Raise your hand if you’ve ever reached for your phone and instinctively refreshed your work email at 9 o’clock at night or met up with friends and instead of being present you spent more time checking Instagram? We’ve all been there.
In today’s world, screen time has become a huge consumption of our daily lives. We flick on the TV at the end of a busy working day, scroll social media when we’re at a loose end, and rely on the internet for everything from booking train tickets to diagnosing a headache.
However technology can be a great tool. It allows us to keep in touch with the people we love the most and everything we’ve ever wanted to know is right at our fingertips, but without proper boundaries, it can also pull our focus away from the here and now. It can distract you from your goals, create a barrier between you and your loved ones, and crucially, consume our most important resource: time.
Here’s the really ironic part: in a world of constant connectivity, many of us have never felt so disconnected from ourselves. Between social media notifications, unread emails, and buzzing WhatsApp group chats, we rarely have a moment to just be.
But here’s the good news: you always have a choice. It’s up to you and you alone to make the decision to reconnect with what matters and when you do, it’s only a matter of time until you feel the difference.
Feeling inspired to reconnect and be present? We’re so happy to hear it. Here’s how to get started…
How To Reconnect To The Real World
Track your time
Ever heard the phrase ‘what gets measured, gets managed?’. Well, it applies here too, because you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re starting from. That means taking a long, honest look at your screen time habits and actively deciding where you want to put your focus instead.
Here’s the important bit: this isn’t about shaming yourself into change or feeling guilty for where you’re currently at; it’s about sussing out where there is room for improvement and gradually shifting your habits so you can make a positive change.
All you have to do is make a note of how long you’re spending online each day or use a screen time tracker to do the hard work for you (most smartphones have them.)
Next, set a goal. Do you want to reduce your screen time by 30 minutes a day, an hour, or even two? This is your chance to get clear – you can use The Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal to plan out your screen time goals and start putting that extra time to good use instead.
Discover the power of being bored
When was the last time you were bored? Like, really don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself bored? For most people, it’s been a while. In our world of unrelenting tasks and competing commitments, it can be tricky to find a second to just breathe and often when we do get a moment to relax we instinctively reach for our phones or grab the TV remote. Our brains rarely have a second to switch off.
Boredom is often seen as a bad thing, but in small doses, it actually has a wealth of life-changing benefits. According to scientific research, being bored can prompt you to engage in more meaningful behaviours. It can also spark creativity and aid problem-solving too.
So, start letting your mind wander. Turn the TV off in the evenings, pop your phone in a drawer, and see how it feels to sit and do absolutely nothing. You might be surprised to discover it actually feels pretty great to read a book, go for a walk- all without any technology.
Invest your time wisely
Not all screen time is created equal, and sometimes, tech can be used as a tool for mindset elevation. Used wisely, it can also be time to switch off and relax from life’s daily stresses.
So, rather than swearing off screen time, start thinking about how you could use that time wisely. Our advice? Click on to The Head Plan App for daily inspiration or create a Pinterest board of quotes that motivate you to give your all. Even cuddling up to watch a comforting childhood movie on a low day counts. It’s about finding activities that lift you up.
Having trouble deciding how best to invest your time? The advice of leadership coach John C Maxwell states that “Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.”
Basically? Align with your priorities – whether they’re connecting with the people you love most, making progress on your goals or investing in your self-care – you can’t go wrong with that.
Practice the art of being present
What does it actually mean to be present? To put it simply, being present means being actively engaged in your life, being aware of the sights, smells, and sounds that surround you and appreciating the present moment in all its glory.
Presence can be taking a deep breath and becoming aware of the sensations in your body as the air makes its way into your lungs, listening intently to your friend while they’re talking to you, or concentrating on a fulfilling task with your undivided attention.
We challenge you to find even a few moments in your day to be present. You could ask yourself the question ‘Am I present?’ (or use The Head Plan Mirror Markers to write on your bathroom mirror as a reminder) When you do this, you automatically connect to the present moment and become aware not just of your body, but of your surroundings too.
Need another way? If in doubt, there are a few activities that are almost guaranteed to help you reconnect with the present moment: think walks in nature, meditation, and journaling.
Be gentle with yourself
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and habits often take a little while to break (it’s the very reason they’re called habits, after all.)
So, if in the coming weeks you find yourself scrolling on your phone for longer than you intended, binging Netflix, or routinely checking your email outside of office hours, don’t give yourself a hard time. Document the progress you have made, and just keep going. You’ve got this.
When a piece of tech isn’t working our first instinct is often to switch it off and back on again. As humans, we need time to unplug in order to function at our highest level too.
So, consider this a sign to mute your noisy WhatsApp groups when you need to, log off all your social media platforms on the regular, and close that Gmail app after hours because you owe it to yourself to be free from distractions.
As an unattributed quote puts it, “sometimes you have to disconnect from the world to reconnect with what really matters”.
One moment you were flying towards your goals, ticking each task off your to-do list, and making amazing progress, and then suddenly, without warning, you’re hit with a obstacle. What felt easy, joyful and aligned, now feels difficult, challenging and draining. Frustration, doubt, disappointment and fear have began to creep in and now you’re pretty certain this might be a sign to throw in the towel.
A setback has occurred, but panic not, this obstacle isn’t here to steer you off course, and it certainly isn’t a sign for you to give up on your goals. Rather, it’s an opportunity for self-growth and to achieve more than you ever thought possible – and we know just how to get you back on course.
But before we begin, we want to introduce you to a concept that will change the way you think about challenges and failure…
Failing forward means that setbacks are merely stepping stones on your path to success. It’s the process of finding the lesson in every obstacle and adjusting your course as necessary.
When you fail forward you are destined to reach your goals, so long as you pick yourself up and try again with your newly gained insight and knowledge.
So, with that in mind, are you ready to turn setbacks into stepping stones? Let us show you how...
How To Turn Setbacks Into Successes
Review your progress
It’s what our weekly reflection pages in The Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal are for. Look back through the pages of your journal and see just how far you’ve come. We’ll bet you’ve made stacks of progress, even if you don’t yet see it.
If it helps, make a list of your biggest achievements so far. This practice not only helps you recognise just how much you’ve achieved, it builds your belief and reminds you that you can and will achieve again.
While you’re at it, think about all the times you’ve experienced a setback in the past. Chances are you came back stronger, braver, and learned something along the way. Guess what? You’ve done it once and you’ll do it again. You’ve got this.
Change your self talk
Let us ask you this: does your inner critic hit the play button when things don’t go exactly as planned? Do you give yourself a terrible time when your best-laid plans don’t pan out perfectly? It’s time to turn things around with a whole lot of kindness and self-compassion.
When you notice negative self-talk, you can choose to change it. Try replacing phrases like “I’m so bad at this” or “I’m failing” with more empowering ones like “I’m new at this” and “I’m learning”.
The words we speak are like self-fulfilling prophecies. What you say about yourself and the world becomes your reality, so be careful about what you speak into existence.
Build your self-belief
Your belief in yourself has taken a knock. You can help rebuild your self-belief by writing empowering statements using The Head Plan Mirror Markers about yourself on your mirror, like “I am determined”, “I am talented” and “I am constantly learning and improving”. Let those phrases seep into your subconscious. Repeated often enough, these phrases are scientifically proven to rewire your beliefs and change the way you feel about yourself for the better.
Turn disappointment into motivation
Did you know that as humans we’re actually hard-wired to avoid pain more than we are to seek pleasure? That’s why setbacks can actually be a huge motivator. It might not feel like it, but hitting a hurdle can actually reignite that fire in your belly.
If you’re feeling more disempowered than motivated, write out a list of all the reasons you want to achieve your goal. Now close your eyes and imagine achieving them. Really let your imagination run wild. Can you feel your energy shift?
Go back to the drawing board
Often setbacks are a prompt for us to look inward. They can also be an opportunity for some self-reflection. Consider using some gentle prompts like:
- How could I approach this problem differently?
- Has self-doubt or fear stopped me from succeeding in this instance?
- Do I have limiting beliefs that are standing in my way?
- Would I benefit by taking some time out to rest and recharge?
