals and replace it with one that will help you reach them.  

“…planner.” – Show me your calendar and I will tell you what your values are.  A planner is more than a calendar. A planner houses your calendar, for deadline specific events and tasks, and your project management system.  Project management can be as simple as a list of to-dos for your annual spring cleaning or as elaborate as a forecast and analysis of your instances of headaches to days of rainfall.  Planning systems and styles are unique to each individual, but I have identified the two major categories of planners based on learning styles: left and right brain. Most people are either a logical list-making, left-brain planner or an intuitive, creator-designer, right-brain planner. Some are a combination of the two and utilize what I call a “Bilateral Planning” approach.  I use this style of planning and it has revolutionized my life…this is not an understatement! Seems simple, but you would be surprised how many people struggle with using a planner to organize their hopes, dreams, and wishes into actionable projects. If you think you would benefit from bilateral planning, check out my YouTube to learn more.

For the sake of this article, let’s set a SMART, values-based goal.

“I will let ten pounds go by summer.”  

One of my values is to be healthy, strong and flexible. The goal is specific.  It is measurable, as I can stand on my scale and record my starting weight and in 3 months, at the end of my timeline I will stand on the scale again and record my progress.   Since summer is 3 months away, this is an attainable goal and realistic because I do have ten pounds I could give to the universe. (Notice I didn’t say lose, because I have no intention of finding these ten pounds after they’re gone.)  Now what? Pray that the scale moves in three months? No! I must set a plan of action in place and create tasks to help me in my endeavor. I will call this my Summer Body Project (“Body”).

Within the project section of my planner, I will have a section tabbed “Body” in that section I will list out all the actions that will need to take place in order to reach my goal.  

  • Diet – What kinds of food will I/won’t I eat?  How often will I eat? Will I intermittently fast?
  • Exercise – What kind of physical activity will I participate in? How many days a week?
  • Rest – When will I schedule my body time to recover?

Once I have determined all the components necessary to reach my stated goal, I will add at least one task to my calendar, daily.  At the end of each day, I will review how I did and what worked for me/what didn’t and either repeat the days action or make an improvement.  At the end of each week, I will gauge the outcome of my efforts and decide how I can improve for the following week. When I reach my deadline, I will evaluate my progress.  Did I reach my goal? Did I fall short? Did I surpass it? What will I do moving forward?

What planning and organizational style do you employ to manage goals in your planner?  Tag me (@theorganizedmiss) on social media with your goal planner and use the hashtag #bilateralplanning!  

Happy Planning!  

Need a way to track your health and wellness goals? Check out how I track my fitness goals!

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