As soon as I heard about the happiness planner, I knew I needed one.
Currently, I am on a break from therapy as a challenge to see if I can maintain my current good mental state all by myself. The happiness planner fit so well into what I have been doing with my counsellor in CBT to work through my anxiety disorder. Focusing on the positives? Increasing my resiliency to uncertain situations? Focusing on developing better/more useful habits*? Managing my diet better? Yes and yes and yes and yes.
I decided, after much deliberation, to get the 100 day planner.
I was so excited when it came through the post. I must admit that when I opened it and inspected it though that I was not 100% impressed with the quality of it – the blue cover had some weird white speckles and a couple of feint scratches. Inside, the printing is good, but the paper is fairly average quality. If you are quite heavy handed like me, the words sink through quite easily. (A problem solved by writing in pencil for me, then after the smudging got ridiculous, some fine liners have been doing the trick.) Also, I found a typo. Just the one, but still. At the price I paid, I was expecting perfection. OK, but it’s the contents that matters overall. And this is where it delivers.
The planner begins with a series of exercises to identify the things that makes you happy and what you are grateful for, but also what makes you unhappy and frustrated. It encourages you to think about why you are doing the planner and what you hope to get out of it. It encourages you to write about your dreams and goals, and the achievements you have made. The 100 days then begins.
Each seven days begins with a weekly schedule, with sections for each day as well as a notes section. I use this notes section to write down my daily goals, most of them in line with my therapy. Each day then has its own page with an inspiring quote and several sections to fill in to prepare for the day, and then end it. The planner gives you the following to fill in-
- What are you excited about today?
- What do you want to focus on today?
- Meals and exercises
- To dos
- What were the positives about the day?
- What are your hopes for the next day?
I find that one A5 page for each day can be enough, but a lot of the time I find myself wishing for more space. I would love a bigger notes section in particular – so that if I really want to work through some thoughts I would have room to. As it is, some days I find myself cramming the words in the margins and well, it looks messy. I’d love a full page for the notes. Yes, it would make the dairy fatter. This could impede carrying it around. But I already find it a bit heavy to carry around anyway. I sometimes take it with me to fill out on the train home from work, but mostly I keep it at home.
At the end of the week there is a chance to review the week – both good and bad, and write down your hopes for the next week.
I enjoy taking a little time each evening to fill out my planner and I like the way it forces you to think of something positive, to take notice of that small thing that made you smile on an otherwise crappy day, which can make all the difference. I like being able to track my meals. And to be able to tick off my to-dos. I’m only on week two so is too early to say if I’ll make it the whole hundred days, but right now I’m finding this a useful tool in my fight against anxiety.
*Checking the windows are locked five times every morning for instance, is not a useful habit.