Here we are, at the end of another year. Do you find yourself, as many do, wondering where 2017 went? Did days evaporate into weeks and months leaving you feeling perpetually behind? At the beginning of the year, did you picture yourself closer to your life goals by now than you actually are?

If that’s you, you’re not alone, but look. Here’s the big question:

What are you doing to make sure you start – and finish – 2018 strong and in charge, crushing one goal after another?

What do you want to do this coming year? Are you ready to start your own business? Buy a home? Go for that big promotion? Change careers? Lose 50 pounds? Run a marathon?

Whatever your goal, the best way to make sure you make it happen is to adopt a routine-driven lifestyle.

Having and achieving a big goal requires several things. Courage to step out of your comfort zone. Consistent effort and willingness to work. A careful focus on your goal that refuses to be distracted. A commitment to solid organization and systems.

And all these things are fueled and enabled by carefully constructed routines. Daily routines empower you by systematizing your day, ensuring progress toward your big goal without neglecting anything else.

In 2018, what routines will help you stay on top of everything instead of wasting precious time digging out from under it?

We caught up with three women who are making their big goals happen, and asked them how they are doing it. Several themes emerged to create a powerful message about systems and routines. When that kind of pattern emerges among successful people, take notice. Steal their strategies to make 2018 your best year yet!

Every morning I journal. I write my goals down, my affirmations, a number of things I am thankful for and the key actions I need to take on that day.

Charelle Griffith

Founder and Success Coach, PropelHer

They start their day with intentional thought and meditation.

“Every morning I journal,” says Charelle Griffith, founder of PropelHer, describing her morning routine. Combining journaling with meditation and visualization is a crucial facet of Griffith’s daily opener. She and others have discovered that spending several moments first thing every day thinking about and visualizing their goals helps to ensure that their actions during the day lead them progressively toward it.

Routines are foundational to the daily life and success of Reese Evans, the brains behind the entrepreneurial coaching powerhouse for women, YES Supply. Evans has learned first-hand how intentional thought can build your spirit and shape your life. “My morning routine consists of reading a positive quote to get me motivated for the day, saying a positive affirmation, and setting a goal that I want to complete that day, to help me get closer to my [longterm] goals.” And she helps other women around the globe do the same.

My morning routine includes setting a goal to help me get closer to my longterm goals. Reese Evans

Founder, Yes Supply Collective

They use a journal.

“I write my goals down, my affirmations, a number of things I am thankful for and the key actions I need to take on that day,” says Griffith, who founded PropelHer to help others break through the inertia that keeps them from their goals. Journaling is such a part of her life and success that she developed her GAGA formula to keep her focus flowing.

Reese Evans also uses her morning routine to capture the benefits of journaling. “I’ll do a daily journaling exercise which can include anything from writing a gratitude list, an accomplishment list, writing out my vision for my life, or doing a visualization or meditation.”

But journaling can be beneficial at any time, day or night, as Sara Graham of Fresh Presse has discovered. “It gets whatever I am OCD thinking about out of my head. I have woken up a few times in the middle of the night – maybe frustrated or upset about something – and when I get up and journal there is a very real relief. I go back to sleep and wake up without the crap on my mind.”

I love using Asana and Google with clients and my own business coach. I also have a sweet Kate Spade planner that I use to keep myself on track. Sara Graham

Brand Development + Communications Bossbabe, Fresh Presse

They use planning systems to keep them on track toward their goals.

If you are juggling a day job and a side hustle, you know how easy it can be to drop a ball or two. Launching a business while maintaining other commitments can be overwhelming, but those that are successful have discovered the power of planning systems to make sure the work of one doesn’t crowd out the other.

There are a number of tools available, and all of the successful women we spoke with use a combination of digital planners and good old pen and paper. “I’m a very tactile personal so I love using pen + paper,” says Evans. “For my day, I’ll write down things physically, but when I’m planning meetings, interviews, or client meetings, I’ll pop it into my Google calendar so I get a reminder at the time.” Evans also uses her digital calendar to remind others of their appointments. “As soon as I make an appointment with someone I book it into my calendar and invite them to make sure that we’re on the same page.”

