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.
Manifestation. If your initial reaction when you hear this word is to eye roll then you don't know what we are talking about. What you don't realise is that you have been manifesting your life thus far and it is within your benefit to learn more to consciously create the world you want to see.
But what actually is manifestation and can you really use it to attract all that you desire? It is NOT thinking hard about that house or new car that you desire and wishing it into reality. It is getting clear on your desires, aligning your actions and believing wholeheartedly that they are all possible. In order to manifest successfully you need to become the change you want to see.
Manifestation: What is it?
Put in the most basic of terms, manifesting is the process of creating. It’s the magical moment when the thing you’ve been working on comes to life without resistance. Most people use the term to describe making their dreams a reality, and usually, it’s referring to the Law of Attraction too.
If you aren’t familiar, the Law Of Attraction is the belief that our thoughts and feelings create our reality. Evidence of this is all around us. We’re all part of one big energy field; you’re made of energy, the chair you’re sitting on right now is energy, and the things you’re focusing on are energy too.
When you focus on something over and over again – whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, the Law of Attraction says you are attracting that thing to you, kinda like a paperclip to a magnet.
Author and manifestation expert Gabby Bernstein puts it like this: “Every thought you have is a message you send to the Universe. The Universe is always saying YES to your thoughts, energy, and emotions. Therefore, what you put out you will receive back—whether you want it or not.”
If you’re new to the Law of Attraction you might be pretty excited to sit back and let the universe deliver everything you’ve ever wanted, but hold it right there. Manifesting is a co-creative process. That means you don’t just think about manifesting; you’ve got some work to do too.
To attract everything you’ve ever wanted you’ll need to work through some limiting beliefs that have been holding you back, actively embody the person you want to be, and – here’s the super important bit – take consistent action towards your goals. Your thoughts and feelings create your life, but action is the magic ingredient that makes it all happen.
Ready to start intentionally manifesting? Here’s how…
How To Manifest
Set your intentions
The first step to manifesting your dream life? Getting super honest with yourself about what you actually want. Sometimes it can feel scary to dream big but let yourself imagine that anything and everything is possible for you because guess what? It is! Believing this is key, you cannot manifest something if you don't believe it is possible.
Once you’ve gotten crystal clear on what you want, commit those goals on paper. Go on, write it down and make it happen. This is your opportunity to open up The Head Plan Journal, get clear on what you really want, align your actions to your goals, and in turn manifest them into your life.
(Psst! This part is actually super important. When you write something down you’re asking the brain to pay attention. This process triggers the Reticular Activating System, the part of our brain that does all the filtering and organizing. It’s always on the lookout for new information and opportunities that relate to the thing you’ve written down and will seek out new ways for you to achieve your goal.)
Tackle limiting beliefs
Your beliefs can block you and hold you back and you might find it more difficult to manifest without tackling them head-on. Have you always believed money is limited and difficult to come by? You’ll need to change that if you want to become a millionaire. Trying to attract your soulmate? That could prove tricky if deep down you don’t believe you’re worthy of love.
The great news is, you get to choose what you believe, and if you have beliefs that are no longer serving you, you have the power to change them. The first step is awareness. That means paying attention and getting to know what your limiting beliefs actually are. (Pro tip: they often start with ‘I can’t’ and ‘I’m not’.)
The next step is affirmations. Simply take that limiting belief and flip it on its head. Have you been telling yourself that money is limited and doesn’t grow on trees? Start telling yourself ‘Money is an unlimited resource and it’s always flowing to me’ and repeat it over and over (and over and over) again until it starts to feel true.
Want to make affirmations a consistent habit? Easy. Join The Head Plan community with our free app to receive an empowering affirmation sent straight to your phone every morning at 8am.
Get into alignment
Embodying the person you want to become might sound like a stretch but it can be somewhat easy when you know how – and there are stacks of practices you can use to get into alignment quick fast, like practising gratitude, visualising your goals as though they have already been achieved, and scripting – kinda like a diary entering from the future.
