While everyone was up early on Friday morning ( or Thursday night) waiting in line for the coveted electronic device or piece of clothing, I was thinking about a 2014 planner. Yes, a weekly/monthly planner. For the past three years, I’ve been as excited about getting a planner for the New Year as a kid is on Christmas morning. But a planner is not just for appointment keeping. Nowadays your planner can be so much more! Read why I think a planner is one of the best investments for your health.
1. Logging and keeping track of your workout and eating habits. Sure, they have an App for that. Why put this in a planner when I can put it on my phone? Health apps are very helpful for logging health behavior, but they do very little for seeing how your health behavior compares to everything else in life. Putting all of your appointments, work and school assignments, and dinner dates with friends all in one place helps you to realistically plan your workouts and meals ahead of time. Thus, you are less likely to skip a workout or a meal.
2. Life doesn’t have to be a cacophonous nightmare. Plan for a symphony. If you are reading this blog, you’ve probably had a time in your life when you’ve felt overwhelmed. Maybe it was during finals time and you had a hard time balancing your extracurricular responsibilities with your workload. Or maybe you’ve started a new job and you have less time to work out or cook healthy meals. It has happened to all of us. Life gets busy, hectic, even crazy. Utilizing a weekly/monthly planner that has slots for appointment times allows you to visualize all that you do. We’re human, and we forget things. Writing down all of your activities and birthdays and responsibilities allows us to plan to make time for all these things. This can also help you see what you’re spending too little or too much time on. Using a planner can help us visualize and rearrange our priorities.
3. “Me time-tea time”. The activities that we’re a part of help to develop us, but that’s not all there is to us. Everyone needs time to recharge and refocus to avoid burn-out and other health issues due to busy-ness. There are a variety of different ways to reflect; art, photography, music, prayer/devotion, meditation, exploring nature, etc. One should pencil in time for something that makes you happy and something that you enjoy at least once a week…probably more often if you are an introvert. These stress relievers help to decrease the likelihood of emotional and mental health issues. Health is not just about what you eat or how much you exercise, its about feeling completely well inside and out.
4. “Me-time” is important but “we-time” is more important for healthy relationships. Life is not always about you. A planner helps you see reasons to celebrate other people as well. Birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions are reminders of how humans are supposed to be relational beings. The more time we spend away from our loved ones, the more our relationships with them suffer. Celebrate someone. Hang out just because. Your friends and family will love you for it.
5. Goal planning and goal assessment.
At the end of my planner there are 28 pages of blank, lined paper for notes. The first two pages of notes are reserved for outlining my goals for the next year. Consequently, I’m always aware of where I want to be. The other pages are reserved for my favorite scriptures, quotes, sermons, lists, ideas, and thoughts. In other words, its comparable to a mini-diary. All of this serves as a good reflection at the end of the year. For example, of the 17 goals that I listed at the end of last year to achieve in 2013, I accomplished 12 of them. Even though I fell short of five of the goals, I’m still pretty proud of myself. I accomplished some things that I didn’t even plan for last year. There are some things that I didn’t achieve on my list that aren’t applicable to my life anymore. Therefore they aren’t are my list for this year. How are we expected to get to our goals if we can’t verbalize them or imagine a path to get there? Goal planning and goal assessment are vital to achieving our life and health goals.
You can’t plan your whole life, but utilizing a planner can help you look at the bigger picture. Are your activities balanced and are they working toward a healthier lifestyle physically, mentally, and emotionally? If so, then you are well on your way to successful life!