Ask yourself this question: How many times have I started a new habit and not stuck to it? I know I would need a few hands to count all of mine on my fingers! It’s not usually that we’re flaky or lazy or even too busy (although this certainly plays a part), it’s often that we haven’t thought through how we are going to maintain our new habit, only how to start it.
We need a purpose, a goal or reason to start any new habit, and this includes planning. We then need methods and strategies that help us to maintain our routine and check-in and self-track. it can be a lot more simple than we think and the benefits of planning are worth it for sure.
Whether you are brand new to using a daily planner, or you are a seasoned veteran, there are some mistakes you might be making. These aren’t big mistakes, but they can keep you from being motivated to keep using your planner or make it more difficult than it needs to be.
Rookie Error 1: Choosing the Wrong Planner
The first mistake is a very common one, and it involves the type of planner you are using. This can happen easily because you want the planner you saw advertised online or you want to use the one your friends are using, or you simply like the cover of a cute little day planner. The problem is that this might not be related to what you need the planner for.
Everyone has their own purposes for using a planner, so if you don’t think carefully about it, and consider the size, style, and types of pages inside the planner, you might not want to use it much. You really need to start with a planner that you love and that works best for YOU.
Rookie Error 2: Not Using Your Planner with Intent
It is also really important that you use your planner with intent. Don’t just use it because other people are, or because you know a few general benefits. Figure out why you want to use a planner and write down the benefits you want to get out of it.
This might be to organize your daily life and stop missing appointments, to keep up with tasks related to your goals, or to track certain health goals or daily habits that you have been neglecting. These are all important to you, so you want to be sure you understand your own purpose and act with intent.
Rookie Error 3: Setting and Forgetting
This is probably the most common mistake people make with planners. You get excited about using it and think you will use it every day, but once you write down your basic schedule, you don’t pick it up for weeks or even months. This is where you are going wrong. You need to focus on daily tracking, not just writing your schedule on the monthly calendar. Otherwise, you don’t really need to use a planner.
Rookie Error 4: Failing to Have a Good Routine
It is also going to be difficult to remember to use your planner if it is not part of your routine. You need a specific habit of using your planner every day, so turning it into a routine where you always use it around the same time each day will help you stick with it.
Which rookie error (or seasoned planning veteran error) do you think you are likely to make? It will be easy to identify based on past experiences with new routines and habits that were either tricky to stick to or the ones which actually stuck, and you are still doing! Start with your weakest area.
Maybe you have tried planning before but the planner you bought didn’t suit your needs or your personality. Or perhaps, you know that you’re a bit forgetful and need to use a routine to give your memory a little nudge. We all have certain things that prevent us from keeping up with our new projects and habits. Identify them when you first become a planner and the planning itself will prevent them from getting in your way in other areas of your life