- How might the people I look up to manage this setback?
- What stories am I telling myself about my ability to succeed?
Finally, consider what you need in order to grow. Maybe you would benefit from a mentor who can offer guidance or perhaps you could get to where you need to be by signing up to a course where you’ll learn new skills.
Looking at a setback as an obstacle to overcome rather than a signal to give up and never try again is known as a growth mindset. When you cultivate this mindset, you quickly realise that your talents, skills, and abilities aren’t fixed, and challenges merely exist to help you evolve and grow.
A growth mindset is a scientific concept by Dr Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck has stated that anyone can cultivate a growth mindset. All you have to do is change your perspective.
Think of it like this: our brains have plasticity. They are able to change, adapt and grow according to how we nourish them: your ability to succeed is no different.
Just keep going…
When you’re striking out time and again and it feels like setback after setback is pushing you further away from your goals, do not give up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and use it as fuel for the fire.
Setbacks are a test of your commitment. They force you to consider how badly you want it and they help you grow into the version of yourself that’s a match for your goals.
The next time you’re mid-setback, struggling to get back to your feet and wondering if it’s worth it, we want you to remember these words from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
You can’t stop now; you’ve already come so far.
How many times have you said ‘yes’ when you’ve really wanted to say ‘no’? Think about it for a second.
You might have told your boss that you’d take on that extra project even though you knew it would leave you stressed out. Maybe you agreed to attend a party this weekend, but really wanted some time to recharge instead.
Or perhaps you’re constantly bending over backwards tending to other people’s needs when you really should be looking after your own.
Here’s the thing about pleasing others before ourselves: It often comes at the expense of our wellbeing, and when you don’t set healthy boundaries, your attention is inevitably pulled in different directions. You end up focused on other people’s goals and objectives while yours are forgotten and neglected.
The fix? Having clear boundaries. Boundaries show people who you are, what you expect and what you will tolerate. They protect your emotional wellbeing and conserve your energy for the stuff that matters – but we totally get it, they can feel seriously nerve-wracking to set.
If you’re confrontation-averse or worried about coming across as rude, we’re here to help you set boundaries in a healthy way.
What do healthy boundaries look like?
If you’re reading this thinking and thinking 'what actually are boundaries?’, then let us explain. Boundaries are kind of like a personal limit. They’re a clear expression of what you will accept in every area of your life and are ultimately an act of self-care and self-preservation.
Boundaries aren’t about being unaccommodating, selfish or mean. They’re about putting you and your needs first, and you owe it to yourself to set them.
Some examples include:
- I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that right now. I’m prioritising other tasks and assignments.
- I’d love to help but I would be overcommitting myself and need time to rest.
- Sorry, I won’t be able to make it. This week has been very stressful and I need to focus on my own mental health.
- I can’t help on this occasion – keep me in mind for the next date.
- It is just bad timing. Can we hang out another time?
How To Set And Stick To Your Boundaries
Now that you have read some examples, it is time to set some boundaries for yourself.
Take a ‘zoomed out’ look at your life
With busy schedules, it can be easy to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of life, without seeing the big picture. Start looking at your life as though through a telescope and ask yourself where are you feeling the most tired, overwhelmed and drained?
Now look at your priorities and think about what you need to do to protect them. It could be telling your other half you need some alone time throughout the week to focus on your needs, asking your boss for more lenient deadlines, or letting a colleague know you won’t be replying to emails outside of working hours. Take this time to write down a few ideas that come to mind.
If you’re having trouble pinpointing where things need to change, here’s a tip: Tune into your feelings. When people try to push your boundaries you normally experience two main emotions: resentment and discomfort. Any time you notice these, make a note of it and consider what needs to change.
Establish some key phrases
After you create a list of areas for improvement you know need to put some energy-conserving boundaries in place.
We suggest creating up to 10 short sentences that can be used to combat all the instances of boundary overstepping you discovered above. Need some help? Consult our list of examples – and remember setting clear boundaries isn’t selfish. It’s perfectly okay to tell someone you’re opting out of their request because you simply want to put yourself first. When saying no feels uncomfortable, try your best to keep this in mind.
One of the main reasons we often struggle with setting boundaries is that, as humans, we hate disappointing others. If you consider yourself a bit of a people pleaser, take note of this unattributed quote:
“The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.” The people who really love and care for you really won’t mind.
You could also keep Brene Brown’s advice in mind. She says, when communicating your limits, “Clear is kind.” By clearly explaining to someone what treatment you expect, you’re actually doing them a favour. You’re telling them exactly how to interact with you and giving them the space to set some boundaries of their own.
Please remember that setting boundaries doesn’t make you a bad person - it is setting YOU up for success.
Use it or lose it
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase ‘practise makes perfect’. Guess what? That goes for boundary setting too. You’ve got to keep doing it to get good at it.
Try practicing on someone you’re really comfortable with first, like a close friend or a sibling before building up to your boss or a colleague. This process is known as Exposure Therapy.
Basically, the more you practice setting boundaries and see that it is safe to express your limits, the more comfortable you’ll feel asserting yourself in situations that feel a little more high-risk.
What once felt scary and made your heart pound, can now feel totally normal. All you have to do is begin.
When in doubt, review your goals
If you’re ever unsure about when and where you need to set a boundary, review your goals. Boundaries are there to protect your energy and to ensure you maintain your focus on the stuff that matters most.
Keeping your goals front and centre of your mind ensures you’ll know when your attention is being pulled off-topic. When that happens, you’ll know you need to re-establish your boundaries.
The Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal is a great way to keep those big goals of yours at eye level; simply revert back to your long-term and short-term goals pages when you need a reminder about where to put your focus.
You control your limits…
Your life is vastly shaped by the behaviour you are willing to accept from others, and what you allow is what will continue. That’s why you owe it to yourself to put firm boundaries in place.
The next time you’re in doubt, remember this: setting boundaries is the ultimate act of self-love. Or as Brene Brown puts it:“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
So, with that in mind, we would love you to set some personal boundaries today. ‘No’ can be your new favourite word.
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase you are what you eat. We believe you are what you consume. That means everything from the foods you eat, to the TV shows you watch, and the books you read, make up who you are and how you behave.
It’s as simple as this: What you allow into your body and mind ultimately affects the energy you give to the world and it’s up to you to choose the things that nourish, energise, uplift and inspire you.
Feeding the Body
Your dietary habits have been scientifically proven to affect your brain structure at a chemical and psychological level, leading to changes in the way we think, feel and behave. In fact, 90 percent of the body’s receptors for serotonin (the hormone responsible for stabilising your mood and improving feelings of happiness and wellbeing) are in our gut.
When you eat plenty of healthy whole foods you balance bacteria in the gut, keeping your moods more balanced. On the other hand, if you consume an excess of highly processed foods it throws your serotonin hormone off its course, impacting how you respond to life’s daily stresses in the process.
Feeding The Mind
But it’s not just the body that needs proper nourishment. Our minds are continually programmed by the influences around us too.
In fact, everyday activities, like reading, watching TV, and journaling, are believed to trigger a trance-like hypnotic state. In this state, your subconscious mind becomes highly suggestible and is quite literally being shaped by what you’re giving your attention to, be it good or bad.
Over time, the way you choose to nourish your mind impacts your thinking. Gradually, these thoughts become your beliefs, and ultimately these beliefs impact your behaviour and the outcomes you experience in life. It all starts with what you choose to expose your mind to on a daily basis.
How To Nourish Your Mind And Body
Plan your meals in advance
Quick question: At the end of a busy day, do you A, look aimlessly into your fridge and try to put together something that looks like a meal, or B, grab your phone and order your favourite takeaway because you’re JUST. TOO. TIRED. to think?
Last minute decisions like what to eat can drain your mental energy so, if you often find food choices a struggle you need to plan ahead. The Head Plan Nourish is a weekly planning pad that will help you plan and get on top of your nourishment needs as you mindfully plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week. We've also got you covered with our removable shopping list so you'll never miss that item in the supermarket again. There are so many benefits to meal planning that we know you will experience as soon as you start.
