Your Ink+Volt planner isn’t just for appointments.
It is a universally applicable tool for planning, organizing, implementing, and tracking the most important elements of your life.
We invite you to create your year, and to make it whatever you want it to be. To establish what you’re leaving behind and who you want to become over the next 52 weeks. We provide space for your goals, your ideas, your scribbles, and your spontaneous genius.
We want you to see you forge new habits, learn new skills, and reach milestones that are truly important to you.
A year of health: become a better version of yourself
You hold in your hands the primary tool that will help you achieve your health, wellness, and fitness goals this year if you choose to prioritize them.
Today, we’re outlining how you can dedicate your Ink+Volt Planner to a yearlong health journey. What might that include:
- Getting whole-body healthier
- Adopting a new eating plan
- Making fitness and exercise a regular part of your life
- Instituting new habits that create a healthier lifestyle
- Staying on top of your mental health and wellbeing
- Training for an event or competition
Start with your central theme – a word, phrase, mantra, quote, or affirmation that serves as the tone of your year
What idea inspires you to start this journey towards better health?
Maybe it is “alive” – you want to feel more energized, excited, or present in your life. Or maybe it is “make it happen” – a commitment to taking the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
Every time you start an activity or goal this year you’ll look to your theme and ask, “Will this goal bring me closer to achieve this theme? Does it align with that vision? Will it help me understand, develop, and grow in the direction I want?”
It may take you some time to settle on a perfect theme. That is okay. Brainstorm and let your ideas marinate until a winner stands out.
1. Goals: Break down your expectations into manageable milestones
If one of your yearly goals is to run your first half-marathon (or any length race), it’s time to start training!
Regardless if your yearlong health journey is related to fitness or some achievement level, setting fitness related goals that are clear, constructive, and realistic will help you stay on track for a healthy year.
Put your goalposts on your calendar
It is important to track your progress in order to make sure you are on the right track towards your goals. Set a “finish line” date – this could be the date of a race you want to run, or a doctor’s appointment for a health check-in.
For someone whose doctor has given them a recommendation to lose a certain amount of weight over the next six months, putting a sticker on your appointment date and working backward with goals, milestones, and individual activities will make your big goal a lot easier to accomplish.
Consider setting a big goal, like running a race in a certain amount of time, completing a certain number of reps with a specified weight, losing a certain number of pounds, or achieving a certain range on your next blood panel.
Then, break that goal down into smaller, more manageable monthly goals.
- Beat my 5k running time by 30 seconds.
This goal can be broken down into a weekly running schedule, keeping a daily record of your running times, and a “challenge” date at the end of the month where you endeavor to complete your goal.
- Drop five pounds by eating healthier through meal planning.
This goal can be broken down into a weekly meal plan, a record of the foods you ate, the amount of water you drank each day, and daily weigh-ins to track your progress and natural fluctuation.
Set small weekly or monthly goals
You don’t have to sign up for a grand fitness exhibition to prove your commitment to being more active. Each week and each month, you can set goals to complete a certain amount or duration of an activity. These goals might include:
- Mileage or other distance run/walked/cycled/etc.
- Visits to the gym or fitness studio.
- Appointments with a physical trainer.
- Number of home-cooked meals consumed (as opposed to grabbing a meal on the go).
- Times you walked your dog more than a mile each week.
- Minutes or hours meditated.
- Pounds or kilograms lifted for a certain amount of reps.
Set your activity goals each month and each week, scheduling enough time to complete your goal each day. Go a step further and schedule your activities in your digital calendar with reminders to make sure you don’t miss a step!
Use 30-day challenges to create new habits
Each month in the Ink+Volt Planner, you’re offered a whole page dedicated to a 30-day challenge. This page invites you to take on a new habit, learn a new skill, or make daily efforts toward something that will positively impact your life.
With regards to health, you’re able to implement a new healthy habit or learn a new health-related skill (like yoga, running, meal prepping, tea brewing, at-home facials, etc) and practice it diligently for an entire month. What could you create for your life if you invested 30 consecutive days in the practice?
