I’ve used planners since I was a teenager — first DayTimers and then Franklin Covey for the past several decades. I had a schedule and did classic time management: goals, steps to those goals, and a schedule including those steps. I adjusted that a bit when I learned about GTD, and then I became interested in habits. Last year I discovered the decorated planner movement, which has turned out to be ideal for habit tracking.
One set of habits I track is my diet and fitness habits. These made it possible for me to lose 60 pounds last year and I hope to lose another 40 this year, once I get past the landing I’m on right now and continue down the stairs. I have six habits in this category:
- 8 glasses of water
- planning meals (breakfast and lunch are automatic, so that’s really just planning dinner)
- tracking the Evil Six
- 5 a day(fruits and veg — though it should really be 9 a day)
- strength (weights or circuit training)
I have yet to find the perfect planner sticker to track those six things.
Here I have hydration and exercise in the sidebar, Fitbit step tracking, and meal plan combined with a pretty 5 a day from Dook Plook designs. I can use multiple stickers in a mishmash like this in many different ways, but it seems chaotic rathger than systematic. Of course, I am also including reminders to floss, care for my skin and put on make-up, get enough sleep, and study all in quite a small space..
Here is the Dook Plook tracker sticker, with hydration, meal planning, A & B which I am treating as cardio and strength, and Evil 6 (“syns” — something from a British version of Weight Watchers, which is coincidentally in groups of 15, my weekly limit for the Evil 6). No 5 a day, and I actually added their Steps stickers here as well, plus some weight lifting icons, because apparently I hadn’t yet thought about how to use A & B. I put some 8-a-day (which is more correct than 5-a-Day) up the page a ways, so everything is covered, but not as efficiently. The measurement tracker is also from Dook Plook.
This is that Dook Plook sticker again with their 5 a day as well. This covers everything, and does so almost all in one box.
Here I have, counting from the bottom up, hydration, meal plan, Evil 6 for the week on Monday, exercise on the other days, 5 a day, and a heart for cardio, all stacked up as Little Things. Less tidy and more effort to arrange, but it covers everything.
Here’s one from Sevin Designs, with meals and hydration, cardio and strength. I can put 5 a day and Evil 6 trackers in the sidebar or in the half box just above this tracking sticker. I could also cover the breakfast and lunch with 5 a day and Evil 6 trackers, using the Little Things boxes as seen in the previous image. I could do that with the Dook Plook fitness tracker as well, actually. Or I could ask either of these studios if they would make me a custom fitness tracker box sticker. Or I could create one for myself, because I am a DIY kind of gal.
By the end of the year I should have all my fitness habits in a perfect checklist for tracking.
Does it make a difference? Yes. I am not perfect yet on most of these items, but I consistently make the effort and achieve about 85% success if I have the checklist for accountability. The arts and crafts aspect is a plus for me, so I don’t mind the time involved, whereas I would not take the trouble just to write those things down in my planner every day (I know — I tried that).