Welcome to the last of my three-post series for planning for the new year! This is my very favorite, and I'm sorry it's a bit later than I wanted to get it out, but it's not too late to do some great planning for the year. We are still working on our plan for our business, in fact.
Get ready for all the nitty gritty details, links, and hacks I've grown into as a planner nerd enneagram one. I'm here to help you create the rhythm for the new year that you can rely on year after year.
First, my tools.
I've used the XL sized Moleskine for three years now for all of my journaling. It has the perfect weight paper, the lines are the perfect width, and it has the perfect size. I mean, I really love this thing. I get the black because obviously. If you're a dotted or grid or blank gal, they have those too.
Ok, so for my planner situation, I've spent the last year trying new ones and trying to find one that fits all of my needs, and I'm super excited about digging into my Full Focus Planner this week. So far in the last year, I've played with a Happy Planner, which I used and loved as a stay at home mom, but I wanted something to incorporate some goal planning, as well as a bit more room for Normal. Last year I tried the High Performance Planner and enjoyed it...for about two weeks. It was too stuffy and structured, though I liked the two-page spread for one day. I just needed room for to-do lists, my big 3, and some notes. I started writing out the daily spread from the Full Focus Planner in my Moleskine in the beginning of December and I'm loving the rhythm it gives my days.
I even talked Josh into using one, though he's not a planner or one who journals, and forgive me for sounding melodramatic, but it's been a game-changer. During our weekly schedule talks, we've started incorporating each other into our weekly preview, sharing our wins and struggles from the week, asking for prayer for this event or support in reaching this goal. He uses his different than I use mine, but it's nice having the same system to meet up every week.
While we're talking office supplies, here are my favorite pens (color and black), highlighters, and washi tape. I keep it all in a small pouch for my work bag so I can have all of my favorite tools at hand, if I'm at home, work, or somewhere else.
I also pick up a Rifle Paper Co calendar from my favorite local boutique, Mariposa Design Events for a calendar for the kids in our kitchen.
Now, the actual plan.
So at this point, I have worked through the prayer time, gathering my thoughts and asking God what He would have for me in the next year. I write it down every time I feel like He is giving me a word or a phrase or a verse to dissect, and at some point around the end of the year I plan for a couple of hours with my big piece of kraft paper and I write it all out. Like, all of it. I compile and gather the words He's given and I write out all the verses and I look for repetition and the things that make me uncomfortable. I take notes and boss myself around and I write dates and deadlines. This isn't some lovely, sweet time...it's almost always kind of painful. Like, I know these things are good and worthy, but dang it most of the time they're hard.
In past years, I created a focus wheel of sorts, but the title never resonated with me and I always ended up creating this page full of notes and goals and details. This year, I did that as usual but left the details to the Goal Detail page in my Full Focus Planner, and holy cow, it was a game-changer. I've never actually written out my motivation behind why I want a specific goal. Like this year, one goal is to move and while I've known for the last year that it needed to happen this year as we have totally outgrown our starter home, I hadn't really thought through WHY I wanted a new house. One reason is to reduce bathroom fights (we only have one bathroom now!), but really, we can't wait to host more people, have overnight guests (we have no guest bedroom), and have more outside space for more animals and more fun. Writing those out gave me an idea for my reward when we do get that new house: to have a housewarming party with confetti cannons. Yes please!
Anyway, just some thoughts for your big paper planning. Write it ALL out, then clean it up and put that cleaned up version where you can see it daily. For me, it's in my Full Focus Planner, in my journal, and I have a copy taped to the back of our bedroom door. Here's the thing about writing out your goals and talking about them: they happen faster. Then post them where you can see them? Even faster.
Finally, the why.
I've always been this way. I've loved lists and assignment notebooks in school and I've kept a planner every year forever, even when I was a stay-at-home mom and literally just stayed home and the things on my list consisted of meals and grocery lists. It felt like a thing I had to do because it was me.
It was seven or eight years ago when I jumped into the coordinator role for our local MOPS group and I was thrust into a new level of planning and organizing, and I started to realize there was more to it. I started looking slightly longer range and making longer term goals. That snowballed into making actual yearly goals, challenging myself to new things, and creating new habits. It's a new sweet spot for me because I used to be so terrified of failure that I would never put a deadline on anything and if I didn't meet a goal, I'd just erase it from memory like it never happened.
Four years ago, though, it changed. I brought the Lord into it and allowed Him to show me what He wants for my life. I started listening more than talking. I It's taken me four years to get to this system of planning for an entire year and using timelines and doing it all without me personally casting the vision. So why do I do it this way? It creates results. I could go on about all that happened last year, and how it was wild and unexpected, but at the same time completely planned out. Last year I planned on focusing on teaching (we thought that would be through coffee classes, but it came in the form of homeschooling and training staff) and that's just one instance of how God tool our plans, shook them up and handed them back to us.
Why is this still relevant, Sara? It's already the end of January.
Because you don't have to have a date or a day of the week to start something new. You don't have to start a diet on a Monday or set New Years Resolutions on New Years Day. Maybe what you started didn't stick, so try creating new habits instead of changing several things at once. Those small new habits will roll over into big things before you know it.