One of my favorite things about a brand new planner is setting it up! And I love to add a lot of positive planning in my setups.
I’ve found that how you set your planner up from the start can be just as important as the planner you decided on.
For me, my planners aren’t just a book of tasks from a full year. They are also memoirs, documentaries-in-progress and sometimes, my biggest fan!
I have come to really value what maintaining a positive planning atmosphere in my planner does for me.
These days, I try to keep that in the forefront when it comes to deciding on planners and how I set them up.
Why Care About A
Positive Planning Atmosphere?
It’s my own opinion that I feel that keeping planners with the intent of making lifestyle changes is going to present a lot of ugliness.
If anything is going to judge you first about your decisions, it will be your planner.
At it’s bare minimum, it will show you all of your weaknesses and how well you’re doing at working on them. (Or not).
It’s going to bluntly stare you in the face and pretty much tell you whether you are awesome or just… not.
And depending on the kind of personality you have, that may either challenge you to work harder.
…Orrrr depress you and make you want to give up altogether.
I tend to lean to the latter side which is why maintaining a positive atmosphere is so important!…to me!
Here are some of the reasons I feel you might want to care about creating a positive atmosphere in your planner:
It Can Be The Motivator You Need
No journey constantly goes up.
And there is no “change” if there is no resistance.
I just expect that for anything in life, there will be a hefty amount of highs and a startling number of lows.
And when those lows show up, there are different ways you can find motivation. Whether it be through friends, music, nature, etc.
But you can also create a motivational atmosphere in your planner!
It doesn’t have to constantly have motivating and upbeat quotes on every single page.
But there should at least be a few places in your planner that you can refer to when you need a pick me up.
These sections can manifest themselves through a vision board you put together. Maybe a page of your biggest dreams, a list of your favorite affirmations, or even daily gratitude!
Something that you can go back and look through that will help bring a smile to your face. And reignite the fire in your heart! (cheesy, I know…)
It Can Help You Stay Optimistic
When things start feeling uncertain, foggy… and bleak. It can be hard to know what to expect next or if a goal is even worth pursuing anymore.
Sometimes the best thing a planner can do for me is to serve as a document of all the hard work I’ve already put in. And how far all that work has gotten me so far.
In the midst of a journey, it can be hard to see progress. Especially the kind of progress you want to see.
I can’t explain just how many times going back through old planners have helped me to see how much I’ve achieved.
And how it’s not worth it to give up on it now.
They keep me hanging on and staying optimistic. And they encourage me to keep trying and put my best effort forward. And I always end up reaching new highs and reaping new benefits!
It Becomes A Safe Haven
So… have you met 2020? 😐 (enough said…)
As a person easily riddled with anxiety, I have to say that I was SO glad to have had the planners I had this year.
Where the world had become so uncertain, scary, and judgmental, in the midst of all of that… there was my planner.
My happy place! Blank, with pages wide open inviting me to come chill with some hot tea and washi tape!
This year, my planners really helped me stay calm and focused.
And in a way, just sitting down and decorating them with no intent to “plan” became a form of self care for me.
They helped me focus on things that were within my control.
I didn’t have to worry about everything outside that I had no influence over. Instead, I focused on me and celebrated the little I was still able to achieve.
How I Create Positivity In My Planner
There are a few things I do in my planner that I feel contribute to the positive planning atmosphere in my planner. Those things include:
Focus On It’s Purpose
Before I can decide on how I want to create my positive planning space, I need to be clear on it’s purpose.
Knowing the goals I want to accomplish with my planner and why working on this goal matters contributes a lot to that clarity.
No matter if it’s for something more targeted like budgeting or more broad like a handy dandy catch all planner. Figuring out what you need it for will allow you to brainstorm what kind of motivation you might need.
Fitness planners might have more pictures of what you envision yourself being and doing at the end of your journey.
Budgeting might have a list of concrete things you can achieve if you stay focused.
A social media planner might have printed images of motivational comments you’ve received on your blog or youtube channel.
Knowing your planner’s purpose helps a lot when it comes to incorporating positive planning into your setup!
Include Ways To Self-Reflect & Visualize
Now starts the fun part!