Another benefit? A meal plan clears up some mental space, allowing you to focus on your main tasks and priorities throughout the week, and powers your body to perform at its best.
Remember this, you don’t need to eat ‘perfectly’, swear off some of your favourite foods or vow to never order a takeaway again. Nourishing your body is about creating a balance between eating nutritious foods that energise and sustain you and making room for some treats along the way.
While you’re at it, be sure to fill your Daily Drench bottle and sip at it throughout the day. Science shows even slight dehydration can negatively affect your mood, so sip sip hooray.
Read Inspiring Books
Personal development books are a little like plant food. Just like those powerful sachets that allow your house plants to thrive, reading books packed with wisdom empowers you to flourish and grow.
To get the most from this transformational habit, you could set yourself a challenge to read one personal development book a month or aim to read 10 pages a night. Wondering how to choose the right one for you? Think about what you really need to learn right now? Perhaps you’re figuring out how to build a new habit, need motivation to make a change or want to know how to eliminate a limiting belief.
The more you expose your mind to this kind of content, the more you’re giving it the tools it needs to create an inspirational story of your own. Personal development books are a great reminder of what is possible, so go ahead and nourish your mind by making a commitment to continual learning.
It probably sounds a little counterintuitive, but taking a break from your thoughts is a great way to nourish not just your mind, but your body too. Our minds are constantly moving with niggling worries, persistent doubts, and a lengthy list of tasks and to-dos. Together these thoughts can compound feelings of stress and anxiety which can have a knock-on effect on the body.
Meditation is a little like escapism. Think of it as taking a short vacation from the constant mental chatter and aim to do it daily. You don’t need to sit cross-legged on your bed for an hour –you can find a place of peace and calm in as little as five minutes.
If you find meditation tough and struggling to clear your mind of thoughts? Remember this: When you’re meditating, it’s totally normal for random thoughts to pop into your head. The trick is to view them as passing clouds. When you notice them, refocus on your breath and just let them pass on by.
Fill your mind with gratitude
Gratitude is one of the highest vibration emotions there is, proven to nourish the body and mind by reducing stress, anxiety and low moods, and even offering physical health benefits.
How can you make gratitude a nourishing daily habit? Use your The Head Plan Gratitude Journal to write down three things you’re grateful for at the start of each day. You can even recap your favourite moments before bed, take note of what you’re most excited for, and refer back to your list anytime you need a pick me up.
The really exciting bit? When you’re really grateful for what you have, you’ll end up having more to be grateful for. Why so? Because by focusing on the positive you train your brain to be on the lookout for more of the same.
Watch out for energy drains
Let us ask you a question: If a particular food made you feel ill every time you consumed it, would you continue to eat it? Probably not, right? The same goes for your daily habits. If indulging in true crime marathons, tuning into the 9 o’clock news, or scrolling on Instagram before bed is making you feel bad, it’s time to turn those habits around.
Start paying attention to how your daily activities make you feel. Have you noticed that watching the news leaves you feeling angry, scared, or down? Think about whether you really want to keep watching it. Feeling utterly consumed by feelings of comparison after time online? Put screen time controls in place.
Remember if it doesn’t nourish you, let it go.
Nourish and thrive…
You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol car and expect it to get you from A to B. Likewise, you wouldn’t fuel your body and mind with junk food and negative thoughts and expect them to perform at their peak.
The good news? Feeding your body and your mind in a way that feels good doesn’t require a massive overhaul of your habits. Rather, it’s an opportunity to make subtle daily shifts and see how you feel.
So begin right now and ask yourself this: what do I need to heal, flourish and grow? The answer to that question could be the key that unlocks your next level self.
Quick question: If you were a smartphone, how would you rate your remaining battery life? 80 per cent? 50 per cent? Or as low as 10? When our phones need topped up, we put them on charge, but what about ourselves? So many of us continue to run on empty, until eventually, we feel completely wiped out.
This concept is known as burnout: a type of ongoing stress that becomes detrimental to your emotional and mental wellbeing when left unchecked.
Burnout has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years, stemming not only from increasingly busy work schedules, but the pressure to do it all, from maintaining a social life to keeping a tidy home, and everything in between. It’s a symptom of competing commitments, constant connectivity and never-ending to-do lists.
So, what does burnout actually look like? Well, it can manifest in all sorts of ways. Such as:
- Feeling tired, overwhelmed and drained
- Higher levels of stress
- Persistent exhaustion
- Mental fatigue
- Becoming increasingly cynical, negative and hopeless
If any of these symptoms are ringing a bell, then you’re certainly not alone. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that 44 per cent of employees say they suffer from stress and burnout sometimes, and get this, 23 per cent said they felt burned out and stressed more often than not.
While that might make for pretty grim reading, keep your chin up, because if you’re struggling right now, there’s loads you can do to both prevent and overcome burnout. Here, we show you how to go from burned out to burning brightly…
How To Prevent Burnout
Control the variables
Have you got decision fatigue? It happens when you need to make too many choices in a short space of time, be it the outfit you plan to wear today, the exact way to word a tricky email, or what you’re going to eat for lunch. And it’s pretty common. In fact, estimates suggest we make up to 35,000 decisions each and every day.
While you can’t pre-empt every decision you’ll need to make throughout your day, you can limit some of the mental aerobics by planning in advance. Pick your outfit for the next day before bed so you don’t’ have to fuss about what to wear come morning or write out your meal plan using Nourish at the start of the week, so you’re not stressing about what to have for dinner when your brain feels fried.
Burnout happens when our brains are overloaded. Eliminating some of your decisions in advance allows you to clear the mental clutter and give your time to the big decisions that require more of your focus.
Learn to say no
Some people believe ‘sorry’ is the hardest word. Us? We reckon it’s ‘no’. Setting boundaries can be a tricky but it’s pretty essential if you want to prevent stress and burnout. So, how do you do it without feeling uncomfortable?
Here’s our advice: Practice setting boundaries with someone you feel really comfortable with first, like a sibling or a close friend. When you catch yourself saying ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’, turn the conversation around and use assertive phrases like ‘I’d rather not…’ or ‘I would like to…’.
If offering a reason makes you feel more comfortable, do it, but don’t ever feel like you need to explain why you’re prioritising your mental health. Here’s the good news: The more you practise setting boundaries, the easier it will become. Soon telling your boss you need more time to work on that big project won’t seem quite so daunting.
Have you ever gone to bed with a thousand urgent tasks and timely to-dos whirring around in your brain? Or felt stressed about all the important priorities you’re juggling? Here’s a tip: Stop juggling. Take The Head Plan Productivity and Wellness Journal and write every single item into a prioritised to-do list.
This process is really simple but really effective for two reasons: One, because it allows you to clearly see what you need to complete and create a plan to get it done, and two, because it alleviates an element of worry that there’s a task you might forget.
How To Overcome Burnout
Prevention is always better than cure, but what if it’s too late and you’re already feeling the effects of burnout? Don’t stress, we know what will help…
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day; unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.” That’s according to an old Zen saying and its wisdom still holds true today. When you’re burned out, meditation gives your brain the mental break it needs – and it’s been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
Here’s a tip: Set aside even five or ten minutes a day to just close your eyes and breathe. If you’re new to meditating or are yet to tap into its transformative benefits, opt for a guided meditation. Better yet, you can join our 30-day mediation challenge on The Head Plan App.
Prioritise your self-care
Self-care takes many forms. It can be allowing yourself a lie-in on the weekend to recoup your energy or relaxing tense muscles in a hot bath. It’s also nourishing your body with good foods and getting plenty of sleep.
While these activities won’t magically make all your stresses go away, they will equip you to better deal with them. Our advice? Make self-care a daily activity. Find one thing you can do each day that will replenish your energy, nix your stress, and reward your efforts.
Not sure what to choose? Think of all the things that make you the happiest – it could be tuning on Netflix, getting out into nature, or spending time with your best friend. Then? Make time for those things. Yes, it’s that simple.
Turn off the self-imposed pressure
Listen carefully to what we’re about to say: You don’t have to do it all and you certainly don’t have to do it all perfectly.
