Okay, so, you have your aesthetic planner, you have the colourful pens, washi tape and you even invested in creative stickers. You’ve gathered all of the right supplies with the intention to overall your life, get organized, and be more productive to smash your goals.
But: you struggle with consistency. Or maybe you just keep forgetting to open your planner every day. Well, you have come to the right place! This blog will guide you with tangible tips to truly stick to your planner habit and improve your life.
What Is the Importance of Habit Building?
We have famous psychologist William James to thank for some of the earliest research into habits–way back in the 1800s. William James determined that our daily routine is just a bundle of habits. From that morning coffee or tea to brushing your teeth, it’s all a set of activities that make us feel productive and well.
Habits are very good for our health and wellbeing. They support us in reaching and maintaining various goals such as exercising regularly, managing health conditions, improving new skills, and, of course, planning!
Taking the time to focus and build habits, will inspire you to do the things you need to do while keeping you on track and motivated.
Once good habits are learned, repeated, and acquired, they begin to start automatically.
How Long Does It Take To Build a Habit?
Consistency is all about repetition. When you hold yourself accountable with the repetition of using your planner, it will eventually become a habit–a very healthy habit. However, it does take time and dedication to build it.
You may have heard the idea that it takes 21 days of consistency and routine to build new habits. Well, myth-busting time! This idea is completely false! The truth is that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to create a new habit, with the average person needing 66 days for the new behaviour to become automatic.
So, if it takes you longer than 21 days to get into planning, do not beat yourself up. It’s completely normal and is scientifically backed to take longer. There is no right or wrong timeline for you to build your new planning habit, just the timeline that works for you and that you don’t stop trying! You do not have to be perfect and making a mistake or missing a day of planning does not have to be looked at as a failure.
Understanding it can take longer than 21 days to form your new planning habit, helps you to humanize the process and understand it’s all about the journey. You have to embrace the process and try to enjoy it.
Why Is Using a Planner a Good Habit?
Of course, there are good habits and bad habits. You will be happy to know that starting a new habit is considered a heck of a lot easier than quitting a bad one! This means no excuses!
Before sharing all of the various benefits of planning, I invite you to reflect on why you purchased your planning materials in the first place.
Did you buy it to track a specific goal, such as a fitness goal, a reading goal, a career goal or a financial goal?
Did you buy it to get more organized in your week or month?
Did you buy it to create new healthy habits?
Did you buy it to help control your anxiety?
Did you buy it to feel more in control of your parenting?
Did you buy it to get back on track with your creative side?
There are likely multiple reasons why you felt driven to purchase the planner, so spend time to reflect and remember them. Then, write the reasons down–all of them. You may have multiple reasons, which is great. Finding your reasons will reignite your motivation and inspiration for using your planner!
There are so many benefits to regularly using a planner. These benefits include:
- You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
- You can reduce your anxiety and invite less stress into your life when you write things down, as it can help to declutter your mind.
- You can be more creative.
- You can improve your time management skills, which is a transferable skill in many areas of life including at work.
- You can increase your sense of purpose.
- You can track your habits, from everything to sleep to steps in a day.
- You can have reliable records for whatever you need.
Ways to Stick With a Planner Habit
This blog is all about getting on the path to properly sticking to your planner habit. I have curated 10 tips that I really believe in and that I hope will help you!
1. Schedule your time for planning
Sometimes, it feels like I blink and it's already Friday! Does anyone else have that feeling?! This is why it is so important to be intentional about your planning time. Depending on your responsibilities, career, and favourite time of day, schedule out a time you can have alone for planning. If you’re a morning person, why not set your alarm 15 minute earlier? Or, why not have a productive lunch break with a lunchtime planning session? Fridays after work can also be a great moment to do some planning ahead of your weekend. Sundays are also a special day, as they can set you up positively for the week ahead.
2. Start small
When you’re building a new habit, you don’t want it to be too overwhelming or else it can be easy to let it go. So, start small! Start a timer on your phone for 2 minutes and just keep writing in your planner until the timer goes off. Then, go up to 5-, 8- and 10-minutes week by week.
