How to Use Your Planner to Reach Your Goals (and free printable)

It’s a new year, which means a lot of people (myself included) want to focus on new goals – or maybe the same ones as the previous year – and resolutions.

Since I’m a planner girl, I love incorporating paper/written tools to help me accomplish my goals. My planner also helps to keep them in front of my mind because it’s always next to me and I flip through it on a daily basis.

I want to share with you how I’ve been using my planner to help me reach my goals and build better habits.

Set The Right Goal

First, you have to start out with the right goal, a S.M.A.R.T. goal! If you’re not familiar with the acronym, it stands for:

S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Achievable/Action Step
R – Relevant
T – Time Bound

Let’s use health and fitness as an example, which is a very popular goal/resolution. You could make your goal “I want to loose 30 lbs”. But, that is not an effective goal. There’s no action to it, no deadline, and it might not even be relevant.

Let’s say that you want to loose 30 lbs because that is the weight that you would be healthy at, etc… Losing weight is a process. You have to eat healthier, exercise, drink more water, get enough sleep, to name a few.A S.M.A.R.T. goal based on your overall goal (to lose 30 lbs) might be:

Eat a healthy breakfast every morning for the next 30 days.

This goal is specific, you are going to eat a healthy breakfast and are focusing on that.

This goal is also measurable. If you ate a poptart or donut for breakfast, you did not eat a healthy breakfast.

This goal is achievable – Losing 30 lbs is not an action step, but eating a healthy breakfast is.

This goal is relevant – If you want to lose weight and it’s important to you, this goal supports that and will help you get there.

This goal is time bound – It takes 21 days to build a habit, so by the end of the 30 days, you should have a healthy habit built, and at the end of the 30 days you can look back and see if you’ve had a healthy breakfast every morning in the past month.

I try to always set goals that include action steps, this way I can track them in my planner.

Daily Goal Tracking Insert

Once you have a SMART goal or resolution to work with, it’s time to add some fun planner inserts and trackers! I created an insert to track my daily action steps for each month. I’ve shared the link so you can download it below. Also, here’s a sample of what it looks like when it’s filled out. The action step goes in the left column, and I shade in each box for the corresponding date once I’ve completed it.

Monthly Goal/Habit Tracker - Example Filled

Monthly Habit/Action Steps Tracker (A5, Blank) Printable »

If you’d like me to upload it in any other sizes, just leave a comment below!

Daily Check In

In my experience, it’s not enough to just track my goal action steps on a daily basis. I find it extremely helpful to have “recap” of my day and a written assessment of what went right, what went wrong, and how I can do better tomorrow. I just hole punch a blank piece of paper, add the date at the top, and write down my daily check in notes. I usually don’t need a whole page, so one page might include 3-4 days worth of entries. Make sure to track all 3, not just what went wrong, or just what went right. It’s important to celebrate small victories too!

I’d love to hear about how you use your planner to help you reach your goals and build better habits. If you have any feedback, comment below!

2 Replies to “How to Use Your Planner to Reach Your Goals (and free printable)”

  1. This is a really helpful article. I’ve never thought about any of it in those terms before. Thank you for posting it!

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