TUTORIAL: How To Use The Plan A Healthy Life Planner
Do you have your printable Plan a Healthy Life Planner? This blog post will walk you through how to use it for best results.
But keep in mind…. I want you to make it YOUR planner. Don’t be afraid to write, scribble, doodle. Don’t be afraid to change it up in a way that suits you and your personal style.
Planning a healthy and happy life should be fun!
Before you begin
Get ready to become an organizational rock star and start getting things done!
Print your planner. It is designed to be printed front-to-back on letter size 8.5x11 paper. Standard printer or copy paper is usually 20 pound paper. I like to use a heavier weight paper for my planner, and I use Hammermill 32 pound paper and order it from Amazon.
3-hole punch your planning pages and pop into a pretty 3 ring binder. You can also use a disc bound system, or even take it to an office supply store and have it coil bound. I printed my planner at home and took it to Office Depot, and it was only $5 to add a front and back cover and binding.
Now let’s rock & roll and take a peek at all the sections of your Life Planner.
Cover page and year-at-a-glance.
These pages are included in the yearly Life Planners, but not in the one-month trial versions of the Planner.
Feel free to decorate this page if it makes you happy. If being creative stresses you out, leave it alone.
The first section of your planner has calendars for the years 2019-2022 for help with future planning. Refer to these pages as needed.
This two-page spread gives you an overview of your entire year. Use this space to note holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, weddings, or other big events in the future.
Visit this page when doing your monthly planning and whenever you need to see a visual of your year all on one page.
Monthly cover pages.
Each month, January through December, has a cover page with an inspiring quote. Leave as is or decorate to your heart’s content. This YOUR planner. Personalize it to suit your style.
I add post-it tabs to each month. You can find them at a local office supply store, big box store like Target or Walmart, or on Amazon.
Monthly goal setting.
Each month has a page to record and track your goals for each month. There is space to set goals in these areas:
Personal growth or spirituality
Health & fitness
Friends & family
Home or environment
Finance and/or career
Fun, hobbies or misc.
Set goals that are meaningful to you.
Look at the six different sections and set a few goals for the month.
There is space to track three goals in each section but please don’t feel the need to set three goals in each! The different categories are simply to help you think of your many roles in life. Sometimes it might be a season to focus on your home or career. Other times health and fitness might take center stage.
Listen to your heart and choose a few goals that feel right to you.
Brainstorm action steps.
Accomplishing a goal takes more than just writing it on paper, right? You need a plan and action steps to achieve it. Use the space provided (or print an extra sheet of grid or lined paper) to brainstorm steps to make your goal become a reality.
Add action steps to your planner.
Once you brainstorm a list of action steps, add one or two at a time to your calendar. I usually plan a week in advance. (More on the actual weekly planning process below.) By adding these steps to your planner you will keep making progress toward your goals.
Track your progress.
Next to each of your goals is a progress bar. Check off or color in your progress as you work towards making them a reality. The tracker allows you to see, at-a-glance, where you stand.
Goal Planning Example:
Perhaps you have a health & fitness goal of losing 5 pounds in a month. Write that in your planner.
Then, use the grid page at the end of the month to brainstorm steps to help you reach that goal.
To lose 5 pounds your list might be:
Buy a Fitbit
Walk 10,000 steps every day
Don’t snack after dinner
Eat 5 servings of veggies every day
No sweets except on the weekend
Learn about low carb eating
Log your food every day
Weigh yourself every Monday
Find an accountability buddy
Now you have lots of ideas to help you reach your goal. But you don’t have to do all these things!! Pick a few to start.
You might choose:
buy a Fitbit
walk 10,000 steps daily
stop nighttime snacking
weigh yourself on Mondays
Now add these to your planner.
Buying a Fitbit is a one-time task you can check off your list. Add it to the “To Do” section on one of the weekly pages.
Weighing yourself every Monday needs to go on your Monday section every week this month.
But walking 10,000 steps and no night snacking are actions you want to take every day, right? These would go onto the “Daily Tasks/ Habits” section of your weekly spread. Now you can check off those tasks every single day.
Be sure to set a reward for yourself when you achieve your goal! Write that reward in your planner as well!
Monthly overview page.
Opposite the monthly Goal Setting page, is the Overview. Let’s talk about the sections…
This is self-explanatory. Write birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or important events in this section.
This is optional, but highly recommended. Challenge yourself to create a new healthy habit each month.
