This post was written by Alex Phillips, Co Founder of Saint Belford.
Ever purchased a planner and stopped using it by the last week of January?
Yep, us too. It’s pretty common actually!
So, what do you do when the “new year” enthusiasm kind of fades away?
Start implementing these tips to keep your planning game strong!
Put your planner in a highly visible location, where you’ll typically use it. Remember that your habits are largely influenced by the environment that you’re in and the cues you’re exposed to which means a small change in what you see can impact the habits you do/don’t engage in.
It’s a lot easier to follow through with your good habits when there are positive cues/reminders sprinkled throughout your home/work space that prompt you to use your planner.
Where do I like to plan my day?
Once you have the answer, optimise that space to ensure that every time you are in that location, you are reminded to use your planner.
If your desk is your go-to planning station, keep your diary on your desk and make sure it’s visible to you. Keeping it hidden away in a drawer or underneath a pile of magazines will only hinder your habit.
Here are other examples of positive cues you could also implement to maintain your planning habit: sticky note on your laptop “have you opened your planner today?” or a phone reminder asking the same thing.
Setting a habit intention clarifies the “when” and “where” of your habits. It increases the likelihood of you following through with your habits because the plan alleviates decision fatigue—you don’t have to figure out the “when” and “where” every single day. It promotes consistency.
You can use the formula below to set a habit intention:
I will [behaviour] at [time] in [location]
Here are some examples:
When setting your intention(s), consider your natural preferences—would you prefer to plan in the morning or the evening? There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just about doing what works best for you.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your habit intentions and modify them to fit into the flow of your life. If you’ve set a morning intention but you’re experiencing a lot of resistance and struggling to follow through with it, try something else.
Ultimately, you want to make this habit EASY, so if mornings don’t work well for you, turn it into an evening ritual and see if that feels more natural.
Consider why you purchased a planner in the first place. Was it to stay on track with your goals? Feel more organised? Build new habits? Free up mental headspace? Maybe it’s a combination of reasons. Write them down. This is your renewable source of motivation.
Here are a few benefits you could add to your list:
Need more ammunition? Here’s 15 powerful ways Curation will help you mindfully master your year.
Rewards reinforce your habits and increase the likelihood that you will repeat them again.
This is the last piece of the puzzle that we often forget. As humans, we’ve evolved to prioritise immediate rewards over delayed rewards which means you need to implement an immediate (and satisfying) reward to sustain your motivation in the short term, while those longer term rewards accumulate in the background.
This can be as simple as ticking it off on your habit tracker or using a morning cup of coffee or healthy afternoon treat as a reward for completing your habit.
The trick is to choose rewards that can be experienced immediately because the rule is, what is rewarded is repeated and what is punished is avoided.
Here’s to getting the most out of your planner!
Not sure how to use the features in Curation? Check out: A Guide to Using Curation
Got questions? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us: @saintbelford