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Using a Planner for Self-Awareness and Personal Growth

Wait a minute, I thought a planner is for schedules, appointments and to-dos.


Curious about how one would use a planner to build self-awareness and intentionality in your personal life to get unstuck? I have asked a lot of clients over the years how they plan their time and activities and 90% of the time they tell me they use their phone calendar. When I ask further about what they are putting in the digital calendar they tell me they are entering their appointments. Have a look at your digital calendar. Does it include anything about how great it felt to do an online yoga class, how you'd really like to read for 30 min each evening, that you haven't had a vegetable in three days and are feeling worn out, or how much you really miss going out dancing with your girlfriends? Probably not.

As you may have heard, Balance Works published the ACTivate Vitality Personal Development Planner and it hit the Amazon bestseller list last month. This planner is a useful tool to help get you get clear on how you're really living your days, what's most important to you, and supports small steps in the direction of really living those values.


How can you do this?


To get started, download our free, jam-packed, 9-page Vitality Guide here which includes sample planner pages or if you're ready to go all-in and order a planner, Click here to order from Amazon.


Let’s dig in! You’ve received your planner or printed sample pages from the Vitality Guide and you’re ready to get started. Remember - we are using a planner to build intention and vitality into our lives, not a Pinterest-worthy layout. But, if you love to be creative then go for it! Use colourful pens, markers, stickers, fancy lettering and washi tape if that is what lights you up!


For the first two weeks using your ACTivate Vitality planner, create awareness around how you spend your time and how you are impacted in different ways by the things in your life. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to do some retrospective recording, writing down what you did and reflect on how you were feeling.


Why do we start with retrospective recording instead of planning for world domination? Recording how we spend our days helps us get clearer on what's most important to us so we can become more intentional and authentic in our direction, plans and goals. During these first two weeks you will begin building a mindfulness and gratitude practice in your planner as well. These activities help you connect with your values.


As you move forward with intention you will want to plot fixed appointments or time blocks and sync with your digital calendar, colour coding if that appeals to you. Layer in valued self care activities, inspirational words and phrases, meal planning and habit tracking. You will likely notice you have blocks of time dedicated to work, meals, exercise, and hobbies on each day.


At the start of each day, make a plan for the day ahead of you including breaks, self-care and valued activities. This builds intention around each day’s activities and gives reason to the routine. At the end of each day take the time to reflect, checking things off that you did as planned and highlighting others that were especially impactful. Journal, scribble, highlight and don't forget the gratitude.


This is NOT your daddy’s old Daytimer!

Our undated planner is rooted in the evidence-based practices of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) as well as a handful of other useful practices. At Balance Works, we are all about evidence-based tools to help our clients live authentically and with vitality!



Ready to dive in even deeper?


The planner is an essential part of the ACTivate Vitality program. We invite you to join us for a free webinar that expands on the core processes in the ACTivate Vitality Personal Development Planner. These webinars are intended to support those in helping professions learn to apply ACT concepts to improve their own wellbeing.

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