While this is a really simple lesson, it can often be a really difficult one to digest because we’ve been conditioned to believe that our best is never good enough. This in itself can often lead to burnout. To delete this kind of thinking, start recognising your unique talents and abilities – write a list if you need to!
While you’re at it, if you’ve taken too much on, think about where you can ask for help. Maybe a colleague is willing and eager to assist you with that big presentation or you know someone who can give you a helping hand around the house.
Repeat after us: it’s okay to ask for help. And it’s absolutely okay to cut yourself some slack. If you need a little help, consider using the three Ds on your to-do list. That’s do it, delegate or dump it.
Consider what needs to change
Look at your current circumstances right now and ask yourself a question: what is causing me the most stress?
It could be your job or a particular project you’re working on. Maybe you don’t have a very understanding boss or are feeling burned out from all your extra 'to do's'. Perhaps you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by the juggle of daily life and are tired of trying to do it all, from maintaining a social life and nailing it at work, to working out and keeping a tidy home.
Now ask yourself: what can I personally do to change this? Start writing down some solutions that come to mind.
You might need to bite the bullet and have a chat with your boss, let go of one of your commitments, or delegate to someone who can help you out. When you’re burned out, you often feel powerless to do anything about it, but by identifying the underlying problem and brainstorming solutions you can take back control.
Life isn’t meant to be relentlessly productive. It’s not meant to leave you feeling constantly exhausted, depleted, or sad either.
If you’re feeling frazzled, you owe it to yourself to metaphorically recharge your batteries, so consider this your permission slip. From this day forward, make it your mission to say no when you feel like it, press pause on your commitments, and put you and your needs first. When you do that, burnout won’t have a look in.
You’re here for a reason. You’re here because you’ve been seeking more clarity and structure. Consciously or unconsciously, a part of you has called out for a way to manage all your thoughts and feelings, get clear about what you want from life and let's focus on the stuff that really matters.
And that’s exactly what journaling does. It’s an investment in your wellbeing that will transform the energy you bring to each and every day.
The good news is, we’re here to show you exactly how to get started...
How Journaling Can Improve Your Life
There are so many benefits to starting a journal; even more than you can squeeze into a singular blog post, so to get you excited for the journey ahead, here are just a few of our favourites…
Journaling Improves mental and physical health.
Researchers estimate that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, so it’s normal that from time to time they might seem a little overwhelming. That’s where journaling comes in. Countless studies have shown that expressive writing can improve mental health. It’s a therapy known as journal therapy.
An added bonus? Journaling can aid stress reduction which can prompt an improvement in physical health too.
After you’ve finished reading this blog post why not check out our Benefits of Journaling next.
Helps you set (and achieve) goals
How can you get what you want if you don’t know what it is? When it comes to setting goals, a journal is your best friend. Why so? Because studies show that people who write out their goals and review them regularly are 42 per cent more likely to achieve them.
As if that wasn't enough of a reason, journaling also allows you to prioritise your daily commitments and to-dos and give your focus to the really important stuff that’s going to propel you forward.
Empowers you to manage struggles
We all go through struggles be they internal, like dealing with limiting beliefs and confidence issues, or external, such as managing a scary health crisis or tackling a toxic work environment. A beneficial way to navigate the tough times with more clarity and ease is by getting it all out on paper.
Journaling will give you clarity on all the messy stuff that’s on your mind – and you might even land on a solution you hadn’t thought of before. Why? Because journaling has also been shown to aid problem-solving too.
Journaling: How To Start
It’s finally time to turn the page on your journal and begin a life changing habit that’ll improve your life in every area. Here’s how…
Get some accountability
Be honest with us: how often do you let your priorities slip or fall right down your list? No judgement if you answered ‘regularly’.
To keep yourself accountable on your journaling journey, consider creating rewards when you hit a journaling 'win'. Did you journal every single day for a week? Amazing – treat yourself to a lie-in, a tasty lunch or whatever gives you joy. You could even create a journaling chart that allows you to track your progress or invite a friend to take up journaling with you.
Accountability will inspire you to keep going and pretty soon, putting pen to paper will become second nature. You won’t need outside factors to motivate you because the results of journaling will speak for themselves.
7 Helpful Tips To Help You On How To Start A Journal
Starting a journal and need a little push in the right direction? Try these…
- Set aside 5/ 10 minutes a day to journal
- Place your journal next to your bed so you remember to use it daily
- Set a reminder on your phone to use and review your journal
- Use some journal prompts to get your creative juices flowing
- Reach for your journal anytime you feel stressed, worried or anxious
- Set the mood while journaling with a cup of tea or light a candle.
Use A Science-Backed Journaling Technique
There’s a journaling method for almost everything you can think of, from financial tracking and meal planning to gratitude lists. The Head Plan method is backed by neuroscience and has been carefully compiled to enable you to get the most out of every day.
To get started, carefully consider your long and short-term goals. Ask yourself ‘What do I really want from life?’ and remember no goal is too big! Once you have your ideal reality sussed, consult your journal every day and schedule daily and weekly tasks that align with your big picture vision. It’s goal-setting 101: know what you want and take regular steps to get there.
Another useful tip? Open The Head Plan Productivity and Wellness Journal, and write a daily self-care action and a productivity reward, along with a record of what you’re grateful for and what you have achieved. It’s a way to keep your motivation high and your well-being in great shape
Make A Habit Of It
How do you form a habit? Whether you’re training for a marathon or making journaling something you do daily – you should make the practice obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying according to Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Here’s how to start your journal: set aside the same time every day to use your journal. This makes it obvious. Next, make journaling more attractive by anticipating all the ways your life is going to improve by completing this simple task. (See our list above if you need a little helping hand.)
Then, pop your journal somewhere you’ll see it instead of tucked away in a drawer so it’s easy to get your hands on. Finally, create a reward for completing the behaviour to make it extra satisfying. Now– you are well and truly on your way to making journaling a habit.
While we’re on the topic, contrary to popular thought, it doesn’t take 21 days to form a habit. Researchers now believe that it can actually take up to 66 days, so if journaling isn’t feeling automatic just yet, stick with it.
Analyse What’s Not Working And Focus On What Is
Here’s the great thing about journaling: it gives you so much insight. Once you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll be able to identify behaviour patterns, some that serve you and some that don’t. You might even be able to pinpoint certain limiting beliefs and how they have been impacting your performance.
Better yet, you’ll be able to see how you’ve created positive outcomes in your life – and will know what you need to do to create more of that good stuff in the future.
Here’s a tip: After a few weeks of journaling, flip back through your journal and take a reflective approach when analysing your progress. Where have you followed through on your goals and where have distractions and competing commitments pulled you in a different direction? Would you benefit from switching up your routine, adapting your diet, or getting in an extra hour of sleep? Remember to make a note of what helped you succeed too.
Now, take the same analytical approach towards journaling itself. What can you do to make this habit even more beneficial for you? What do you need to do to ensure you stick with it? You don’t need to make dramatic changes. Small tweaks like changing when and where you journal can give you a much-needed boost.
What Should I Write In My Journal?
The short answer is ‘whatever you like’. The longer answer is whatever aligns with your current mental and emotional needs and helps you meet your daily goals and objectives. Here are a few ideas:
- Your weekly goals. Want to get 10,000 steps each day and send that business proposal you’ve been putting off? Write it down and make it happen.
- Your intention for the day ahead. For example, signing up for a course or taking time to switch off.
- Your thoughts, worries, and fears
- Action steps that will help you achieve your goals
- Positive affirmations
- Your daily tasks and to-dos.
- What you’re most grateful for
- Your daily and weekly achievements
- Your daily self-care actions and productivity rewards
- What you’ve learned that day or week
Make Your Journal Personal To You
This is your journey. Nobody else’s. Each and every one of us is different in our own unique way – and your journal should be too! That means your journaling practice doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t need to follow a rigid formula if that’s not your style, so go with your gut and do what feels good to you.
All that really matters is that you start small, keep your expectations realistic and be gentle with yourself throughout this journey. Progress is often a little messy – your journal can be too.
