Goals versus resolutions: making lasting change for 2018

This week, the last in December, is the Sunday night of the year – we think about incomplete homework, regret the pizza we ate and generally muster the will to do things differently, not starting right now (hey, it’s Christmas, kind of, still) but tomorrow.

Many of us will be making resolutions for the year. Maybe you’re here because one of yours is to check out this whole BuJo thing. One of the questions my non-planning friends often ask me is how to get started, so I wanted to write a little about what I’ve learned about how to make resolutions stick for more than the first three weeks of January.

Make them specific

Did you write down “lose weight” or “get organised”? Those are great impulses. But they need a plan behind them! Try thinking about what you will do differently, and how to narrow it down. So instead of “lose weight”, you might have “lose 10 kilos by July and improve my diet and fitness”. Notice I added a timeframe – this helps us to break it down into mini-goals (that’s only 1.5 kilos a month! Already feels more manageable.)

Turn them into actions

If you’ve now turned “get organised” into “have a home environment that feels tidy and under control, and start using a planner to help me manage my time better”, that’s already a great start. The next thing to consider is what actions you can take, immediately and in future, that will help you achieve your goal. You might decide that your collection of t-shirts from 1998 is the first thing on the hit list, so make that your “now” action and add “burn N-Sync tshirts” to your to do list the next day. If ultimately you want to go from “piles of semi-vintage stained clothing shoved into drawers” to “capsule wardrobe of curated pieces that a French chick would wear” this year, think about also planning to deal with other wardrobe items/areas by month. As an aside, check out the KonMari method if hoarding is in your nature.

Think about rewards

Psychologically we’re much more likely to willingly do tasks if they are rewarding. That’s why I always remember to buy cheese, but not always postage stamps. Cheese is gratifying. So go ahead and bargain with your inner three year old. If you successfully do a morning gym session, can you reward yourself afterwards with a coffee? If you burn your NSync tees, can you buy one classy Breton tee for your brand new capsule wardrobe? These don’t have to be costly – I also bribe myself with a long bath after endurance training, for example. (I know. I am super fun.)

Make the right ones

This one might be a bit controversial, but take a good critical look at your list, especially if you’re an optimist. Can you really learn falconry as well as paying off your mortgage in one year? Have you allowed for things to go wrong, and have you made sure you can schedule all the things you want to do? If falconry is a must, are you prepared to not watch television and expose yourself to Game of Thrones spoilers the next day for the love of the bird craft? Timeframes can be helpful to make sure these are realistic and achieveable for you.

If you’ve considered all these aspects, you’re much more likely to succeed in your goals – I wish you all every happiness and success for the year ahead, and thanks as always for reading!

PP x

Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads: How to Set Up Your Weekly Plan

Ryder Carroll doesn’t really work with the weekly spread in the formal Bullet Journal method, but personally it’s probably the most key part of my goal setting and planning routine. Partly this is because I am a total perfectionist and have a real tendency faced with the first few ‘imperfect’ days of a month’s achievements to lose focus – basically, I love a fresh start and the more frequent reflection and tracking of a weekly routine works really well for me. Also, I generally have time for bujo and reflection on Sundays, so it works really well.

I still set monthly goals and I use a bigger monthly habit tracker, as I showed you in my Monthly spreads and how I use them post, but for me the weekly spread is the really crucial bit. I used to just do weekly pages for appointments and tasks, but over time I’ve evolved a format that works for me. I make sections for work, fitness and balance and set a couple of key objectives for each.

I use the balance section for anything that helps me with my annual goal to get a better work life balance: mindfulness, travel for fun, hiking plans, and even key life admin stuff – I also set goals for my content here and on Instagram in this section.

In the Events section, I then list events by day – I travel a lot for work so this helps me see at a glance how and where I achieve my goals. Routine meetings don’t make it into my weekly events section – just those meetings that either take a big chunk of time or for whatever reason need extra preparation or focus. I use a timeline in my daily pages to keep track of more routine meetings and appointments – I’ll do a separate post on dailies and the running to do list!

I also have a specific section for relationships I want to work on that week – this is a huge help in making sure I give focus not just to goals and actions but also making time for friends, family and colleagues. Finally, I use a smaller weekly habit tracker to track daily progress on the little things I want to emphasise – sleep, steps, eating enough vegetables, ending my day feeling like I’ve helped people around me, and workouts are all examples of habits I’ve tracked weekly recently.

Lastly, it wouldn’t feel like a spread without some colourful illustrations and a motivational quote or two – I always love checking into a colourful spread on a Monday and starting to fill in those habit boxes!

