It’s a universal experience: You decided to start using a planner (or exercise daily, or eat better, or give up soda, etc.). You started strong, kept it up for a while, and then stopped – for whatever reason. That snarky voice in your head tells you that your efforts were ruined, and it was all for nothing.

Have you fallen into this trap and given in to negative self-talk, guilt, and goal paralysis? I sure have. Whether you’ve experienced this cycle two times, or two hundred times, rest assured that you’re not alone.  In this post we have tips for helping you get back on track with your planner!

When trying to improve our lives and adopt healthy habits, an “all or nothing” mindset can be one of our worst enemies. Luckily, most of the changes we’re trying to implement are things we can circle back on and try again. This is certainly true when it comes to using a planner.

The Challenge of Building a Habit

The habit of using a planner can be difficult to begin or keep up, even if it’s fun and involves quilting and stickers! The road to self-improvement and healthier habits isn’t always an easy one, but it is very worthwhile. So be kind to yourself, don’t self-judge, and remember that it often takes multiple tries to stick with something new. Keeping a planner isn’t something that comes naturally. It takes some practice, so try to relax, be flexible, and try again.

It’s Normal to Take a Break & Then Begin Again

A neglected planner sitting in a drawer can make us feel guilty, and our critical inner voice may even pipe up. “I purchased this awesome Quilter’s Planner and didn’t use it for all twelve months. Great – another practice I’ve failed at.” You may be tempted to give up, but we’ve got great news, folks: you don’t have to use your planner every day in order to experience the benefits.

It’s important to remember that planners are merely a tool. They exist to help you, however that may play out in your life. You’re not accountable to a planner; you’re accountable to yourself. So, if life goes nuts and you don’t use your planner for two months, it’s okay. Sometimes taking a break and just getting by is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves.

Don’t “Planner Shame” Yourself: Picture-Perfect vs. Reality

Planners are awesome and can be used in many ways to improve your life. You can track time, appointments, manage creative projects – the works. You can even dress your planner up and use it to express yourself creatively among the pages. However, if you’re a perfectionist or you’re trying to achieve a “planner ideal,” you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

In today’s world of Pinterest, Instagram, and staged/accessorized photos, it’s incredibly easy to feel dissatisfied with your reality – including the reality of your planner. It’s easy to quit using your planner if your monthly spreads don’t look as neat and tidy as those on your Pinterest board.

It may be tempting to throw in the towel when you realize your handwriting hasn’t magically changed into something worth photographing. We encourage you to push through it and embrace authenticity. Make your planner beautiful and pleasing to the eye, if that’s what you enjoy, but stay focused on the many purposes your planner can serve.

 3 Tips to Get You Back on Track

Are you ready to pick up your planner and start again? Here are a few handy dandy tips that may help.

Be Consistent: Work in your planner around the same time every day, like when you wake up or just before bed. Even five minutes can suffice.

Customize: In the weekly section of the Quilter’s Planner, don’t feel that you have to use the 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. time notations in each day. This space can be used to make lists of things you need to do, and can also serve as a record of things you accomplished – after the fact.

Treat Yourself: If you find it difficult to sit down with your planner regularly, add a treat for yourself – a special reward that you get to enjoy while you’re using your planner.  It could be a special cup of tea or coffee, a piece of chocolate, or playing some relaxing music.

Let’s Give It Another Whirl

If you feel you “failed” with a past planner attempt, we hope you’ll give it another go. All you need is a little self-patience and self-kindness, and to “turn the page” on a fresh new day.