How Do I Get Started With The Head Plan Journals?
Starting your Head Plan journey couldn’t be simpler. Our range of journals, which includes the Productivity & Wellness Journal and a Gratitude Journal, is where happy, productive days live and they use science-backed formulas devised by company co- founder and qualified life coach Denise Kenny Byrne.
To get started, head to our Instagram page @theheadplan where you’ll find an abundance of helpful tips and advice for getting the most from journaling.
If you’re new to journaling, there’s no better place to begin.
Quick question: How do you feel about returning to the office? Excited? Nervous? Or a mix of both?
Whichever camp you fall into, we want you to know your feelings are valid and normal (In fact, a recent study found up to 81% of employees are feeling anxious about returning to the office).
Maybe you’ve gotten used to spending the day in your comfies and occasionally working from the couch and are now wondering where you’ll find the energy for the conventional 9-5. Perhaps being around people again gives you the fear and you don’t feel ready for a day full of team meetings and interactions with your boss. Or maybe you simply don’t know what to expect and are worried you won’t be able to cope after a year of working from the comfort of home.
Stress and anxiety, no matter what they are caused by, are rooted in the fear of the unknown and the false belief that you won’t be able to cope with whatever comes your way. But we believe you’re more than equipped to not only survive but thrive as life shifts back into fifth gear.
But just in case you need a little extra convincing we’ve compiled a toolkit, packed with helpful tips and tricks to manage the return to work a little easier. Here’s how…
Put rituals in place
We want you to know something: Good days start and end with rituals. It doesn’t matter if you have a pressing deadline, a scary meeting or an intimidating report to file, when you set (and stick to) daily rituals you set yourself up for success.
So, we suggest that you go ahead and start designing a morning ritual that allows you to feel grounded, motivated and calm and an evening routine that helps you to reflect, relax, and switch off.
To get your day off on the right foot, jot down what you’re grateful for in The Head Plan Gratitude Journal (you can’t feel grateful and anxious at the same time), say some empowering affirmations out loud and clear your mind with a calming meditation.
You might also like to visualise your day going well, get your thoughts and feelings out on paper or click onto The Head Plan App for an instant hit of positivity.
At night, look back and think about all that you achieved that day. It doesn’t matter whether you’d describe your day as good or bad, we’ll bet you did at least one thing you can feel proud of.
Before you go to sleep, you might like to read something inspiring, recap the best moments of your day or set some intentions for tomorrow. The subconscious mind is most easily influenced in the 45 minutes before you fall asleep, so feed it full of good stuff before bed and you’ll wake ready to take on the day.
Can you feel your energy shift from worried and anxious to uplifted and empowered just by doing these simple practices? Of course you can! All you have to do is bring that energy into your next working day.
Schedule plenty of rewards
Rewards are essential for our success. They keep us going when our motivation lags and it incentivise us to reach our goals and boost our performance. Not only that, rewards are scientifically proven to reduce stress, particularly when enjoyed mindfully. When you plan rewards you’re shifting your focus from the things you’re dreading to activities you can look forward to.
Dreading Monday? Plan a lovely lunch with your colleagues so you have something exciting to break up the day. Need a little hand getting over the hump? Plan a mid-week cinema date or perhaps practise some self-care with an evening facial.
Lucky for you, we’ve provided a spot for you to plan a daily productivity reward in The Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal.
Get extra organised
Success is in the prep steps so it’s time to get organised and plan, plan, plan.
Got a million and one things on your back-to-the-office to-do list and haven’t a clue where to start? First things first, write every last one of them out on paper and then use the Eisenhower Method to prioritise them. This means, deciding whether they are:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
This handy hack allows you to prioritise your important tasks, ditch the stuff that doesn’t matter, and leave room for anything that needs done ASAP.
Some other nifty tricks? Plan your outfit for work before bedtime (it’ll clear vital headspace for the next day), plan your lunches for the week, and set one goal you want to achieve each day. When you do this, it narrows your focus, meaning you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by your to-do list.
As Dale Carnegie puts it, “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing,” so get to it. You’ll function so much better when you know where to put your focus.
Take it slow
If you’re lucky enough to be able to transition back into part-time hours at the office instead of your normal Monday to Friday, do that, or consider making a case for it if you have an understanding boss. If that’s not an option, work plenty of mini-breaks into your working day.
While we’re not suggesting you sneak off to the bathroom every five minutes, we do recommend scheduling a few minutes for yourself every couple of hours to flood your brain with positive thoughts, have a little catch-up with a colleague or sip on a freshly-made cup of herbal tea.
Tackling your day in stages can keep overwhelm at bay. It’s also proven to dramatically cut stress, inspire creative thinking and increase productivity.
Double down on the self-care
Self-care is a multi-faceted thing. It’s not *just* bubble baths and pedicures, it’s figuring out what you really need to nurture your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and committing to it. That might mean grabbing your Nourish meal planner and planning meals that help you to be your most energised and optimistic self or filling up your Daily Drench bottle so you can remain hydrated all day long.
The good news is, there are so many helpful ways to take care of you while dealing with back-to-real-life anxiety. Panic and overwhelming feelings getting the better of you? Opt for daily meditation and breath work. We have a 5 minute 30 day Meditation series live on The Head Plan App that you can have access too at any time or stage of the day.
Nerves and anxiety can leave you feeling out of control but putting good self-care practices in place allows you to take back some of the power. Ask yourself, ‘what do I really need right now?’ and create a plan around your answer that empowers you to feel confident, calm and in control.
You’ve got this…
Remember what we said earlier about how anxiety is rooted in the fear that something bad or unexpected will happen and you won’t know how to cope? Here’s a phrase we’ve borrowed from Susan Jeffers’ best-selling book Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: ‘I’ll handle it.’
The next time you find yourself stressing and worrying about what could go wrong, take a deep breath and repeat this phrase. It’s a positive reminder that no matter what goes wrong in your day or week, you’ll be okay and you’ll get through it.
Think of it like this: We’ll bet you’ve not only handled a million and one things that have gone wrong in the past but turned them into major personal highs. You can and will do that again.
Think back over all the times you’ve risen to an unexpected challenge, whether it was acing a last-minute project or leading a presentation. You’ve done it once, and guess what? You can do it again.
You’ve got this. You really do.
What if we told you there were two things that could transform your life and you don’t need a fancy qualification or a bulging bank account to get them? We bet you’d be pretty psyched. Those two things? A pen and The Head Plan Journal.
Whether you’re jotting down your thoughts and feelings, committing your goals to paper or making a meal plan for the week, putting pen to paper is incredibly powerful. Journaling is like a cheat code for life, it allows you to focus on and prioritise what’s important, organise your thoughts, and make plans that set you up for success.
The good news is, that not all journaling practices are the same. There’s a style (or styles) to suit everyone and you get to choose which ones work best for you.
We have rounded up four of our faves and included all their life-changing benefits as well as a pro tip for getting the most from each one.
In the words of Zig Ziglar “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Likewise, Stephen Kellog says, “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t.”
Basically? Goal-setting not only gives you a leg up; it also ensures you’re moving in the direction you actually want to go – and using a journal to set goals and chart your progress is pretty much guaranteed to secure your success.
But don’t just take our word for it: According to research, people who write down their goals have an 80 per cent higher chance of achieving them, not just because the process inspires you to think practically about your goal and create a plan to get there, but because it triggers the brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS filters out all the non-essential messages and hones in on the stuff that will help you achieve your goal.
In other words, when you use a goal-setting journal like our Productivity & Wellness Journal you’re not only keeping yourself accountable, you’re priming your brain to be on the lookout for opportunities for growth. It’s a win-win!
PRO TIP: Be flexible with your goals. It’s normal for goals to shift and evolve over time. Six months from now you might be ready to set a bigger and better goal or you may have had an inspired idea that’s taken you in a slightly different direction.
The important thing is to keep taking steps that bring you closer to where you want to be – so whatever goals you’ve set be sure to review and remind yourself of them regularly.
