Self Care Tools & Tips

Using A Planner to Achieve Your Goals

A snapshot of this week in progress

One of the reasons I enjoy using a Passion Planner is the emphasis on setting and meeting goals. Often, we think of our planners as tools to help us keep track of our responsbilities and manage our time. There’s nothing wrong with that mentality, and keeping myself on track with my day-to-day obligations is definitely the primary reason I have a planner.

But, that isn’t all my planner has done for me or the only way you can use a plannner.

This month in the Passion Planner ambassador community, we’re invited to reflect on how our planners have empowered us. When I read this theme, my mind jumped straight to how I’ve used my planner to support my half-marathon training and blogging, aka my two most involved passion projects outside of the day job. So today, I want to talk a little bit about how my planner has helped me work towards these personal goals.

Sunday Orientation

Each week on Sunday, I sit down with my planner, my work calendar, and my VDot training app to map out the week. This is a practice I picked up when I did the Bad Yogi rituals program, and I love the idea of having an orientation for the week ahead.

In addition to being a good reminder of what the week ahead will bring, this is when I make adjustments to my training plan based on any late night or early morning commitments. For instance, I wouldn’t plan a long run for Tuesday morning if I know I’m going to be out late for Dungeons & Dragons night on Monday.

By sitting down with my planner to map out when my runs and other training workouts can happen, I make it that much more likely that I’ll actually lace up my shoes and go. Writing it down in ink on paper also makes it feel more like a commitment than just opening the training app does.

This goes for my blogging schedule as well. I don’t have a very structured schedule here at Running into Joy, but I’m a bit more disciplined when it comes to my book blog. I add my weekly posts, like What’s We’re Reading Wednesday, to my to-do list as a reminder and an easy win for something I can check off as accomplished during the week.

Stickers as Rewards

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s being able to check off a box or cross out a task. It’s one of the reasons that following a plan of some kind works best for me with fitness goals. As much as I enjoy checking off tasks and marking off meetings, I always wanted a little more color and excitement on my planner pages. I began using functional stickers (shoutot to ChelseaBrownDesigns, my personal favorite) for my weekly and monthly layouts. Silly as it sounds, having a pretty planner makes jotting things down that much more satisfying.

And then, I realized that I could use planner stickers not just for functional purposes, but as rewards. Yes, I treat myself like a kindergarten student and dole out little prizes for doing adult things. You gotta get your dopamine where you can.

Now, I have stickers for runs, yoga, and kickboxing that I only get to put in my planner after I’ve done that day’s workout. It’s a nice little reminder of what I accomplished early on in my day and sets a good tone for the day ahead. I also have little book stickers for when I post a book review and writing stickers for when I get in a good writing session.

At the end of the week, I can glance dwon at the page and see the colorful icons reminding me of everything I accomplished. Then, I flip to the blank page for Sunday orientation and feel motivated to make it just as bright.

A Holistic Picture

I love using my planner for all aspects of my life, because it really gives me a sense of all the things I’ve accomplished and reminds me that I can do hard things (one of my favorite running mantras).

Some days if I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I will scan back through the items that I’ve checked off in the past few weeks of to-do lists (and let’s not forget the aforementioned stickers, too). It’s a good reminder that, whether it’s work, fitness, or my blogging schedule, I have accomplished a lot more than it feels like when I’m having a bad day.

These are just a few of the ways that I use my planner to support my running goals and empower myself to chase my big dreams both in running and in life.

Before I sign off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am a Passion Planner ambassdor, which means the links in this article do earn me a small comission if you use them to buy a planner of your own. It’ll also save you 10% on your first purchase, which isn’t a bad deal if I do say so myself. As always, I only pursue relationships with brands I already use and love, so know that I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t truly stand by.


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