Have you ever bought a new planner for the new year just to watch it sit and mock you for weeks and months on end?
I was talking about this phenomenon with girlfriends recently. We gave it a name. Planner shame.
It’s nearly the end of March, and this is the time when planner shame really sets in.
It’s happened to many of us wanna-be planners. Sometimes planner shame happens with the cheap planners from a big box store. Those hurt, yes. The planner shame is real.
For some of us though, it’s with the $50 planners. The ones our friends/Facebook ads/the internet says we can’t live without. Argh. They are so pretty. The paper is thick. The covers are beautiful. The pages represent a level of productivity we all desire.
Then, life happens.
The planner sits there. Untouched. No pretty pens were used. No dates memorialized forever on elegant pages. No words of thanks were written down. Just empty pages staring back at you, mocking you, calling you a failure. (Don’t even get me started on the money wasted each untouched page represents!)
Please tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to.
I’m a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gal. I can remember dates weeks in advance. My husband often can’t fathom how I keep up with activities, school requirements, family members’ birthdays, etc. I’m also really good with rolling with the punches when I forget.
I don’t want to forget though. I want to be the person who plans. I want to be the person who tracks our life events and keeps a record of everything.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years when taking up any new habit or skill:
Buy an affordable starter option
If you are taking up a new habit or hobby, buy an affordable but quality starter option. If it’s a planner, maybe you buy a mid-range one. You get some of the bells and whistles, but you also leave the luxury brand to the masters for now.
If you eventually decide this new habit or hobby isn’t for you, then you aren’t feeling bad about wasted money or time, and you can move on in life.
Planning isn’t action
It’s so easy when you have a new goal to read all about it, shop for it, and then dream about how your wonderful new habits or hobbies will change your life. You can see it.
Yet, planning isn’t action. If you don’t take the first (likely messy) step, then you won’t ever get better. You won’t see change. You won’t form a new habit. You won’t build a new skill.
New habits and hobbies end in failure when you don’t practice.
My oldest daughter just got a new flute. We ask that she practice daily for half an hour. During this time, I’ve committed to also learning a new skill, embroidery. I don’t know if I will like it, but for half an hour every day, I’m giving it a go.
If either of us skips our practice, we won’t be getting any better. We will learn just enough to fill slightly more confident, but then, when we are challenged, we won’t learn how to overcome those challenges.
Practice is the only way to improve. We all know this, but making it happen can seem nearly impossible most days.
Yes, even with a planner, you need to practice in order for it to become a new habit. You don’t just wake up one day and start filling out pages. You need time to do it.
If you don’t practice, you can buy all the fancy tools, but you will never get to use them.
So for whatever you are wanting to learn, make time to actually practice. Set a timer on your phone, make it something you do while you drink your morning coffee/tea, or associate it with some other habit you already do daily. Give yourself time to practice.
Be willing to jump back in…imperfect and all
Let’s say you do have an untouched planner, journal, or any other tool from a hobby sitting there and mocking you for “failing” before you even got started. If you still want to learn this new hobby, then jump back in!
Stop planning. Don’t go buy any more “tools” or read any more articles on the internet on how to “get ready”. Just do it. Do it imperfectly. Do it “wrong”. Do it messy. There’s no progress if there’s no start.
Maybe you bought a course. Maybe you bought a new cookbook you’ve never opened. Maybe you have a fancy planner with mid-January through March completely empty.
Pick them back up and start today.
Be willing to quit
If you started back imperfectly, you practiced, and you still can’t bring yourself to enjoy your new habit or hobby, then be willing to quit.
We all have our skills and our strengths. You can’t do and be it all, and that’s OK.
It may be frowned upon to quit sometimes, but is it really quitting? Maybe it’s realizing who you are, what you are good at, and recognizing this simply isn’t your thing.
There’s a lot to be said for folks that fully embrace who they are and share those strengths confidently with others!
Simplify your hobbies
Simplifying isn’t just about buying less. It’s also about knowing who we are, what matters most to us, and then focusing our efforts on those important things.
Declutter the rest. Declutter the junk. Declutter the stress. Declutter the hobbies that don’t work for you.
Ditch the planner shame. 🙂
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