You can’t be angry, sad or fearful in the same moment you’re grateful. Think about that for a second. It means that the fastest way to alleviate any negative emotion is to focus on something – anything - you can feel grateful for. No matter how bad things get, you always have the choice to shift from negativity and lack to joy and appreciation.
That’s why we created The Head Plan Gratitude Journal, to help you make gratitude a daily practice in less than five minutes a day. Doing so, not only helps you find more joy in the present moment, it also ensures you’ll have even more to feel grateful for in the next moment too. Why? Because gratitude has a compound effect.
Oprah puts it best. She says, “The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because – for sure – what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
Put simply, the energy of gratitude amplifies all that is good in your life. It multiplies your blessings and ensures you have even more to appreciate. To top it all of, counting your blessings is also shown to increase mindfulness, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with others too.
PRO TIP: Use The Head Plan Gratitude Journal morning and night and remember to keep gratitude with you throughout the day. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Say thank you for water and coffee! Received some good news? Say thank you for it.
Here’s a bonus tip: If you notice your mood has dipped during the day, grab your gratitude journal, flip through the pages and remind yourself of everything you have to be grateful for.
‘You are what you eat’ and ‘eat your greens’ are nuggets of wisdom that can set you up for success in every area of your life. Why? Because how we nourish our bodies directly impacts our energy.
Creating a weekly meal plan with our Nourish meal planner helps you make more conscious food choices, allowing you to prevent energy dips, fuels your mind to perform at its best, and gives your body what it needs to flourish and grow.
Meal planning is associated with better nutrient variety and diet quality that contributes to improved physical health. It can also reduce your grocery bill spend, help you reach health goals, and free up mental mindset, allowing you to focus on other things.
PRO TIP: When meal planning, aim for a broad spectrum of nutrients spread across the week. Think fruits and veggies, nuts and grains, lean protein and Omega 3s. The more colourful your plate the better! Remember, it’s not about being super rigid or strict with yourself, but about making more mindful food choices that set you up for a good day.
Get ready to have your mind blown. Researchers say we have around 60,000 thoughts a day and – get this – the majority of those thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday and the day before that. Most of us have been operating with the same limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that we’ve had since we were children, and without proper investigation, they can hamper us in all sorts of ways.
That’s where free-writing in a blank journal comes in. It’s a way to uncover your limiting beliefs, cut through uncomfortable feelings, and make sense of stuff that, for the most part, is hidden in our subconscious. It can also be used to jot down inspired thoughts, record observations and make plans.
This style of journaling has been scientifically proven to improve emotional wellbeing, boost mental clarity and reduce stress. It’s also great at helping you break through your limitations, solve problems and shift a sorry mood. It’s even a form of therapy, prescribed by psychotherapists to help their patients work through tricky emotions.
Our thoughts can feel heavy at times – free-writing is like lifting the load.
PRO TIP: Make free writing a regular practice. Think of it like a brain dump before bed and get all those niggling thoughts and worries out on paper. You don’t need to have all the answers right away and it’s okay if the process feels a little messy and uncomfortable. Just by writing down whatever is on your mind, however seemingly complicated or trivial, you’re clearing the mental clutter and making space for clarity.
Write It Down And Make It Happen…
Ever heard the phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’? It’s true of journaling too. In life, there are often so many things battling for our attention that it can be tricky to stay focused on the stuff that matters. But you don’t need to fight against the distractions; Journaling gives you back your power.
Whether it’s creating a meal plan that allows you to share the most shiny and energetic version of yourself with the world, clearing the mental clutter with a regular free-writing practice, or setting aligned goals, journaling allows you to make the best of your life now. Not tomorrow or next year, now. The pen is, quite literally, in your hands.
“Own the day. Don’t let the day own you.”
You’ve no doubt seen that phrase pop up on Instagram or noticed it on The Head Plan App. But consider this: How often has the day gotten away from you? How many times have you been too tired, distracted or overwhelmed to do things you set out to?
If you answered ‘regularly’ there’s no shame in that. With urgent deadlines, competing commitments, and outside demands, it can be easy to lose focus on the stuff that really matters. But don’t stress because that’s where productivity comes in.
What even is productivity?
If you flip open a dictionary, you’ll learn that productivity is a measure of efficiency and output. But in human terms, it’s much more complex than that. Productivity isn’t simply about getting more done with less time and effort, but crucially, getting the most important stuff done, with less time and effort.
Tony Robbins sums it up. He says, “The bridge between dreams and achievement is taking massive determined action. One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.”
Basically? Productivity is concentrating your power in the direction of your priorities and goals, and guess what? You can rewire your daily habits to make productivity work for you.
What Productivity Isn’t
While we’re on the topic, productivity isn’t about being relentlessly busy or working yourself to the point of exhaustion. Quite the opposite in fact. Productivity is about setting yourself up to win and that means protecting, respecting, and conserving your energy so you can give your all to the tasks that matter most. Quite simply, it’s about working smarter not harder.
So now you know what productivity is – and crucially, what it isn’t – are you ready to unleash its power? Here’s how…
How To Amp Up Your Productivity
Plan the day
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: planning your day is one of the most life-changing things you’ll ever do. Why? Because not only does it organise all your daily goals, tasks and to-dos in one place, which can counteract overwhelm and stress, it also keeps you accountable. And accountability and productivity go hand in hand!
Consider The Head Plan Daily Goals page your productivity base camp. It’s where productive days live, allowing you to set tasks and prioritise, so you always know what you have to do and when.
Feel yourself procrastinating on some of the daily tasks you’ve set for yourself? Practice the 5-Second Rule (and no, it is not the one you use when you drop your toast on the floor).
Coined by Mel Robbins, the 5-Second Rule involves giving yourself five seconds to begin any task. If you find yourself hesitating on an activity, simply count down from five and do it before you get to zero.
Et voila – another tick on your to-do list.
Divide and conquer
It’s Monday morning and you’re staring at your to-do list not knowing where to begin or what to prioritise. Enter the Eisenhower Method. To use it, first, figure out which tasks are urgent, and which are important.
Here’s the difference: important tasks are the ones that focus on your priorities and bring you closer to your goals, while urgent tasks are activities that need to be completed ASAP and are often related to helping other people achieve their goals.
Divide your tasks into four categories by deciding whether each one is:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
The trick is to prioritise the important tasks and leave a little wiggle room in your schedule for what’s urgent. If a task is not important but needs completing, consider rescheduling or delegating it if possible. If it’s not important or urgent, you can consider forgoing it completely.
Another tip? Use the Eat That Frog Method created by Brian Tracy, simply complete the most challenging task of your day first thing in the morning. This nixes procrastination in the bud and frees up your energy for all the other tasks you want to work on that day.
Nourish and drench
You are what you eat. We’ll bet you’ve heard that phrase a million and one times, but did you know your productivity is a reflection of the things you eat and drink too? Get this: Our bodies are over 70 per cent water so drinking a few extra mls with your Daily Drench throughout the day is sure to keep your energy and focus on an even level.
There are stacks of foods that are scientifically proven to boost productivity too, like salmon that elevates mental performance, berries that improve memory recall, and avocados that stimulate energy-boosting blood flow.
Even a square or two of dark chocolate has been shown to give your productivity a boost. Grab your Nourish meal plan and begin adding nutrient-packed foods throughout the day.
A pro tip? Think about when you most need an extra shot of energy in your day. It could be in the mornings when you crave something nutrient-dense to kickstart your day or after lunch when the tiredness starts to set in. Aim to up your water intake before these times and add in a healthy snack: bananas, green smoothies, nuts, and eggs are all good choices.
3pm slump? Don’t know her.
In the book Success Principles, bestselling author Jack Clanfield explains why rewarding yourself for completing tasks is so damn effective for productivity. He explains that inside each of us is three separate ego states: the parentlike ego, the adult ego and the childlike ego.
The childlike ego, as you might expect, acts much like a child does and it doesn’t matter whether you’re 23 or 93, all of us has an inner child who will happily act up and keep us from getting our work done. To keep this part of yourself in check, you need to enlist the help of your parentlike ego, the part of you that ensures you do all the sensible but kinda boring stuff, like eating your greens and meeting your deadlines.
