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Pressed for time? Listen to this topic on The Life Coach Lifeline Podcast.

I have a confession to make.

I love a new planner or notebook more than anything! There is something about the limitless possibilities that the pad of drawing paper can become. It has been this way since I was a child. The way to my heart is through the stationery aisle in target.

Here’s the rub though, when I get a new planner I tell myself that “this is it” - this is THE THING that is going to change my life. I’m going to get really really regimented and perfect my routines so that everything happens “just so” and I get whatever “it” is.

Seriously, for a majority of my life I have lived by the idea that the secret to success is found in my ability to plan and put my life down on paper.

The truth is that I have found a lot of success in my life, but it was 100% NOT because of my planner. In fact, I usually tackle a planner for a good month and then it kind of fades away in the background.

I used to think this was a sign that I couldn’t “hack” it. That I was a quitter and give up easily. But now I know the truth.

If it takes more than a month of checking off your routines, you are too reliant on outside influence and need to work on internal motivation.

I was, in fact, the opposite of a quitter. I learned how to make my routines part of my daily rhythm and didn’t need the planner and the little checkboxes to remind me of that for more than about a month.

Y’all this is why my planner download is only for one month. If you commit to a month and really hit it hard, the things that you need in your life will stick!! And when you find yourself falling back into some bad habits, just reprint the planner and commit to a month of routines and reminders.

And, once these routines become rhythms, you just live your life doing those things that make you successful!

Sticking to a planner with nothing but routines for your whole life leaves you in a place of thinking “I can’t function without it” and the mentality that you NEED a planner to become what you want to become!!

If you really think about it, you can already see the problem. If you have plugged in to even the most basic personal development by now, you know that your brain believes what you tell yourself.

When we live and die by forced routines our subconscious can’t make sense of what it is like to live without them. In a worse case scenario, it can lead to total paralysis where NOTHING gets done without that external influence.

What if we allow ourselves to believe that we can create a rhythm in our life based on routines that we want to accomplish that will get us closer to our goal?

A rhythm is an objective or list of objectives that you want to accomplish, but with flexibility on the when and even the how.

So how does living by rhythm look and feel different??

Story time…

I can remember when we first had children (and started hanging out with other parents) and noticed two “camps” of parenting. There was the routine camp that would say things like “my kids HAVE to go to bed at 7:30pm or they won’t function”. Then there was the rhythm camp that said things like “my kids have a nightly routine where they take a bath, brush their teeth, read a story and go to sleep”.

My husband and I had a really hard time deciding which was best. Then we considered our kids. They have no concept of time. They need around 10 hours of sleep. We have a concept of time. We know what is in store the next day.

It was clear to us that rhythms would be a better fit for our parenting style. We could ebb and flow with our lives but still keep them on track and primed for the “next thing”. For instance, our end of day is anything BUT a routine. Sometimes I have clients so we eat early and my husband is taking them on a bike ride after dinner. On another day we may have had a late lunch and dinner is pushed back until its dark outside. And we WANT this flexibility. We want to be able to do the things and have fun while also helping our kids ease into bedtime.

So, instead of having a bedTIME they have a bedtime rhythm. They know that, once bathtime hits the next step is pajamas, brushing teeth and bedtime stories.

How do we know if we need a change?? How do we know if we are living by our routines??

Consider how you feel when you use a planner with habit/routine check offs. (like this one) What happens when you don’t complete all of your daily checks?

Do you feel like a failure? If yes, then you are probably living by routine.

Do you look at it as a learning experience and figure out how they can fit into your life more easily tomorrow? If yes, then you are probably living by rhythm.

The moral of all of this?? Don’t buy a new planner this year. If you really think you need a kickstart of your habits, download my planner here and get started on the right foot.

THIS WEEK’S LIFEWORK: This is going to sound weird, but download the planner and just see what happens over a week. At the end of every day check off what was done. This is an indicator of what is important to you. Then look at how it naturally fits into your life. Maybe start with something that you do when you wake up and something you do when you go to bed that will naturally signal your body into a rhythm.

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