I hope that everyone has been having a great month & start to 2019! As promised, here is my second of three posts showing you some of the ways I use planners and journals to keep on top of things in my dance and personal life. The first post talked about The Happiness Planner and how I like to use it- if you haven’t read that one yet, you can check it out by clicking here! This post is a review of the newest method of journaling I’m using, the MiGoals 2019 diary. I bought mine from Papersmiths for £19 and you can check out more about them and where to buy on the MiGoals website.
The MiGoals diary is a diary that specifically helps you to plan and keep track of your goals. What I really like about it is that it still has all the features of a normal diary, and so this is the one that I carry with me each day and write in all of my important dates, my university assignments, my rehearsals, and things like that. I used to use my bullet journal for those things, which a lot of people do, but it does rely on you planning far enough in advance to have the spreads laid out ready for you to write things on the dates. So, for example, if I was booking something in a month or more in advance, I might not have the days laid out in which to write it. It was also very time-consuming doing monthly and weekly spreads all year round. So, even though it means carrying an extra diary, I much prefer this method!
The reason that this diary is far superior to a normal diary, and I think a wonderful option for dancers, is because it is designed to help you choose, plan out, and stick to your goals. It has really clear instructions and examples of exactly how to use the diary to get the best out of it. At the very start of the diary, you sign and date a commitment to yourself to pursue your goals as best you can that year, which I love! Then there are pages which help you to figure out which goals are best for you, and even space for a vision board.
Next there are goals pages. You write in your general short and medium term goals (1-12 weeks or 3-6 months), then break those down into key milestones, and then a to-do list of single, actionable items that will help you to achieve those goals. You can add dates to these to make sure you get them done!
I have started my year off with two main goals- you don’t want to fill all the pages straight away because you’re likely to be too distracted to make much progress on any of the goals, and because you won’t have anywhere to go from there for the rest of the year. The first goal is weight-loss related. I want to reiterate for anyone who doesn’t know, that I am an adult and I am working with a dance nutritionist to healthily achieve my ideal performance weight and shape. I strongly urge you to please NOT set weight-loss goals if you are under 18 and even if you are over that age, please seek the assistance of a qualified nutritionist. It’s much more productive for most people to focus on being healthy and strong! This is a goal that is actually very specific to me, and because I don’t want anyone else to jump into setting goals to lose weight if that’s not appropriate for them, I am not going to share that page of my goal planner. My other goal is to be able to dance a classical variation en pointe by the end of March. Some of the steps I’m going to be taking towards that goal include choosing the variation, adding feet exercises into my daily routine (to improve my strength en pointe), and looking into getting some private classes.
Next is the actual diary, and I really love how these pages are laid out. You get a monthly spread with a square for each day of the month in which to write all of your important dates at a glance. There is an area to choose a few monthly goals (I take some from my goal pages at the front and also add a couple of general ones, like number of blog posts or meditation), and there is also space to make a list of things to do which is very helpful.
Then you have a double spread page for each week, with one page setting out space for each day- this is where I write anything that’s going on that week as well as reminders to myself and my homework and assignments. On the other side, you set a focus and a specific goal for the week, and then there is a habit tracker for you to keep track of any regular habits you are trying to include. I’ve been using mine for things like drinking 3L water, stretching before bed, and morning meditation. Underneath is a big empty space which is perfect for notes and scribbles!
The design of the planner is very minimalistic. As is my usual style, I like to use coloured pens and stickers to decorate mine. You could also keep it super neat and minimalist if that’s your vibe. Or, you can ignore how it looks completely and just use it as a brain dump as needed! Don’t feel pressured to make everything aesthetically pleasing if you find it too time-consuming or not enjoyable; I’m sure you’ll still get great results from this planner no matter how it looks, as long as you use it well.
Having used this diary for about a month now, I love it for several reasons: firstly and most importantly, it really has made it easier to stick to my goals. You plan each goal out on so many levels that it becomes easy to make progress. At the start you set your big goal, and then break it down. Then from this you can add steps into your monthly goals and to-do lists that help you to plan what action to take on your goals that month. Then on a weekly level, you can choose a specific goal, focus and habits to track. Breaking it down into daily steps like that makes it easy to stay on-track. Also having it all written down in front of you every time you open your diary to check a date or write in an assignment serves as a great constant reminder to stay focused!
Secondly, I love the layout! The monthly spread is spacious enough to actually write things in it, and the weekly layout is really flexible so I can use it for all the things that I need, whether that’s shopping lists, library shelf references (if you know you KNOW) and doodles or just testing my pens!
Thirdly, I really appreciate how much time and effort this has saved me over the bullet journaling method I used last year. I was already busy and struggled to keep up with it, meaning dates and appointments got dropped and forgotten. This year so far I’m even busier, and it’s good to be able to flick ahead and just write in anything I need to schedule in for the whole year. I do still love bullet journaling, and in fact without the pressure of having to use it as my main diary, I am enjoying bullet journaling much more.
I think that this is a great choice for anyone who wants to take serious action on their goals, or who gets a bit stuck when it comes to either setting appropriate goals, or sticking to them. It’s a good option for creative and non-creative people alike, because of the flexible layout. It’s especially good for dancers, because we do need to constantly push ourselves and better ourselves. I’d also say for the same reasons that it’s an excellent diary for athletes. However anyone who is very driven to improve their life could find this a really useful tool.
Next time I’ll be giving you an insight into my bullet journal and putting together my best tips for bullet journaling for dancers!
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Until next time,
P.S. huge thanks to The Hive Café at the University of Roehampton which serves as the lovely aesthetic backdrop to these flatlays as well as top coffee providers. Find them on Instagram.