Since I am naturally self-reflective and a daydreamer, I looooove adding in tons of ways to self-reflect and visualize.
Sometimes I will do a vision board that I paste into my planner in some crafty kind of way.
Vision boards are so helpful in helping me look past all the little annoyances and remembering my overall dreams.
They are always so nice to go back and look through, even years after I make them.
Sometimes, the things I put on my current year vision board start to come true after 1-2 years. So it makes it even MORE exciting to go through much older vision boards and see what I’ve actually accomplished!
And when I’m not doing vision boards, I absolutely LOVE to include a “Significant Moments” page.
This page for me is a place where I go and write down everything I feel is significant! And that makes an impact in my life.
These “significant moment” pages work best in goal-oriented planners (eg: budget, business, fitness…).
If I were using this in my budget planner, significant moments for me would be things like “finally reaching $1,000 in savings” “I updated my 401K contributions” “I actually passed on eating out and decided to cook at home”.
If it were a fitness planner, significant moments might include “I finally did a full pull up today”, “It was my first time walking around the neighborhood and I really enjoyed it!”. Things like that.
Those things you don’t really think about and aren’t necessarily measured with stats or analytics.
These things don’t really contribute to whether you progress or regress, but they are reminders that you’re moving in the right direction.
I love having a page for Significant Moments, because it’s always so inspiring to go back and see all the little things I did and the progress I made because of them!
Monthly Memory Planning
Even though I don’t have the energy to commit to memory planning weekly, I definitely enjoy doing it monthly.
In a month, I have enough highlights and photos to create a collage of memories for the entire month!
The act of sitting down and putting together my monthly memory spread is just as enjoyable as being able to go back and reflect on it. So it’s a double win for me!
I’m still able to capture important memories for me without it feeling like a chore. And I love having this apart of my positive planning process!
Mini Journaling Entries
I don’t have a lot of space in my planners, but I do like to write little memories in cursive from each day.
I normally write my tasks in print. So I know it’s a journal entry when I write it in cursive.
And I feel that helps add even more character to my planner overall!
Going back through out my planner and rereading some of the little things I journaled about is really enjoyable and fun for me.
I use my monthly calendar spread to write down any daily highlights. For the most part, this will pertain to something that stood out most from the day whether good or not good.
Whether it was hanging out, trying a new restaurant, working all day or purchasing more Simply Gilded washi, it all goes here.
And at the end of the month, it’s so nice to see a quick reflection of all the more outstanding memories from the month.
I also really enjoy using the stickers from my shop to help portray my mood for those days too lol!
Make It FUN!
And along with adding in self-reflecting pages, I love to make it FUN!
This isn’t just through decorating heavily with stickers and washi. This also has a lot to do with the environment I put myself in also.
Herelately, I feel most at peace when planning in the evening.
If I am not too exhausted from a long day’s work, I like to sit at my dining room table. I have all my planner supplies surrounding me too lol.
I let a movie play in the background and I might even have some snacks while I plan.
And in this moment, I just go with the flow.
Sometimes my sessions may last only fifteen minutes, and other times may go up to an hour and a half.
It just depends on the type of mood I’m in.
But I never feel sad about needing to update my planners. In fact, I LOVE to reach for my planners which is what I feel positive planning does.
They show me all the hard work I put in and what I reap from it and encourage me to do more! I find a lot of joy, inspiration, and motivation through adding positive planning throughout my setups!
Keep It A Judge Free Zone
At least try to anyways… 😅
So I know, like most people, that planners are meant to guide you.
They are tools that allow us to strategize how we will incorporate change into your lives. And keep us on track and squeeze out as much anxiety as possible.
But with being so goal-oriented and focused, it makes it very easy for it to become hostile to work in.
Whenever you start slipping on your goals, having spaces to motivate and encourage you really do help! At least, that’s what I feel.
It’s like having a personal trainer that wants you to do your best, but is also understanding and extends grace whenever you come up short.
I love incorporating positive planning in my setups. Personally, this has become a staple when it comes to setting up my planners.
And I’ll definitely keep this up in 2021!
So what about you? Do you incorporate positivity into your planning? How do you go about it?