Why Planners Won’t Always Help You Achieve Your Goals
If you’re a high-achievers like me, you LOVE buying printed planners.
I used to obsess over which ones to get because there were too many gorgeous planners to choose from. Some years I’d end up with three!
I bought them every January, but by March they were collecting dust on a shelf and completely forgotten about…until December when I’d find them in the planner graveyard.
Who can relate? Raise your hand if you too have a planner graveyard and feel a little guilty every December when you see these sad, beautiful, empty planners going into the recycling bin.
It’s awful, right?
It’s like finding really good leftovers in the back of the fridge that your spouse said they were going to eat and you wanted them, but you didn’t eat them because they weren’t yours – but then they forgot about them and they went bad- and you’re like DAMN IT!
Tell me in the comments if you get me!
Planners don’t work for everyone. For a long time, they didn’t work for me and I couldn’t figure out why.
I was always pretty organized, and I could get things done, but there was something about using a planner I could not stick to it even when I knew it would help me.
I’ve talked with a lot of friends, many who are like GOAL GETTERS and even though they’re doing amazing things, they struggle to consistently use planners, too.
Here’s what I’ve learned about why planners won’t always help you achieve your goals.
It has nothing to do with planners or apps.
If you’re not a person who can stick to using a planner to achieve your goals, it’s because you don’t have the identity of a person who uses planners.
Let me explain.
If you’re an highly-active person and you work out everyday at the same time, that’s part of your identity. You identify as an active person with a consistent schedule. It’s just a part of who you are.
So if you set a goal to do something new – like train for a marathon – you’re going to have less resistance than someone who doesn’t have the identity of a highly-active or consistent person.
Running a marathon may not be easy, but it will FEEL like an easier goal to accomplish because you are used to having a schedule.
You’re already active – you’re not starting from day one, right? So your goal aligns with your identity.
On the flip side, if you’re like me and you go for walks or hikes when you feel like it and do yoga here and there, you may not have a habit of sticking to the same schedule and you may not be highly-active.
You might struggle to achieve the goal of running a marathon if it requires consistent daily actions. Not because you’re lazy or lack willpower, but because you don’t have the identity of that person.
And if you don’t ever feel like you have the identity of an active person, you might run the marathon, be like THANK GOD I’m done, then never do it again. (this is me)
By now you can probably tell that this video isn’t really about sticking to planners – but sticking to ANYTHING you struggle to be consistent with when it comes to achieving your goals.
Most people are very good at certain things. Even if those things are difficult, they know with 100% confidence they can get them done. They don’t feel that resistance, they just do them. Doing them is likely a habit.
Think about brushing your teeth. How often do you fight with yourself over brushing your teeth? You don’t! You just do it because it’s a habit and because you’ve done it a million times. You’re confident you can get it done.
The problem is that most people assume that since they are able to do some things that require consistency, work and discipline, they should be able to do ALL things that require work and discipline.
So they try to do something that requires them to have the identity they don’t yet have, they fail, and what happens?
What happens when you think if you put it on the calendar, if you stick to a schedule, if you just do what you’re told to do, it will work and then you fail?
You feel like shit, right? It sucks!
If you’ve found yourself just slaying some of your goals, but really struggling with other ones and you’re thinking “What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t this working?” you might have more success if you pause those goals and focus on changing your identity to BECOME the type of person who can achieve those goals.
Instead of diving in to doing something you’ve never done before, like using a planner you can’t stick to or running a marathon, what if instead you figured out how people who do these things successfully operate?
What are they doing right? What habits do they have? Who do they need to be to achieve these goals?
Are they disciplined? Do they commit to a schedule? Are they organized? What skills do they have?
My friends who run successful online businesses are disciplined and organized. They have also invested in learning how to manage a team, copywriting, marketing strategies. Skills they need to be successful.
My friends who prioritize eating nutritious food are committed and consistent. They have the skills of knowing how to cook, planning out their menus, budget shopping and meal prepping once a week.
Before you even start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, especially if you’ve failed in the past, consider this.
What if your only goal this year was to skip the “traditional” New Year’s Resolutions and work toward becoming the person you need to be to achieve your most meaningful goals?
How would your life be different a year from now if your only goal was to become a person with the identity needed to change your life?
Fake it til you make it, friends. We can become whoever we choose to be with consistency and repetition, until we’re not faking it anymore.
Let’s start with a simple example like drinking more water. Something that many people don’t do.
Maybe your goal is to have better overall health, and instead of hopping on the toxic weight loss train or trying to drastically change all your current habits, you picked one healthy habit to start with, like drinking more water.
If you get into the habit of carrying a water bottle around with you all day long, after 60-90 days it will be like brushing your teeth. You’ll just do it on auto-pilot because you’ll have the identity of a person who drinks a lot of water.
If you want to quit drinking soda, and replace soda with water, after 60-90 days, you’ll have the identity of someone who doesn’t drink soda.
I think New Year’s resolutions pressure us to make way too many changes all at once, which is a recipe for disaster. And they don’t take into consideration the fact that ALL people don’t have the same identity.
Some goals will be hard for some people and easy for others. Some people will need more more time to achieve them because they need to change their identity.
We overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say it takes 21 days to create a habit.
That might be true for people that already have the identity of someone who would easily have that habit, but for people that don’t – that 21 days is not enough and that habit isn’t going to stick long-term.
Like using a planner until February and never again after that…
If you’re thinking about your goals for the new year and beyond, and you really want to be successful, focus on who you need to be to achieve those goals.
Give yourself at least 60-90 days – you’ll know you’re on the right track when it either starts to feel easy or you’re not resisting it.
If you truly want to achieve your goal, take all the time you need. Imagine what could be different in your life a year from now if you stuck with it consistently?
I am wishing you the best of luck!
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