Your parent ego needs to step in and set rewards for the childlike part of you in much the same way that you’d tell a five-year-old they can have an ice cream when they’ve finished their homework.
Jack explains, “Rewarding yourself for your successes keeps your inner child happy and compliant. It knows it can trust you to eventually deliver on your promises. If you don’t, just like a real child, it will start to sabotage your efforts,” - and derail your productivity to boot!
Science shows that the closer the reward, the harder you work, so, open The Head Plan Journal and jot down a daily productivity reward that will inspire you to finish that challenging report, complete that demanding workout and power through that tricky bout of procrastination. We promise you; it works!
It’s good to get stuff done but you don’t need to be constantly hustling and grinding to achieve your goals. Stress, overwhelm and exhaustion are not conducive to success. In fact, in a study on workplace productivity, 41 per cent of employees said stress negatively affected their output. That’s why sometimes being unproductive is the most productive thing to do.
Our advice? Carve out time in your daily schedule to relax and recharge. Taking that time out when you need it ensures you’ll be back to your most productive self faster than you can say ‘ticked off all the tasks on my to-do list’.
Need some proof? A study published in 2020 found that people who take regular naps are happier and more productive than those who don’t. Repeat after us: being busy and being productive are not the same thing.
The Power Of Productivity...
If you’ve ever heard yourself saying that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, now is the time to rewire and reset. Productivity doesn’t discriminate; everyone can be productive if they try, and with the right routine, you can end each day feeling accomplished and ever closer to your goals.
The best way to get something done is to begin now. Not tomorrow, not next week, but now, so go on and refocus your attention on the stuff that matters. You’ll thank yourself in the future.
The Head Plan Gratitude Journal is here! And it’s packed full of game-changing gratitude practices that are going to help you up-level everything from your personal development to your career quicker than you can say ‘Living my best life’.
Gratitude is your permanently positive sidekick. Not only is it a way to find more depth, meaning, and joy in the present moment; gratitude helps you to accumulate even more. It’s one of the most high-vibe emotions you can adapt and get this, it’s impossible to feel stressed, angry, sad or fearful, in the same moment as you’re feeling grateful. Let that sink in: When you’re grateful negative emotions literally can not exist.
Better yet, you can practice an attitude of gratitude anytime, anyplace, no matter what you’re going through because guess what? Not only is it possible to practice gratitude in the face of adversity and challenge, it’s essential. (It’s scientifically proven to boost resilience and increase emotional strength).
Loads of highly successful people are already out there reaping the rewards of gratitude, like Oprah who says “Be grateful for what you have and you’ll end up having more” or mindset coach Vex King who points out that the more you count your blessings, the more blessings you’ll have to count.
You can soak up the life-changing benefits of this magical practice too! But first…
The Science Of Gratitude
Need a little more convincing? Neuroscientists say that when you practice gratitude your brain is flooded with positive chemicals that boost feelings of happiness and optimism. In fact, studies show expressing gratitude raises happiness by 25 per cent and, at the same time, reduces toxic emotions like anger, envy, depression and regret.
It’s infectious too. Robert Emmons, the world-leading expert on gratitude, refers to it as a “relationship-strengthening emotion.” It’s proven to add depth to the relationships you have with others and prompts them to express more gratitude too. What’s more, it enhances empathy, reduces aggression, and inspires acts of kindness to boot.
According to studies, gratitude can even make you physically healthier and people who make it a consistent habit experience fewer aches and pains than those who don’t. They also tend to have lower levels of stress, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Oh, and it’s proven to help you sleep better too!
If that’s not enough, people who practice gratitude make 20 per cent more progress towards their goals, so just like Oprah says, when you’re grateful for what you already have, you end up having a whole lot more.
How to practice gratitude with The Head Plan Gratitude Journal
Jot it down
Something magical happens when you put pen to paper. It triggers a biological process known as dual encoding. During this process, information travels to the brain’s hippocampus where it’s analysed and placed in your memory. That means, when you record what you’re grateful for in writing, it’ll be easier to recall, and you can go back and focus on it when you need it most – kinda like an instant pick-me-up.
It's the very reason we’ve provided a space in our new gratitude journal for you to write down three things you’re grateful for every day in as little as five minutes a day.
While you’re at it, you can also write down what you’re most looking forward to that day. It could be that first sip of your morning tea, a catch up with your best friend, or a movie night with your other half. Whatever it is, write it down and let those grateful feelings flow.
Record your wins
We reckon you’re a real winner. No seriously, we do, and we want you to believe it too. Your one-stop shop to recognising – and appreciating – all your achievements? Documenting them! That’s why we’ve included a ‘My Highest Point Today’ prompt in the gratitude journal.
When you take a moment to recognise and feel grateful for what you have achieved, not only do you unlock motivation, you also match the vibrational frequency of your goals.
It’s as simple as this: Appreciating the progress you’ve made or noticing something special that occurred during your day, inspires you to create more of the same. How’s that for winning?
Add an affirmation
Want to guarantee you’ll have even more things to be grateful for, not just today but every day? Add an affirmation! For the uninitiated, affirmations are positive statements that have the power to rewire your subconscious beliefs and in The Head Plan Gratitude Journal, we encourage you to set one every day. Doing so sets a powerful intention for the day ahead and can inform how the next 24 hours of your life pan out.
To set one, think about how you want to feel today. Grateful? Grounded? Excited? Calm? The secret to affirmations is repetition so say it out loud or in your mind over and over again to see your circumstances shift.
Coupled with gratitude, affirmations have the power to rewire limiting beliefs and shift your energetic state from lack and fear to joy, love, and fulfilment. And honestly, who wouldn’t like more of that?!
End the day on a high
Question time: do you end your day feeling positive, satisfied and excited for tomorrow? Or agitated, depleted and filled with next-day dread? If you fall into the latter camp, it’s time to shift gears with bedtime gratitude.
Our subconscious minds are most easily programmed when we first wake and right before we fall asleep, and what you focus on in the 45 minutes before you nod off gets replayed by your subconscious mind up to six times through the night. That means you have an amazing opportunity to reset your emotional state before bed.
All you have to do is refocus your mind on what you’re grateful for – it could be something as simple as the tasty salad you ate for lunch or something huge like the pay rise you received. What you pick doesn’t matter, how it makes you feel does - and even finding one thing to be grateful for can make a difference.
So go on, end the day with a positive thought – we’ve given you a space to do just that!
Make it a daily habit
Gratitude isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a way of life and it works best when you practice it day in day out – and in The Head Plan Gratitude Journal, we’ve given you all the tools you need to do that.
Want to go one further? Fall asleep counting your blessings instead of sheep. Have a gratitude recap on your lunch break by re-reading your gratitude list. Pick one person and tell them why you’re so grateful to have them in your life.
Keep appreciating all the good around you no matter what is going on in your life, because as Iyanla Vanzant puts it, “Gratitude is like a magnet; the more grateful you are, the more you will receive to be grateful for.”
Now is the time to be truly grateful…
Gratitude is a life-transforming gift and there is no time like the present to embrace it.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
We know which one we’re choosing – come join us!
Drinking water or getting #drenched as we like to call it, is pretty much considered the holy grail of healthy habits – and for good reason.
Ever heard the phrase water cures everything? Well, hot soaks and cold swims aside, it’s drinking the stuff that can provide the biggest benefits, not just for your body, but for your mind as well.
A few litres of this saintly sip can make you feel on top of the world and all you have to do to reap the rewards is remember to drink up.
So, excuse us while we geek out for a minute and uncover all the wonderful reasons to drink water – with some handy tips on how to up your water dose for good measure, too.
First things first, how much should you actually be drinking?
Two litres per day is generally accepted as the gold standard of water consumption, but some studies suggest women actually need a little extra to function at their very best, so play it by ear, and if you reckon you need more? Drink up - and don’t wait until your thirsty! Water works best when you’re enjoying it throughout the day.
Now, without further ado, here’s why we are passionate about our #dailydrench and reckon you should too.
