Starting the New Year Right: Happy Planner Goal Planning Printables
My New Year started with the stomach flu. Not ideal, certainly not fun, but the hours (and hours) in bed on January 1st, 2019 provided time to … imagine. In truth, all I could do was imagine, because sitting up made me woozy. So I imagined, in a bleary-feverish-exhausted sort of way, my coming year. Imagination is the foundation of creativity, isn’t it? But it is the beginning, not the end. While there will be naysayers, I believe organization and planning are also foundational to creativity.
How to print ANYTHING for your Happy Planner:
Printing for Happy Planner
Open the PDF.
Adjust the SCALE to 84%, the quality to BEST, and print double sided.
Open the PDF. Select PRINT. Adjust the SCALE to 84%, the quality to BEST, and print double sided. If you don’t want bleed through, purchase printer paper that is bright white and 28lb.
Then what? I place a current planner page, centered, on top of the printed page and cut with scissors (I find I can cut three sheets at a time this way with decent results). I have used an exacto and ruler in the past, which does give a nicer result, but also takes more time. I’ll trade a little unevenness to my edges to make a forty minute project into a ten minute project.
Something most planners lack is a space for reflection: a glance back on the previous month and previous year. Goal planning requires at least a glimpse in the rearview mirror now and then, otherwise bad habits tend to sneak in and perpetuate themselves. And since bad habits are usually so much more fun than good habits, they can easily upset forward momentum. That’s why I created a simple, one-sheet (double sided) page to examine the previous year.
Just as important as scrutinizing with a critical eye is celebrating what was accomplished, so the Year-in-Review starts with successes. I like to write down EVERYTHING I can think of that was positive. Did I travel? Finish a project? Start a project? Did I even read a novel aloud to my older daughter? (Something our schedule makes difficult, so it IS an accomplishment—especially since we read several!) Celebrate those wins!
And once you’ve celebrated, think a bit about what time was lost. Did I spin my wheels in the muck of unreasonable expectations? Did my impatience cause me to push ahead on a project that just wasn’t ready? Did I watch too much “Trash TV”?
On the flip side of the Year-in-Review is a list of questions, questions I use to encourage out-of-the-box thinking. You’ll notice at the bottom of the sheet is the SMART method of goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-specific), which I changed to SMARTER because I loved what William Ballard had to say about goal setting.
The SMARTER way is virtually identical to SMART, but instead of realistic goals, I set risky ones. Some might call these DREAMS rather than goals, but the only difference between a goal and a dream is action. These are goals I probably won’t accomplish, but dang, if I make it 10% into a Risky goal, I’m that much closer to my dream than I would have been with just realistic goals. So check it out and see if what works for me might also work for you!
Quarterly Progress Log Printables
I swiped this concept from a blogger and planning guru, Lisa Jacobs. I think. I actually can’t remember. All I remember is that I really liked something I downloaded and wanted something like it for my Happy Planner. So I mashed it up with what I was already building, which turned into a one-sheet Quarterly Progress Log. I do remember that I did Lisa’s 2017 and part of her 2018 book and found them both supremely helpful. Sadly she’s out of the annual-planning-book biz now, but I believe will still be offering her business-oriented products on Amazon.
I don’t always find time to do these quarterly reviews, but I find they’re so very helpful when I do. Especially the section on remembering what, in the coming months, needs celebrating. As a goal- and accomplishment-oriented person, celebrating tends to be my most-neglected life area. Will you do better with quarterly reflection? Probably.
Year Planning Printables
Ah, the foundational section of pages, and the longest PDF. Here you’ll find thirteen double-sided pages, one per month plus a year-at-a-glance page for overall planning bliss.
Each page has a heart at the center (because it’s cute) with categories all around. One label is blank for you to write in your own category. Other categories include: Fit & Health which I use for goals like workouts, changes to my/my family’s diet, adjustments to how I plan meals, etc. Family is for, well, family. Do I want us to play some board games this month? Is there a book we should read together? A chore system I haven’t yet tried (I doubt it)? Home & Heart are goals related to home: things that need fixing, doing, and so forth, and heart: things within me that need fixing and doing, and so forth. Devotional plans and the like. Sadly, “Hire a housekeeper” hasn’t been actionable, but it’s always on the list. Education could be my own education—what do I want to learn this month? Or (more likely) homeschool things that need my attention. Algebra for one child, reading for another, speech practice, and so on. Relationships is my special category to make sure I connect with at least one friend during the month. I am an introvert and LOVE solitude. And I have six children. Sooo socializing isn’t something that gets me revved up. But even introverts need to kick back, relax, hang with the girls. Here is where I force myself to add something to my calendar that will refresh my soul and renew a relationship. Events & Adventures is where I list birthdays, trips, and can’t-miss field trips, outings, or even just everyday travels I want to make habitual. Like story time at the library (that introvert thing again).
The blank category could be anything you like. For me it’s Writing & Promo because I need to keep track of my writing projects and promotional efforts. For you maybe it’s crafting, or work-related, or anything else!
On the flip side of the first sheet is a quarterly grid where big events, promotions, book releases, birthdays and whatever else can be added so they’re quickly accessible.
The monthly sheets have space at the bottom to break goals down into tasks per week, and space on the reverse side for reflection. This may seem like a lot, and some months it IS a lot (and I don’t do it, but then feel a little lost like I’m sailing without a destination). It truly takes no more than 15-20 minutes. Isn’t your month worth 20 minutes?
Project Planning Printables
And because I’ll have three book releases in three years time, I created these Project Planning sheets to help me stay organized. I took the basic concept from several sources, then redesigned to suit my needs.
The project may be (a personal example): Book Release! Individual goals might have to do with the release party, printables I want to make to accompany the book, media outlets I need to contact, creation of a book trailer, and more. After setting goals, I break them down into Action Steps, the small things I need to do that together build to form the goal. I can’t just make a release party happen. I have to pick a venue, contact them, set a theme, menu, schedule, giveaways, and more. The little P next to action steps is where I set the Priority for each step. i.e., picking a venue is a bit higher on the priority list than making party foods.
What planning strategies have you tried? What works best for your annual and monthly planning? Leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to compare notes. And happy 2019!