The desire for change and growth seems to be hardwired in each of us. It’s part of the human condition. We can’t remain stagnant without feeling stuck. Instead, we look ahead and determine where we want to be and what it will take to get there.
Yet, some changes can be tough. It’s true that old habits are hard to break. So how do we overcome unwanted behaviors that are holding us back? Sometimes the best solution is to fight a habit with a habit.
Join us throughout the month of March for our 21-Day Planner Challenge, where we’ll offer tips and encouragement to help you get closer to your goals. By now you know that the little things make the biggest difference. Taking a few quiet moments each day to plan will enable you to start each day in the right direction. And just moving in the right direction feels great.
This month, focus on a habit you’d like to change, write it in your planner, and let’s work together to change it.
Use the 21-Day Planner
The 21-Day Planner is a great catalyst for change. It fits perfectly in your planner binder or your bag, and it includes great reminders such as the Productivity Pyramid and the Time Matrix to help you determine the most effective use of your time. It also offers a weekly and daily format so you can decide which works best for you.
It takes at least 21 days to form a habit, certainly longer than that to solidify positive behavior. But you’ll be surprised at what you can do in just three short weeks. The 21-Day planner is a great supplement to your yearly planner because you can use it to focus on one specific area. It’s the ideal way to replace unwanted behaviors with better habits.
Keep yourself accountable by tracking your progress. Mark your planner each time you successfully act on your plan. Taking note of your success will motivate you to do more. Most Franklin Planners have a Daily Tracker designed specifically to help you follow your progress toward your goals. It feels great to see your successful efforts noted in ink in your planner.
Don’t just stop—replace.
Even little habits are strong. It can be intimidating to stop them cold turkey. Instead, try replacing unwanted behaviors with better ones. Erasmus of Rotterdam has said, “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”
He’s right. Here are a few common examples.
Unhealthy Snacking -> Healthy Snacking
If you have a habit of visiting the vending machine halfway through the day, place an apple next to your car keys at night so you’ll have a healthier alternative on hand when the cravings come. Replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks is far easier than replacing unhealthy snacks with no snacks. Add the Health and Fitness Tracker to your planner, and keep track of all the healthy nutrition you’re adding to your life each week.
Eating Out Regularly -> Bringing Food From Home
We all know that eating out is expensive. The average fast food lunch costs around $7.00 and is usually less than ideal in terms of nutritional value. If you buy your lunch five days per week, you’ll spend $35.00 weekly. The average person works about 50 weeks per year, bringing your total lunch expenses to $1,750.00 annually. Imagine what you could do with that money! Read More >
TV Binge Watching -> Reading More Books
Watching TV and reading books are both sedentary activities, but reading engages your mind, awakes your imagination, and broadens your vocabulary. If you’re unhappy with how much time you spend in front of a screen—whether it’s a television, computer monitor, tablet, or smart phone—replacing a portion of that time with a good book will be highly rewarding. The world is loaded with interesting books. Read More >
Sitting All Day -> Exercise/Movement
Do you sit at a desk all day? Do you have a commute on top of that? Chances are, you’ve felt some of the effects. Low back pain, sore wrists, and a stiff neck are only the beginning. Sitting for extended periods of time can damage your nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Read More >
Drinking Soda -> Drinking More Water
We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. As it turns out, diet soda isn’t any better. A 2014 study found that consuming too much added sugar increases your risk of dying from heard disease, even if you aren’t overweight. Also, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that older adults who drank diet soda daily for nearly a decade experienced almost triple the increase in waist size compared to those who never drank it. Read More >
Workaholic -> Work/Life Balance
It’s true—you can have too much of a good thing. There is a certain high that comes with a job well done. Accomplishments can be addicting. Of course, for many of us the reason we work late has more to do with our workload than our egos. Either way, your planner can help you replace those late hours at the office with family time, time enjoying hobbies, or simply more rest. Read More >
Staying Up Late -> Healthy Sleep
Does it feel like you’re always running behind? Chances are you aren’t getting enough healthy sleep. The best way to start fresh in the morning is to get to bed at a decent hour each night. If you’re in the habit of staying up with the owls, this may take a while to correct. You can do it. Read More >
Unproductive Chaos -> Focused Daily Progress
Life comes at us surprisingly fast. Sometimes big events in the distance seem far away—until they aren’t. When life charges at us, we have little choice but to react. We jump, run, and grab whatever we can. That’s an exhausting way to get through the day. Read More >
If you don’t have a planner, pick up a 21-Day planner and see what daily focused effort can do for you.
You can do this!
As you take a few quiet minutes each day to plan your activities, you’ll begin to take control of the chaos in your life. You’ll plan for the big events while they’re still far off, and be prepared when they arrive. You’ll discover that you have more control over your life than you thought. And you’ll realize that your Franklin Planner is the perfect tool to help you make the most of it. Good luck with our 21-Day Challenge. Plan on making the next 21 days amazing.