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The first month of a new year is an opportune moment for self reflection, goal setting for the 12 blank chapters that wait to be filled as the year progresses, and a chance to look back at the previous year and work out what was great, what was not so great and what direction to choose as we move forward with purpose into the year ahead.
I think it may be my age (43) but I’m much less interested these days in the practical ‘to do’ busyness of getting things done that used to drive me and much more interested in how things feel, and savouring each moment rather than skipping over them without noticing. I still accomplish as much in practical terms – I have two children to look after and this alone means that I can’t afford to let things slide, but as I have moved through life so far, racking up achievements and life lessons – meeting the goals I set myself when younger and failing at others, my future goals these days are more in tune with how things feel and what motivates me internally rather than any external validation.
I have made a planner purchase this year to help me with this philosophy. It is a ‘meaty planner’ – it weighs quite a bit, so it is best kept at home rather than carrying around in a handbag, but this itself lends the planner to the intimacy that you would have with it – this planner is there for you to capture and work out your thoughts in privacy. It is a very tactile book – the cover is a lovely thick hardback with some texture as you run your hands over it. It has a sturdy gold spiral bind and a black elastic paper keeper designed into the back of the book to hold down your place and it has a page a day, giving you plenty of room to work. It is called ‘The Desire Map Planner‘ and it is available on Amazon.
The Desire Map Planner comes from Canadian author, speaker and entrepreneur Danielle LaPorte. I’ve followed her work for years, she speaks my truth in a way that no other self help ‘guru’ has. She is 100% real and whole. She is inspirational and also vulnerable. A winner and a failure; a motivated ‘go getter’ and also a person who values stillness and contemplation. There is no ‘all or nothing’ with her – she just ‘is’. I like that. I recognise that in myself too. Why shouldn’t we all want a rich life full of contradictions and personality? I can aim to scale heights in my career and also want a strong pair of arms around me at night.
Personality wise I tend toward the positive. I prefer to try to see the silver linings, the bright side and find the lessons in the pain. This is the way I cope with life – I don’t deny the bad stuff but I try to make it meaningful in some way. That is what keeps me afloat. What I like about Danielle LaPorte and her books and planners is that she is like that too. I do read other self help authors but they can sometimes come across like they haven’t had a down day in years. The pages of the Desire Map planner acknowledge that there are things in life that we may want or need to change, and encourages you to note down what you don’t want to continue as much as what you do want to manifest. Here is a screenshot of the blank pages from the start of the month.
This planner is a tool to help you nurture your skill of foresight. We all acknowledge that hindsight is a wonderful thing and what we’d do differently given the time over again. However this planner offers up soul prompts, so you can tune in to how you are feeling in the moment, asks you what your core desired feelings are that day (this could be anything from connectedness to forgiving to artistic to centred) and that acts as an internal driver as to the thoughts and actions you’d need to cultivate that day to get there. Alongside the searching questions are practical ones like the ‘To-do’ area where you list your tasks, but right next to the word ‘To-do’ is a different message ‘make choices that liberate you’ or ‘imagine’, so even in the constructive you can be enlightened.
You don’t have to have read Danielle LaPorte’s book The Desire Map to use this planner, but I did love that book too and it is immensely useful in learning what exactly is behind the goals you set yourself. Sometimes we say we want something when actually what we want is another. We don’t do this on purpose – we actually think we want whatever it is we have set for our goal, it seems like the logical way to get from A to B to C but what really drives us, our emotions, are free from logic. Haven’t you ever achieved the goal you set out to achieve and it wasn’t quite what you thought it would be when you got there? It didn’t tick all those boxes we thought it would? This is because we used thought and logic to set the goals, when what we wanted was a feeling. Whether that be freedom, accomplishment, feeling whole, lightness, respect, security or something else. The Desire Map planner and the book help you discover what those driving feelings are – and they are different for everyone, so we all have to do our own excavations.
I bought this planner to put my own truth onto the agenda this year. I am a woman first and foremost, not ‘just a mum’ or ‘just a wife’. There is a part of my life that is taken up with service to others; kids, husband, work, running a home etc, but my life is also about what I want and soaking up all that the world has to offer. The phrase ‘I am a human being, not a human doing’ is relevant here. This planner has helped me discover what I am ultimately aiming for to produce the joy that I want, and that can actually mean doing less rather than more – to get there.
Planners, journals and diaries are such a useful tool in a busy life to stay organised and do what we want and need to do, but they are not just for box ticking jobs. The Desire Map Planner is a unique instrument you can use to help put your soul into the goals, which I believe is much more important than simply ‘doing the do’.
Here are the various colours currently available on Amazon. I have the teal & gold one – I loved the appearance and how it looks like the earth from space – or the tide mounting a sandy beach. Even when this year is over and the pages are filled, this 2018 planner will provide a useful and enjoyable resource to look back on and enjoy in the years to come.
Have you ever used The Desire Map Planner or do you have another tried and tested form of journalling that you would recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.