- Improve my skin health: Wash my face twice daily with a home-made or organic cleanser. Moisturize skin every day. Don’t touch my face absentmindedly during the day.
- Improve my hydration: Drink eight glasses of water per day. Only have one cup of coffee (and no additional caffeine). Drink an electrolyte-filled beverage each morning.
- Eat more produce: Consume a specific number of servings of produce each day. Drink a cold-pressed juice every morning. Eat a salad or vegetable-based soup as one meal per day.
- Keep track of my hormones’ effect on my mood: Track your moods and hormonal cycle together daily, making entries in your weekly spread.
- Learn to meditate: Use the Headspace app for at least 10 minutes daily.
- Get more fresh air: Spend at least 15 minutes outside daily (even if it rains) either walking, playing with your dog, or simply sitting and enjoying the breeze.
Grab your planner and flip to the dot-matrix pages in the back of the book. Brainstorm all the ways you could improve your health with new habits, skills, activities, or daily investments you can make in yourself.
2. Tracking: Clarify your experience and understand your patterns
Tracking is a powerful tool to help us look back and have truly 20/20 hindsight. When you flip back through last year’s planner, isn’t it incredible to see the details of where you went, who you saw, and what you accomplished?
Keeping a record of your health journey might be the most impactful investment of time that you make in your wellbeing. If you’re not sure what to track, pick one of these overarching themes and in the evening portion of your weekly spread, record your experience.
When tracking, it’s best to streamline what you’re recording. Starting with prompt questions or specific metrics makes for the most valuable review.
Track your psychological state
How happy are you, really? Are you typically cheerful? Easily frustrated? Have you been feeling down for an immeasurable amount of time?
It’s too easy to get bogged down in a bad mood if, day after day, you’re unable to resolve your emotional turmoil. Tracking your psychological state doesn’t have to be mind-numbingly boring or intrusive to your emotional experience. Try tracking just a couple of prompts or metrics each day. After 2 – 4 weeks, you may begin to notice patterns and correlations.
By correlations, consider if this – then that. As in, if my child had a poor night sleep that resulted in my lack of rest, I feel generally pessimistic all day.
Or, after I clean my house, I tend to feel very peaceful and good about myself.
Take these correlations and design a lifestyle that promotes confidence, a peaceful mind, and other positive psychological feelings. We may not be able to control all of the impacts on our emotional wellbeing, but we also can only control that which we are aware of.
Sample metrics to get you started:
- Amount of sleep, or time you went to bed.
- How many times you said or thought, “I’m so frustrated.”
- On a scale of 1 – 10 (one being lower than dirt and 10 being over the moon), how did you feel today?
- If you currently experience anxiety, depression, or another psychological challenge, rate the impact of this challenge on your day: 1 meaning it hardly impacted you, 10 meaning it completely incapacitated you.
Track your hydration + nutrition
I hate to ask, but how much water have you had today? And, how many servings of vegetables? No, spinach dip is hardly considered a vegetable…
Tracking goes both ways – it can illuminate how much we need to focus on an area and can also bring us peace of mind that we aren’t doing that bad when it comes to our personal expectations.
By tracking your nutrition, you may find that as hard as you are on yourself to eat healthy, you’re eating enough vegetables and only splurging on sweets once or twice per week. You may feel heavily influenced to try the latest superfood smoothie or to have a breakfast that’s Pinterest-perfect, but getting clear on what you’re actually consuming will clear up any doubts about your real situation.
- Meals prepared at home vs meals purchased on the go.
- How much coffee or caffeine-filled drinks you consumed.
- How many servings of vegetables you had each day.
- What sweets you consumed during each night’s Netflix & chill.
If you find you’re engaging in behaviors less healthy than you’d like for yourself, use your tracking data to make changes. Schedule those changes in your health-focused Ink+Volt Planner and use the dot-matrix prompted journaling pages to reflect on your experience.
Record your progress
Keeping a record of your progress toward a fitness, nutrition, or health goal is the micro-level companion to milestone planning.
