January 17 2018
Renee DeMarsh thrives on extreme physical challenges. She'll soon participate in the 2018 World Marathon Challenge.
I am a Type A personality (with a small bit of OCD to boot), which means that one of my favorite things to do is to read about productivity, organization and more. Sometimes, that means I am less productive because I am reading about how best to get my life together—but I’m working on that.
After all of that research, I am here to share some of the best planners, calendars, books and websites to help you get in gear this year and accomplish those big goals you’ve set for yourself. And because many of these require daily or monthly check-ins, they will keep you on track so you can readjust as needed.
TRY: Volt Planner with Notes—Undated by Ink + Volt ($29.50)
Formerly the Spark Notebook, Ink + Volt has created a clear way to set both a yearly theme, create and track monthly goals and even celebrate your big wins along the way. Though they do have a planner specifically for 2017, I prefer this undated version because you can pick it up and start it anytime during the year (just be prepared to fill in the dates on the monthly calendar by hand).
The planner contains a 30-Day Challenge you set for yourself each month (mine at the moment is tracking my time for the next month so I have a clear picture of what I am dedicating my time to and what may need some more attention), a space for Weekly Goals so you can work toward that challenge and keep a clear t0-do list and even a Weekly Outlook so you can make sure you schedule yourself some time to work toward it all.
TRY: No Days Off Calendar by Tracksmith (Free, Just Pay Shipping)
I will admit, I have always been a bit skeptical about streak calendars. Tracksmith quickly changed my mind with their No Days Off Calendar (which I heard about thanks to reading The Morning Shakeout).
Not sure you can run every single day this year? Easy solution! Join me in a run/walk streak. All I have committed to do is go for a run or a walk—intentionally, not just moving about the house during daily tasks—every day. That way, if I am on vacation and absolutely cannot get a full run in, I can go for a short walk without beating myself up (because things happen). On my calendar, I am doing an ‘/’ for walk days and ‘X’ for run days. I can still celebrate the days I get out for a run, but don’t count out the work I am putting in getting out and moving while walking, too.
TRY: Pain and Pleasure Lists (DIY!)
After working with a nutritionist at the end of last year, I have learned a lot about motivation and what gets us working toward certain goals. The answer? Pain or pleasure. Let’s use the example of working out. If you are motivated by avoiding pain, your list may include that by not working out, you may potentially gain weight or you may lose strength you’ve already built. If you are motivated by pleasure, your list may include that when you do work out, you are more likely to lose weight and have the ability to get a good night’s sleep.
I am more motivated by pleasure, which I didn’t find out until I made pain and pleasure lists for a lot of daily goals, such as waking up earlier or eating healthy. You can simply make these lists in Excel, Word or Google Docs and just have two columns—or one, if you already know which one will help—and can print them out and put them somewhere you will see them as a reminder. My list for waking up early is taped to my nightstand so I see it when I open my eyes.
This will not only help you know what type of motivation you need, but can help you get a little bit more clear on why you want to achieve certain goals.
TRY: My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr ($15)
I know, you probably expected to see Marie Kondo here. However, if you don’t have a total rehaul to do on your house, this book by Jolie Kerr is one of my favorites. If you want to know the best methods for cleaning virtually anything—in a humorous, non-boring way—then this is for you.
For example, she has an easy-to-follow chart for cleaning six different types of flooring. She shares how to clean your eye and lip pencil sharpeners. You’ll learn exactly what to do with those bras that require hand washing. You’ll even find out seven beauty items that can also clean things in your house (hairspray can get rid of pen stains!).
Getting organized is great, but knowing how to actually clean things as you do it (versus just spreading dust around) is key.
TRY: 10 Percent Happier (Free and Paid Options)
I first learned about this website when watching a documentary on minimalism. It was created by Dan Harris—a journalist you may know from ABC News and Good Morning America—after he suffered a panic attack live on air.
Looking for a way to destress, Harris discovered meditation and found that while it didn’t completely change his life, it did make him 10 percent happier (hence, the name of the site). He says his wife would say he is still 90 percent idiot (ha!) but if you are looking at an approachable guide to meditation, this is it.
You won’t find any ‘woo woo’ or promises of a complete life overhaul, just down-to-earth, practical tips on how to meditate and be more mindful.