(Read on to the end for a giveaway opportunity!) Self-improvement can be a big project. Consider the many facets and responsibilities we have as humans. We have families, houses, belongings, our own bodies, minds, and souls. While each of these things need to be cared for, we may also want to improve our behavior and relationship with God. Or we may want to accomplish a goal for ourselves aside from these responsibilities (such as, starting a hobby or business).
How does one tackle such a big project? The answer is: one step at a time.
What tools can help you plan and execute your self-improvement or development goals? There are many. But today, I want to share Quo Vadis’ Life Noted Planner as a tool for planning and executing goals. The layout of the planner is really oriented to write down and focus on goals, and I’m very excited to use it!
The Life Noted Planner has pages to assess your previous year, make plans for the coming year, and to make plans and assess each month, in addition to monthly and weekly views. The weekly view has a nice open box and a To Do List with only 4 check boxes for each day – a nice place to write notes and make a small enough list to focus on a few things a day. This planner’s layout really seems helpful to plan out and accomplish goals of any kind! And the layout is flexible so that people can either use it as their primary planner, or a secondary planner to focus on goals (which is what I’ll do). By the way, it comes in the regular year format (January – December), as well as the Academic year (August – July). Good thing, so I can start using it in August! If you’re interested in more detailed information, Plannerisma wrote up a nice, thorough review of the Life Noted Planner in her blog and Quo Vadis has many blog posts on the planner and ideas of how to use different sections in the planner.
I will use the Life Noted Planner to make a self-improvement plan, which is just one of many examples or ways this planner can be used. I am a PhD student that mostly works from home, and hence, I have not really been maintaining routines or a schedule. Since I plan to graduate by December, I want to start getting into a routine that will allow me to lead a balanced life. I also have a few health challenges that I hope can be overcome with some effort on my part. Hence, I am going to use the Life Noted Planner to build good habits and routines, and to do things that may help overcome my health challenges. While I show my layouts, I think you will easily notice how this planner can be used for other kinds of goals, too.
We can assess how well we did with building habits or accomplishing goals the previous year on this page. If starting new, this is a good place to do a general assessment of ourselves, and the aspects we want to improve in the coming year.
After assessing what we want to work on or improve, we can prioritize what is most important. On this page, I wrote, at a high-level, what I want to achieve and the 3 focuses that will help me achieve it.
After determining priorities, we want to list specific SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. I used the goals page to list out all of the basic self-care and house chores I want to do as a routine and in a schedule this year. Of course, there are so many other things to consider. But for now, this is a sufficient list. This master list helps me select 4 things to focus on each month. I try to select items from different areas, so that I am being balanced with respect to the areas of my life I’m improving.
Now that we have our SMART goals, we need to plan them out! On the Action/Notes page, I planned which 4 goals to focus on per month until December. I’ve left some space to make schedules and routines later, as well as to plan the beginning of 2019 in December (note, the back of this page is an empty dot grid page to continue making plans or brainstorm).
On the top of the page, I’ve described what the 4 goals I will focus on will help accomplish at a high-level. On the bottom of the page, I listed the 4 goals I will focus on (which comes from the Action/Notes page), along with corresponding notes that might be helpful to accomplish the specific goals. In future months, I plan to compare my original plan for the month with actual, if there’s a change due to me not building a habit over a previous month.
When I complete a month, I’ll list the 4 goals I focused on during the month with notes of how well I accomplished each of the goals on the top of the page. On the bottom, I’ll talk about how well the month went, with notes on what didn’t work well, why, and how I can try to fix it and do better in the future.
I decided to use the Monthly Calendar Pages as an overall tracker. I’ll track how many of the focused goals I have accomplished each day, as well as how many I completed in my habit tracker I have in my planner. On the right side, I wrote the color code for the monthly trackers. It was a To Do list, but I put a white sticker to cover the label and call it Color Code. Towards the bottom in the Objectives section, I was thinking to write the 4 goals to focus on during the month. But, it seemed a little too redundant. Hence, I’ve left the entire lower section blank for now. I might use the space for inspirational quotes or thoughts. Though, one could easily write reminders, their goals for the month, among many other things in that section.
Of course, I’ll have the 4 goals I want to focus on during the month under the To Do List. I plan to use the open box as a place to journal a little: either document any changes I am noticing, my mood, or a positive thought. On the lower-right page of the weekly view, I wrote the morning routine I want to follow during the month, and some additional notes in the Reminders box.
Quo Vadis provides perforated corners that you can tear off to easily go to the current week in the planner. I kept the corner on the Goals page so that I can easily flip back to this page. I may do the same for the monthly calendar until the month is over.
Since the Life Noted Planner has a cover, it naturally forms 2 potential pockets (in the front and back of the planner). You can store some stickers or papers in these pockets. The cover also includes an elastic band that can either keep the planner securely shut (useful if putting the planner in a bag with small things in it), or be a placeholder for where you are in the planner.
What do you think of the planner? What kinds of goals do you see yourself using this planner for? Anything you’d rather change in the planner’s layout to make it more fitting to your needs?
Would you like the opportunity to get a Life Noted Planner through a giveaway? Check out Quo Vadis’ Instagram post, where you have until Friday, 7/27/18 to enter a giveaway! You’ll be able to choose whether you want the Life Noted for the January-December or Academic year, and select your own choice of cover!