Griffith also combines digital and physical planning. “I have a physical diary. It is pretty small so I can keep it in my bag. It has a week per page and on the other side I can write notes. For business I mainly use Asana to run PropelHer and keep track of what I am reading and blogging about on and other guest blogs I might be doing. I also have a whiteboard. I love the flexibility of being able to move things, wipe things off and to get an overview …of projects I am working on and upcoming launches.”

Graham has discovered the power of digital planners like Asana for business as well. “I love using Asana and Google Drive/Docs/Sheets with clients (and my own business coach).” But, just like the others, Graham has learned that a combination of digital and written planning – and a great style sense – works beautifully to balance business and personal goals. “I have a sweet Kate Spade planner that I use to keep myself on track.”

They don’t neglect their physical or mental health.

Smart entrepreneurs and productive people know that their effectiveness is hampered when their health suffers. But, like us mere mortals, they know how easy it can be to let the activity of self care take a back seat to all the other tasks of the day. So they deliberately prioritize physical activity, proper nutrition, and adequate self care, which maximizes productivity by increasing energy, clarity, and focus.

Graham starts her day with “absolutely a morning run, followed by a 20-minute combo yoga/meditation practice. Then I either make a green juice or a smoothie. Then coffee. Always.” (A girl has to have her priorities.) Griffith also adds yoga to her morning moments, and Evans makes sure she joins a yoga or barre class daily, occasionally combined with a midday nail appointment, she says, “because self-care is key.”

The best time of day for physical exercise is the time that you will consistently do it, as our experts show. What matters most is consistent attention to your physical and mental health, both of which are benefited by consistent exercise.

They write things down.

Of writing with pen on paper, Evans observes, “It helps you remember better.” Psychological studies have also shown that people are more likely to fulfill their goals successfully if they write them down.

Of course, the tools help to make the process of writing down your goals even more appealing, notes Graham. “The main things for me are to have a neat notebook, a nice pen that writes smoothly (nothing fancy or expensive) and highlighters. I love highlighters!”

Griffith observes how important a written record is to tracking your progress toward your goals as well as to remember your exact process that made it happen. “I have found sharing my inner thoughts particularly beneficial and it is great to have something to reflect back on. It has been great to be able to look back when I have achieved the goal and see when I originally set it and track the actions I took to make it come true.”

They guard their time and save it to use on what’s important to them.

Griffith capitalizes on her morning commute to read, recapturing more than two hours each week for what she enjoys. Evans uses her planning system to guard against “busy-work,” which, she says, explains why many of us “feel like you’re working really hard, but getting nothing done. Always take it back to the processes that really move the needle …and help you prioritize what’s important.”

Our experts agree that you must protect your time, not just from daily necessities – like commute time – and little thieves – like busy work – but also from distractions like social media. Social media can be beneficial, but it can also suck time from your life, and life from your time. It also has a devious way of making you subconsciously accept someone else’s priorities and standards over your own. “We often spend way too much time on social media which has a huge negative impact on productivity, and creates increased isolation and depression,” observes Evans. “My mission is to help women start their day in a positive mindset, getting more done, and focusing on where they can take their lives, rather than spending so much time peering into the lives of others.”

Prioritize with The Big 3

We at Pretty Good Planners couldn’t agree more. Which is why we’ve included our Big 3 Prioritization System in our daily spreads. Draw from your Master Task List and add to your daily list what needs to be done in every area – business, health, side hustle. Then rank their Importance and their Urgency on a scale of 1-3. Finally, multiply the Importance and Urgency scores; those that produce a 1 go on your list. Usually, that’s about three items. That’s your Big 3.

If you are still searching for the best tool to keep you on track to crushing your goals in 2018, look no further. The Healthy Habits System™ is a unique planner that helps you put all the pieces together for your health, your business, your family, and your life. If the frameworks for making your goals reality have stayed just slightly out of your reach, the Healthy Habits System™ brings them into range in an accessible, science-based system. It’s not too late to make your goals and dreams your daily reality in 2018. Click here to order your Pretty Good Planner today.

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