Brainstorm simple little challenges, like:
reading for 15 minutes every day
drinking a green smoothie
no nighttime snacking
eating 4 servings of veggies daily
going to bed at a reasonable time
writing something you’re grateful for every day
Simply write your challenge in the space provided. Then track your actions every single day. By the end of the month you will have created a new healthy habit!
I wrote a blog post all about creating monthly challenges, with lots of ideas for you: Create a New Healthy Habit in 4 Simple Steps with a Monthly Mini Challenge
I am saying “yes” or “no” to section.
To create time for the things that matter in our lives, like people and goals and self-care, we have to say “no” to some things. Maybe you need to say “no” to wasting time on social media, “no” to negative self-talk, “no” to desserts seven days a week.
At the same time, to be a healthy and happy version of yourself, you need to embrace or say “yes” to other things. This could be spending time with friends, cooking more meals at home, doing one-on-one activities with your kids.
Fill out this section with the things you want to eliminate or reduce this month, and the things you want to embrace.
My health stats.
This section is self-explanatory. It gives you space to track your weight, body fat and measurements each month.
Word of the month.
Is there a word you want to focus on this month? Such as JOY, PEACE, ABUNDANCE, or ENERGY?
Choose a word that makes your happy or inspires you or challenges you.
A word of the month is simply something to focus on. Something to help guide decisions and bring you peace and clarity.
Important to do’s this month.
Use the space at the bottom to record activities that must be done this month, like planning a birthday celebration, ordering paint for your home remodel project, buying plane tickets for a vacation,etc.
Use this calendar to note appointments, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations…. any event that is tied to a particular day.
The calendar is your month-at-a-glance, so refer to it often.
Don’t forget to have fun with colorful pens, markers, or pencils if bright colors make you happy. You planner should be something that makes you smile when you open it.
And for even more creative ideas to use your calendar, see this blog post: 51 Unique Ways to Use a Calendar You’ve Probably Never Thought Of
Weekly planning pages.
The weekly planning pages are truly the heart of your planner. These are the pages that sit open on my desk every single day. Let’s look at each of the sections and I’ll explain how I set up my planner. As always, tailor the planner to meet YOUR needs. Feel free to use the weekly pages in a way that makes sense to you.
Days of the week.
Across the top, you will see each day of the week. Simply fill in the date to the right of the day.
In the TOP section (with very faint lines) write the appointments you have each day. I use the top section only for events that have a particular time associated with them.
It could look like this:
7:30pm soccer practice
Honestly, I love when the top section is blank!
Daily To Do Section
The BOTTOM section (with the darker lines) is where you can list to do’s that must be done on a particular day. If you need to pay a bill on Thursday, write it on Thursday. If you want to vacuum on Saturday, that’s where it goes.
When you complete a daily task you can cross it out, put a check mark next to it, color over it in colored pencil, add a sticker – whatever makes you happy.
Dinner Plan and Water Tracker
Each day has space to write your dinner plan, and it includes a water tracker as well.
This box is where you write the most important tasks to be done this week. Tasks that don’t have to be done on a specific date. Tasks that are related to the goals you set for the month.
Using the weight loss monthly goal example, one of the action steps was to purchase a Fitbit. I would write “buy Fitbit” in the Goals/Priorities section. It is very important in order to reach my goal, BUT it doesn’t have to happen on a specific day of the week.
This section is where you can list household tasks or chores to be done during the week. You know, exciting things like vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, laundry, etc. Or, you could assign those items to specific days of the week.
This section is for all the things you hope to accomplish this week but don’t have to happen on a specific day.
If it’s Monday and you finish all your Monday tasks, then check the To Do section.
Having weekly To Do’s gives you flexibility to do your tasks whenever you have the time and energy.
As the name implies, this section is for tracking those tasks or habits you want to happen every day, or most days, of the week. Things like:
quality time with your kids or significant other
running the dishwasher
drinking 8 glasses of water
Use this section for habits you are trying to create, not for things you already do daily without thinking, like showering or brushing your teeth.
Don’t be afraid to schedule “me” time as one of your daily tasks. You deserve to smile each and every day.
You can also use this section to track the “Mini Challenge” habit.
Use this section to write down thoughts, ideas, appointments that need to be added to your planner in the future. If you’re at your desk and remember you need to set a dentist appointment for your child, write it here. You can then schedule that task when you have time.
Each month spend a little time wrapping up the month and preparing for the month ahead. Start by reviewing the goal setting page, then…
I am grateful for…
What are you grateful for this month? Either fill in this section at the end of the month, or jot things down as they come to you during the month.
Read through the questions listed in the planner. How did you do with the goals you set at the beginning of the month? Celebrate the ones you accomplished! If you didn’t reach a goal, was it the right goal for NOW? Should you reschedule or take it off your list?