I’d love to hear more about weekly spreads that work for you – let me know how you set up your week in the comments!

PP x

Overcoming procrastination

I’m not a natural at Getting Sh*t Done. If I’m excited about something I have no problem cracking on with it, but I definitely have tasks that I migrate from day to day and week to week in my journal.


Here are some top tips that have helped me overcome my urge to put off my purchase orders, expenses, invoices and generally shitty but necessary jobs list.

The “should I be doing this” model. In one of my first office jobs I was a researcher for a team of headhunters with big egos and bigger lists of jobs they wanted to delegate to me. My then-boss taught me a great model for prioritising which really stuck with me.

  • Ask yourself – should you be doing this? i.e. is the task necessary? What will happen if it doesn’t get done? I’m a total perfectionist but this question alone helps me eliminate about 30% of my “ooh, it would be really great if…” tasks.
  • Now ask the question again. Should you be doing this? Is it even your job? Are you best placed? Or is someone farming something out to you because you are a people pleaser/soft touch? You don’t have time to please people by accomplishing their work – you are busy pleasing your boss by accomplishing yours!
  • One last time. Should you be doing this? At this moment in time, is this the most urgent and important task on your list? If not – why are you working on it? My team knows that if I am filing, I’m definitely doing it because I’m putting off something important. Catch yourself before another day goes by.


Pomodoros and power hours. These are both bursts of intense focus to help you stay focussed on a task for a set period of time. Great if you’re someone who gets distracted easily – set a timer for 25 minutes (Pomodoro method, especially good for studying) or 60 minutes (yup, that’ll be a Power Hour, use for writing or larger tasks). Accomplished a burst of focus? Take a short break and reward yourself – espresso, five minutes of social media (set a timer!) or whatever is going to work best. Then do another one!


Scare yourself. Take a minute to close your eyes and visualise not getting this done. Will you get told off by accounting, be taken to court for unpaid bills, never be refunded for your travel and be unable to buy bread, eventually get fired for being ineffective? It doesn’t have to be totally realistic – but allow yourself to remember how much worse it could be if you keep putting it off.


The big guns. Get your most responsible friend/mum to nag you about this task until it’s completed, if all else fails. Psychologically – nagging works. What’s more annoying, telling your mum that you’re procrastinating and inviting her to nag you, or just filling out that damn payment request form?


Hope some of this helps you – let me know in the comments!


Thanks for reading,

PP x

Can I bullet journal if I’m not creative?

When you first start to discover bullet journalling and you check out Pinterest and Instagram, it can seem really daunting. Beautiful illustrations, carefully ruled and thought-out spreads, intricate mood mandalas – all look intimidating and time-consuming when what you really want is to be more productive and have more free time, not lots of extra swirly headings to add to your to do list.

The basic principle behind the bullet journal is that it’s your own book, everything goes into it, and it’s set up in a way that works for you, unlike a printed planner or diary. So the short answer is that it doesn’t matter how pretty it is or isn’t as long as you’re making the set up work for you. I found an old bullet journal of mine from when I first started – and full disclosure, I like to decorate mine – and was surprised how plain it was. But actually, the basic system and the way I use it hasn’t changed very much over the last eighteen months. I’ve just got way nicer pens now!

The best thing you can do in my view is just start. Make mistakes, accept it won’t be perfect (I have so many mistakes hidden under stickers in my journal!) and start to learn the system and make it work for you. This video from Ryder Carroll is a great place to start. 

Let me know how it goes – and thanks for reading,



Monthly spreads and how I use them

I thought it might be useful to share my monthly bullet journal set ups with you. Just like my weekly spreads, I capture events (for me, mostly work trips and variances to my daily schedule plus anything social like weddings). I have a section for tasks not allocated to a particular week and I also refer back to my yearly goals to make sure the month is set up with monthly goals that move these forward. I also set a couple of focuses for the month – for example, one of mine for July is to ramp up my running since I have a marathon coming up in November.

I also use a monthly habit tracker as well as a weekly one.

Thanks for reading!
PP 🍑

First post – and why I use a bullet journal

Hi everyone! I’m Helene aka Planner Peach. I started bullet journaling about eighteen months ago – I’ve always been into stationery and lists but Ryder’s idea of corralling them all into one book really stuck with me. I’m also into brush lettering, mostly to make my journal look better – it’s more appealing to me when it looks colourful and pretty! Here are a couple of pics so you know what to expect from me – I hope also to share video with you although I’m still a little camera shy! Hope this inspires you to start your own organisation journey. Thanks for reading –
PP 🍑