Today, you are going to pull out that planner that you didn’t really use in 2016. Or the planner that you bought for the new year. Or your Google calendar. Or a notebook.

But you’re not going to use it to plan for the future.

You’re going to use it to build awareness.

Every day, write in your planner about 3 times:

  • Around 11am,
  • Around 3pm,
  • Before bed

What you’re going to write is what you did that day.

That’s it. Break it down by hour if your planner breaks it down by hour. Add in your goals (after the fact–looking back–in hindsight) if there is a “goals” section in your planner. Basically, you’re going to be using the planner in the way that you eventually want to use it. But you’re going to use it to enter in the concrete things that have already happened.

What’s the point?

Using your planner to keep track of what has already happened has several purposes:

You become aware of your day.

Sure, you probably have an idea of how your day goes. You know you spend too much time staring aimlessly at your phone. You know that you could make time for self-care. But unless you are writing it down and quantifying what you do, you also probably have no idea of the extent of all of this. When you write it down, you  may be surprised that your Facebook scrolling literally takes up 2 hours of your day. Quantifying your time in an honest way makes it impossible to lie to yourself.

You see where changes can be made.

If you just have a vague idea of your life, it’s hard to note where real changes could be made. Sure, you tell yourself about the generic changes you want to make: Less guilt, more exercise. However, once you see it all in front of you, you’ll see where the guilt is coming from. Or maybe you’ll notice that you have no reason to feel it in the first place. You’ll see where the real changes can be made–the ones that will actually improve your life instead of the ones that will waste your time.

You practice keeping up with the routine.

Keeping a planner can be a hard routine to implement, especially if you’ve never been able to stick to it before. Starting by writing down what you’ve already done is a foolproof way to get into the habit of writing in it. It’s also a great way to determine if that’s the right kind of planner for you.

You change your behavior.

You can change your mindset all you want, but if you don’t change your actions, you’ll never change your life. Doing this is probably something you’ve never done before. That means that you’re creating new neural pathways by doing it. You’ll learn. You’ll grow. You’ll change.

So go grab something to write with, and start keeping track of your day.

Join the MYP Powerhouse Collective –a real mom’s group, where you can talk about yourself and get support for getting your shit together. Share with us what you’ve noticed about your life as it is right now.