I have used a day planner my entire adult life. I began using one in my first real job when I was introduced to the Franklin Planner (before Steven Covey, yes, I’m that old!) I went to the seminar, learned the tips and tools of goal setting and planning and I was hooked. At the time, I worked in a human resources department and was teaching time management. Incorporating a day planner into my life was a lifesaver and I have used some version of day planner ever since.
I found the SELF Journal on, where else, Facebook and was intrigued enough to hand over my money. I made the purchase and once I received it, promptly stored it away in the closet… and forgot about it. Poor journal. But there comes a time in life when when what you're doing just isn't working anymore and you need to pivot.
I sat one Friday night, mulling over a particularly frustrating week. I felt stagnant, health wise and mentally. Remembering my purchase from the winter, I dug the still-boxed SELF journal out of the closet and read the how-to’s. I did some soul-searching and then forced myself to actually formulate two goals with coordinating details and steps. Those details and steps are so important. They break the big goals down into small achievable steps.
I have been using my SELF Journal for a little over 2 weeks. It takes commitment and consistency, hallmarks of the product. Did I achieve every daily target, weekly goal, and habit I had written down? Hell no! As a matter of fact, for the first week of habits, I only achieved one: writing 400 words or more for 5 days. I was off by a day or so on several other habits and one I didn’t get done at all. Some days I’d finish all 3 target goals; other days, I wouldn’t achieve one goal, although I completed at least two most days!
The beauty of the SELF Journal is you start and end your day with gratitude. You get to brag about your wins every night while also acknowledging what you can do better. And at the end of the week, you review your progress, write about your successes, and note where progress was weak. And then you adjust for the next week.
I learned two important things on this new journey: 1) Use pencil for your actual schedule because plans change, meetings get cancelled; and 2) if you are repeatedly missing a target goal, day in and day out, you might rethink that target goal, and ultimately, your big goal. One of my big goals was to run a fast fall 5k. It required running at least five days a week, strength training and all of the prehab I need just to keep moving forward. After weeks of missing scheduled runs, dragging myself out to run because it was scheduled and making myself feel guilty because runs weren’t going well, I realized I was burned out! Last summer’s marathon training was a beast and I just wasn’t feeling it this summer. So I pivoted—I’m running for fun this season and finding my groove in other physical pursuits: biking, yoga, and hiking. I feel better about my goal and it’s achievable.
I’ll keep updating my SELF Journal progress. So far, I’m hooked and finding that it does help me focus on my big goals. Want to check it out for yourself? Click here to visit the Best Self website!
Commercial & editorial lifestyle & travel photographer, educator, competitive cyclist, track/cross country coach