As you work toward a health or fitness-related goal, recording your incremental milestones will help motivate you to stay on-track. To see that your mileage time has improved over the last two weeks or two months, to see that you’re lifting heavier weights for more reps. You can rely on that progress.
Each time you complete a workout, or a week of meal planning, record your progress. Did you like the recipe? Did you feel strong for that workout? No endeavor is ever the same as the last, so even if it doesn’t feel like progress in this entry, rack-up those entries to capture the subtle changes occurring over time.
3. Planning: Create a healthy lifestyle through ritual, routine, and a consistent schedule
After you’ve designed the healthier lifestyle you want, based on your yearly theme and goals, including your 30-day challenge activities and tracking practices, it’s time to get accountable.
There are a few different ways you can use your established expectations to plan:
- Block out chunks of time each day for meals, workouts, reflection (because journaling takes time, too), and lifestyle tweaking.
- Draw-out your ‘ideal week’ by inputting your meal times, physical activity, and milestone events over the weekly spread, to see what would work best with your existing schedule.
- Break down your goals into smaller investments based on how much time you actually have by blocking out your existing schedule in your weekly spread. Then, plug-in your 30-day challenge activities and other health-focused endeavors wherever they fit.
In addition to hard-line scheduling, use the weekly spreads to outline each of your health investments in advance.
Plan your meals
Imagine you are staying at a 5-star hotel and they’re providing all of your meals for the week. Everything you love, as if you picked it out yourself. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as many snacks as you want. You know that Monday will be fajitas with guacamole, Tuesday will be chicken parmesan, and that there will be banana bread for breakfast on Wednesday. All you have to do is show up.
In a nutshell, that’s meal planning. All you lack is the personal chef who cooks the meals for you. But with a simple YouTube search, you can find hundreds of thousands of videos that will teach you to meal plan and prep in record time, on a shoestring budget, eating exactly what you want to eat. You can even find healthy desserts out there!
Schedule your breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, desserts, and hangry emergency foods over your weekly spreads and prepare accordingly.
If you know you’ll be working from the office with only access to a microwave and fridge, plan meals that’ll work in that situation. If you have a day out running errands, prepare something semi-shelf stable that can accompany you in the car and be eaten quickly.
Plan your workouts
Classes, personal trainer appointments, and your own structured fitness activities all take time – and typically take more time than we give them credit for. Don’t let “I ran out of time” sap your progress on your year of health.
Instead, take note of exactly how long it takes you to complete your investments in your health.
- Meal planning may take up to three hours on a Sunday, but saves you meal-prep time during the week.
- Going to the yoga studio means drive time, arriving early, enjoying your practice, then leaving very slowly in that post-yoga stupor that makes your commute seem twice as long.
- Getting your trail-running mileage in means packing your bag, driving to the mountain, stretching and warming up, doing your run, then unpacking your gear at home before showering, re-dressing, and refueling.
Give yourself the time to invest in your health by being realistic about the actual commitment.
Plan your check-up and result appointments
I’m sure there are close to zero hands raised when someone asks, “Who loves going to the doctor?” While it isn’t glamorous or exciting, getting check-ups and seeing medical professionals is integral to living your healthiest life. This doesn’t mean you need a physical every month, but it could mean scheduling regular appointments with:
- Dermatologist or esthetician
- Massage therapist or chiropractor
- Nutritionist or holistic dietician
- Chinese medical doctor or acupuncturist
- Dentist, doctor, or primary care physician
- Endocrinologist or other specialist
Get a clear overview of your health and make continued investments in your overall wellbeing. Your structural health – that of your spine, skin, and hormones, are paramount to feeling good.
If it’s within your means to make appointments with these professionals and regularly keep an eye on your health readings, you can make adjustments in your developing healthy lifestyle to support continuous improvement and quality maintenance.
Share your story with us!
At the end of the year, you’ll flip back through your Ink+Volt Planner to review an entire record of your health journey. It’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come.
You may choose to keep this to yourself, to celebrate your progress with friends and a slice of cake. It is up to you.
With a record of your experience, you can confidently and accurately share how you met your goals, overcame physical and psychological health challenges, and support those around you with inspiration for a better future.