3. Keep your planner visible
“Out of sight out of mind,” does really happen! So, don’t allow yourself to forget about your planner and stick to it by keeping your planner in very visible locations. Depending on your personality and where you spend time, you could keep it on your bedside table, your kitchen table, the coffee table–and so on! I also highly recommend throwing your planner in your bag or purse to take it with you on the go for when the inspiration hits.
4. Make it fun
When you actually enjoy something, you are going to want to do it more, right!? The same goes with planning. You don’t need to have a boring planner full of just appointments and tasks. Instead, add joy to your planner by adding plenty of colour, motivational quotes, and of course, beautiful stickers. I have a wide arrange of stickers and I promise you will find a pack that will be relevant to your life from Mom Life stickers to the Wild Life sticker pack. Your agenda is yours and yours alone, so you can do whatever the heck you want to do with it! Don’t worry about what you think your planner “should” look like but just have a good time with it. Pinterest is a great place to look if you are drawing a blank on where to start and need some inspiration with your blank planner canvas.
5. Schedule in time for you
Similar to tip #4, don’t ever forget to schedule ample time for yourself! Each week you should have something brilliant to look forward to that will positively impact your mental and physical wellbeing. This can range depending on your personal interests and does not have to break the bank. Perhaps once a week you go for a massage, a seaside walk with your best friend, or a date with your partner. Or maybe you will go enjoy live music, a spin class, or getting your nails done. There is no wrong answer, as long as it sparks joy.
6. Stack your planner habit
Have you heard of habit stacking?! It’s an amazing habit hack that was first coined by S.J Scott in his book. This hack encourages you to do two habits simultaneously. This means you do one thing you love with your new habit that you want to incorporate. So, for example, if you have a warm coffee or tea every morning, it’s a great moment to write in your planner simultaneously. Or, if you have a favourite TV show, you can listen/watch it in the background while writing in your planner.
7. Reward yourself!
Rewarding yourself will help you to stay motivated when building a new habit. It’s imperative! Rewards will keep you interested and keen. Think about when you brush your teeth, you get immediate satisfaction from a clean mouth and minty fresh breath. Or when you do a great workout, you get endorphins and feel positive. When it comes to planning, it can take a bit longer to reap the rewards–but there are ways. One way is to pair your planning time as a planner date with a good friend, so the reward is a fun bonding time with your friend. Or listen to your favourite audiobook or podcast while planning or sit outside in the sunshine. You can also reward yourself with new additions to your planner with cute sticker sets or washi tape.
8. Get support from an app
Nothing like a little reminder! Luckily many habit apps will send you a prompt to use your planner. One app suggestion is Habitify, an app for iOS, Android, and the web. It allows you to create an action list that will send you reminders that you can check off. Productive is an app for iOS and Android and is great for people who tend to procrastinate or get distracted, as the app will not only help you form your new habit but offer guidance, depending on your personality. Finally, there is Habitica for iOS, Android, and the web, which turns making habits into a bit of a game, as you get to create your character and as you complete your habits/tasks, you get points to play with.
9. Plan ahead for failure
As I mentioned above, it can take anywhere between 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. So, it is important to be gentle and kind to yourself if you run into an obstacle in your planning habit! Life happens and you might run into issues such as getting sick or even losing your planner. When you have a planner problem, try to reframe your mind to consider it an opportunity to learn how to fix the new issue at hand. Don’t let this failure get you down or define you. Instead, think about the big picture and remind yourself why you got started on your planning habit. Once you take time to reflect and forgive yourself, you can get back on track to your goals.
10. Start today
Sure, sometimes a traditional fresh start, like a Monday or New Year’s or a new month can feel like the right time to start a new habit. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I don’t recommend putting off starting your new habit. Rather, I say start today! Commit now and forget about putting off your new habit until tomorrow. The more you continue to put it off until tomorrow, the easier it is to keep putting things off. Stop that and get started today. You can create your own fresh start.
Happily Ever Planner
The benefits of planning are immense, and I am such a firm believer in how planning can transform your life for the better!
However, we are only human, and it can be hard to stay on track with new habits–despite how much we want something. Hold yourself accountable and make a commitment to yourself, as, after all, your planner won’t accomplish and achieve your goals, only you can! Generate a real change in your life by using the above tips to make the most of your planner.