Banish bad moods
Often find yourself losing your cool or getting irrotationally annoyed by life’s little niggles? Drink a glass of water and see how you feel. Experts say even mild dehydration can cause an increase in anger, fatigue and mood swings – especially for women. And you won’t always feel thirsty first. Sometimes your mood will change before the craving for an icy cold glass kicks in.
If your mood has gone downhill, studies show water has the power to alter your emotions and a humble glass of H20 is the fastest way to get back on track.
Pro tip: Get yourself a gorgeous 1 litre water bottle. Not only does it make water tracking super easy, you’ll also be more inclined to drink more water it when it’s inside a beautiful bottle, like, ahem, our gorgeous #DailyDrench Water Bottles for example.
Flush out all the nasty stuff
Without getting into too much of the nitty-gritty, water aids your kidneys in filtering waste and flushing out toxins. It can also help with nutrient absorption too, meaning vitamins and minerals, and all that other good stuff you’ve been nourishing your body with gets absorbed more easily.
Plus, it aids digestion by helping your body break down the food you eat more easily. Bye-Bye Toxins!
Pro Tip: Track it. We’ve included a handy way to do this inside The Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal. Fill in the little bottles next to your self-care and wellness actions as you go along. You’ll know how much you’ve drank, and it’ll motivate you to drink more.
Say bye-bye to fatigue
Ever find yourself yawning by 3pm? Or clinging to the sheets when the alarm goes off? Nope, you’re not lazy, you’re probably just dehydrated, and science proves it. Being dehydrated by just two percent can knock you off your game, impacting cognitive function, and limiting your concentration, alertness, and focus.
Get this: Nearly every system in the human body requires water to function, so when you’re dehydrated it’s no surprise that you’re unable to perform at your best. Forget fizzy energy drinks or cups of something caffeinated, it’s wonderful water that will give you the biggest boost.
Pro tip: Stick it in the fridge the night before. It’s the first rule of habit-forming: make it obvious and make it easy. When you walk into your kitchen first thing, your icy cold bottle of water will be there ready and waiting.
…And hello to healthy skin
Love a good 15-step skincare routine? Us too, but one of the most important things you can do for glowing, healthy skin is up your water intake, and there’s some scientific evidence to prove it.
One study suggests drinking just an extra 500ml of water a day increases blood flow through the capillaries in the skin, helping to improve skin tone. Others claim it can detoxify your complexion, slow signs of ageing, and give you that coveted glow.
If clear, radiant, healthy skin makes you happy then drinking water is where it’s at.
Pro tip: Flavour it - the healthy way. Add a squeeze of lime or lemon, or a slice of orange. Or go one further. Brew your favourite herbal tea and leave to chill for a hydrating treat.
Achieve your goals
Don’t believe water can make your dreams possible? Well, consider this. Water has been proven to boost your focus, alertness and concentration. It keeps you sharp and on top of your game.
Add to that, it keeps your body in tip-top condition, boosts cognitive function, manages your mood, and improves physical performance, whether you’re running a marathon or writing an essay.
Bottom line, water makes you feel good, and if that’s not a recipe for success then we don’t know what is.
Pro tip: Set a timer. If you consider yourself the forgetful sort, setting reminders throughout the day might help. A gentle nudge every couple of hours ought to do the trick.
Drinking water is one of the easiest and most simple ways you can care for your body and mind – and the best bit is it’s totally free! All you need is a little bit of discipline, and once you’ve seen the wonderful, energy-giving, mood-boosting, performance peaking benefits for yourself, you’ll be wild about water and easily make H20 a habit.
Has anyone else worked up a thirst?
It will come as a surprise to precisely no one that here at The Head Plan we love nothing more than opening a brand new page in our journals every day and writing down our goals, plans, achievements and dreams. That’s because we know just how powerful journaling practice can be and we want each and every one of you to be able to tap into that magic too.
It’s the very reason we provided you with a guided journaling experience in The Head Plan Journal. We know there’s power in those pages, and that the first day of your best life starts the moment you turn the page.
Journaling is the secret to getting clarity on your hopes, goals and dreams, believing you can achieve anything, and making it all happen. It can help you tackle stress, prioritise what’s important, and increase your productivity and performance too!
But don’t just take our word for it...
What the science says
Journaling has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and help you reach your goals.
In fact, Scientists found the simple act of writing out our goals activates the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS), the part responsible for sorting through what’s important, meaning when you get your goal on paper your brain is literally trained to focus on it.
Freewriting when we encounter a problem is also known to help us problem solve and tackle limiting blocks that can hold us back from our best too, while – here’s the big one – writing out your goals AND making concrete plans for their attainment (like you will find in The Head Plan Journal ) makes you ten times more likely to achieve them, according to Harvard Business School.
Journaling has even been shown to be beneficial for your physical health. Studies have linked a reduction in symptoms of conditions such as asthma and arthritis with a regular journaling practice and research also shows journaling can strengthen your immune system too.
If you’ve got big dreams - which we know you do - journaling is your not-so-secret weapon to success. Here’s why...
You’ll laser-focus on your goals
Take a second to let this one sink in: You are 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and review them on a regular basis.
Putting pen to paper encourages you to strategize, it motivates you to make a plan of action, and it sends a signal to your brain that this is something important. Plus, it gives you a handy spot where you can review them on the regular.
Journaling isn’t just about setting goals, it’s about achieving them too, so write down a handful of things you really want to make happen. Just by writing them down and making a plan, you’re already almost halfway there.
You’ll make the most out of every day
You know that popular quote ‘Live each day as if it’s your last’? We prefer ‘live each day with intention’ and that’s exactly what you’re doing when you journal every day.
You’re prioritising and setting clear intentions not just occasionally, but every single day and amazing things happen when you do. You create a life that’s in alignment with your goals, you make time for the things that matter, and you put your energy to the very best use.
Ever heard the phrase ‘run the day, don’t let the day run you’? That’s exactly what happens when you put pen to paper each day. You take control. And every time you complete a task you’re moving one step closer to your goals.
Take heed of Jack Canfield’s advice. He says if you want to achieve anything you should jot down three steps you can take daily to get closer to your goals. So what are you waiting for?!
You’ll get clarity
Whether it’s jotting down your goals, writing out your thoughts when you’re unsure of something or making a plan for the day ahead, there’s something magical about getting it all out on paper.
When you write something out, everything becomes so much clearer. You gain clarity about what you truly want in life and are more likely to know the steps you need to take in order to get it. If it’s a problem that’s bugging you, getting your thoughts down can help you problem solve and move forward.
When you’re armed with pen and paper those little life obstacles are easier to navigate and don’t seem quite so daunting, so next time you’re unsure of something, try writing out everything and anything that comes to mind. It’ll make a difference -we promise!
You’ll have a record of your achievements
We want you to know you’re amazing and that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It’s the very reason we included the ‘Today I am Most Proud Of’ Section in The Head Plan Journal.
Journaling your achievements not only reminds you how far you’ve come, it also spurs you on to achieve more. Anytime you need a confidence boost or a jolt of motivation, make time to flip back through those magical pages and reminisce about all that you’ve achieved so far.
And when you do? You’ll feel like Beyonce at the Superbowl/ Michelle Obama making a speech/ Emma Stone accepting an Oscar. You get the picture.
You’ll reflect and grow
You know that old adage ‘what gets measured, gets managed?’ Well, get this, people who regularly review their goals are 33 per cent more likely to achieve them. Yes, for a third of goal-setters, simply reflecting on their goals and reviewing the progress they made was the secret ingredient in making those dreams a reality.
Using your journal to reflect allows you to stay focused on what you really want, spot opportunities that move you forward and plan your next steps.
Achieving what you really want in life is supposed to be difficult? Nope. Achieving your goals doesn’t have to be a struggle and using your journal to reflect can help you to work smarter not harder.
Whether it’s filling out your weekly reflection in The Head Plan Journal or reading through your goals at night, taking the time to reflect is what will keep you on track.
Make it happen!
The first day of your best life starts with one simple decision. The decision to open your journal and begin prioritising your hopes and dreams. There’s something magical about putting pen to paper. And anyone can do it! Yes, that includes you.
So, go on, write it down and make it happen.