Use this section to make notes that will be helpful now and as you set goals in the future.
Favorite memories of the month.
Jot down some of your favorite memories. Add photos, stickers, or decorative elements if you choose.
I will simplify/let go of…
What do you need to simplify or let go of before you begin a brand new month? Guilt from not achieving goals? Perfectionism? Could you set fewer goals that really touch your heart? Should you cut back on social media to make time for self-care?
Next month I look forward to…
What excites you about the coming month? Fill this out before you begin the planning process for next month.
Now that you are familiar with the different sections of the planner, let’s talk about a simple planning system. Because owning a planner does not equal getting things done, am I right?
Begin your planning process before the month begins. You can start by either writing “Monthly Planning” on your calendar (the 25th of the month works well) or set an alarm on your phone.
Grab your planner, a pen or markers, your favorite beverage, put on some happy music and do these things:
Decorate the monthly title page. (Totally optional!)
Flip to the monthly calendar page. Add birthdays, appointments, vacations, etc.
Be sure to double-check the Year at a Glance page so you don’t miss anything.
Fill in dates on the weekly planning pages.
Set monthly goals:
Fill out the goals page. Remember, you don’t have to choose 3 goals in each area! Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick a few goals that are meaningful to you this month.
Using the space at the bottom of the page (or print additional grid or lined paper), brainstorm the steps necessary to help you achieve your goals.
Add one or two tasks from each goal onto the weekly planner. (Most likely these would go under the weekly “To Do” section or “Daily Tasks/Habits.”)
Complete the monthly overview page:
Will you do a monthly mini challenge? Decide on your challenge and then add that task to your weekly pages as a reminder.
Fill in the “saying yes” and “saying no” section. What things can you add to make this month happy and healthy? What do you need to eliminate or reduce in your life?
Fill in your weight and measurements if you choose to track those stats.
What is your word of the month? Write it here.
Here is my simple system for the weekly planning:
Start planning on Saturday or Sunday before the week begins.
Start by reviewing your monthly goal setting page, monthly overview and monthly calendar. Now….
What appointments do you have this week? Write them under the appropriate day of the week.
Are there any tasks that absolutely must happen on a certain day this week? Add them on that particular day.
What’s for dinner? Add it to the weekly plan.
What are your Goals/Priorities? These are the tasks or projects you will accomplish no matter what and these are the tasks you will focus on early in the week. See your goal setting pages for ideas.
What tasks do you want to accomplish around the house? Add them to the Home section.
What are other tasks you want to do this week but are not priorities? Add these to the To Do section.
Look at the Daily Tasks/Habits section. What habits or tasks will you track this week? The daily habits can be related to business, home, health, or anything you wish. Think about your goals when selecting these tasks.
Now you have your roadmap for the week. It’s time to get to work!
Keep your planner in plain sight.
Keep your planner where you will see it every single day. Multiple times per day, actually.
I don’t carry mine with me, but I keep it open on my desk – to the weekly planning pages. The weekly plan is your roadmap.
End of week and end of month review.
End of week review.
Remember how planning starts before Monday morning? Before you plan for next week, double-check your current week. Here’s how:
Check off any completed tasks. You did get the Top Priorities done, right? Yay!
Do you need to add any incomplete tasks to next week? Or can they be eliminated for now?
Are there any tasks in the Future Planning section that can be planned for the upcoming week?
NOW do your planning for next week, using the eight steps listed above.
End of month review.
Before you begin a new month, look at the past month. Did you hit your goals? Why or why not? Is there anything you want to change? Add? Simplify?
Fill out the Monthly Review section in your planner.
Rinse and repeat.
The system is simple – and effective – if you follow it. So be sure to:
Start monthly planning before the month begins.
Start weekly planning before the week begins.
Check your Weekly Plan first thing in the morning. It is your roadmap for the week.
Look at your plan multiple times throughout the week to stay on track.
Do a quick weekly review.
Plan for the following week.
I hope you love your Life Planner as much as I do. Customize it to fit your needs. And use it to plan a happy, healthy and AMAZING life!
And don’t forget to check out the Plan a Healthy Life Shop for other fitness and healthy living printables.
Don’t forget to PIN this post so you can find these helpful instructions in the future!
Are you a busy lady (like me) who really, really wants to live a healthy life? I get it because I’m obsessed with living my best life too. Here you’ll find simple ideas and strategies to plan a healthy and happy life.
I’m Jacqui, by the way, and I’m the crazy busy lady behind Plan A Healthy Life.