Getting the Most From Your Planner

Kelly Kissane

One of the very first things I require all my clients to purchase is a planner. It is a non-negotiable must!  The information we keep in the planner needs to be easy to get to, kept all in one place (one planner), and in a format that makes sense to the user.  I like to break down the information that we keep in the planner into three sections:

Section 1

Your “Why”. Why are you doing this right now – what is your motivation? Your “why” can be one word or one paragraph.  The best time to write up your “why” is at the start of your journey. I would suggest that you write this in big bold print in a place where you will see it all the time.  Maybe you write it on the inside cover of your planner.  Maybe you write it on a sticky note right on the cover itself. Maybe you write it across the top of the calendar page for that given month. For most people their “why” is going to change periodically so writing it out at the start of a new month might be a good way to go. The important thing is to keep it within sight and keep it relevant.

Next we want an area where you can list out your goals.  These goals help you to achieve your “why”.  If you’re working with a trainer the two of you will set these together.  The important thing about goals is to make them realistic and achievable. You must break down your goals into steps or smaller goals and list them out individually.  For example, if your goal is to master a push-up on your toes, you start by mastering a wall push-up, then master a modified push-up, then advance to a full body push-up.  Small steps can be less daunting and when reached, highly motivational. You will most likely be re-evaluating your goals often.  Adding and subtracting from this list is normal.  Nothing is set in stone. 

This same section might be a good place to list your most recent fitness test/assessment results and your goals for your next fit test. It’s important to have this information handy so you can track your progress.  There will be times on your journey when you don’t see progress but the progress is there and comparing fit test results is a great way to see what you’ve accomplished.

Section 2

Designate an area in the planner for your current warm up and current workout(s). Divide this space into two sections: What was planned, and what was actually done. Keep information on every work out you do.  The planner we carry (which is made by hand in the USA by Icey Designs) has a large space for every day of the week.  One week of entries is listed on one page making it easy to jot down notes from today, the plan for tomorrow, and to review yesterday. Jot down what you did and how it went.  How did you feel? This section is often a mass of scribbles, smiles, frowns…

Section 3

It’s important to also have an area for nutrition information. How are you doing with food? Keeping track of what you ate can give you valuable information that can be used to explain an awesome workout or shining a light on a bad one, seeing progress or slow progression. Keeping this information daily and organizing it near your workout information might help to connect the two. This is information is used as a tool not as a guilt trip.

Each person uses their planner differently and makes it their own, but their value is the same for us all.  Information is power!