One of our faves? Vision-boarding. Find images that represent your goals and make you feel excited about them. Then attach them to a vision board and pop it somewhere you’ll see it every day so you’re always reminded of your goals. Seeing your deepest desires on your board helps you to believe they are possible and are in your future.
One of the most vital elements of manifesting though is aligning your actions to your goals. Ever heard the phrase teamwork makes the dream work? Manifesting is kinda the same: it takes two to bring your goals to reality - you and the Universe. Aligning your actions is one of the most powerful things you can do because it sends a message to the universe that you are ready to receive them.
Now for the tricky part. You know all those goals you set? It’s time to let them go. We don’t mean to give up on them. No, letting go means trusting that they are possible and they are being delivered to you (much like an online order!). It means not obsessing, worrying or doubting that you can and will achieve your goals. And it also means letting go of the need to control how your goals happen.
Rhonda Byrne, the creator of the book and film The Secret, says to successfully manifest you need to “eliminate all doubt and replace it with the full expectation that you will receive what you are asking for.”
Struggling to let go and let it happen? Here’s a pro tip: When you feel doubt creeping in, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and visualize your goal in vivid detail. Really get into it until you feel your energy shift.
That high vibe bubble of excitement you feel when you picture your goals? Keep going back to it any time that controlling energy rears its head.
No matter who you are and where you’re at in your life, you can decide this very second to turn your world around because the Law Of Attraction isn’t selective. It doesn’t pick and choose who it works for and who it doesn’t. Each and every one of us can manifest. In fact, you’ve manifested every single thing in your life so far, probably without even being aware of it.
If we could sum the whole manifestation process up in one sentence it would be this one that we’ve borrowed from mindset coach and best-selling personal development author Jack Canfield:
“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”
So, what are you waiting for? Everything you want is yours for the taking. Go and get it.
Quick question: what do you do before bed? Do you scroll on your phone until you feel bleary-eyed? Get lost in the pages of a good book? Or squeeze in the last episode of that terrifying true crime series?
Whichever camp you fall into, your pre-bedtime habits can make or break you and if you’ve ever woken up in the morning feeling out of sorts for no obvious reason, your evening routine could be to blame.
Why? Because the things we consume in the 45 minutes before we go to sleep – whether it’s an unsettling true crime doc or a lengthy scroll on social media – are replayed by our subconscious mind up to six times while we sleep.
Basically? If you went to bed feeling ticked off or upset there’s a strong chance you’ll wake up feeling the same way. And ultimately, that feeling will play out the rest of the day unless you do something to actively change it.
While that might sound like bad news, it’s actually a great opportunity. As our subconscious minds are most easily programmed in the moments before we fall asleep, it means you can actively shift your bedtime routine to ensure you feed your mind with wonderful thoughts that help it to expand and grow.
By focusing on your goals at bedtime, reinforcing positive beliefs, and feeding your subconscious mind with inspiration, you are literally priming it to seek out success. And all it takes is a few subtle shifts to see the benefits.
Right now, you can decide to put an evening ritual in place that enriches you and sets you up for the best evening possible, so are you ready? Here’s how…
How To Create An Evening Ritual
Carve out a schedule
All good habits start with a schedule. Don’t just take our word for it. In Atomic Habits, author James Clear notes that scheduling a time to complete a task is one of the key habit-forming ingredients. By assigning a time to a new habit, you are far more likely to complete it. So before you start plotting what you’re going to do before bed, start planning the ‘when’.
Our pro tip? Figure out what time you want to be asleep by and work back from there. Research says you should start winding down for bed one to two hours before nodding off. Want to be lights out by 10.30? You could start by switching your phone off at 8.30 to get rid of distraction, running a hot bath to relax your body or getting into your cosiest PJs to signal that it’s time for bed.
Once you have these habits sussed you can set aside some time for activities that help you recharge, refocus and replenish. Reckon that sounds like a whole lot of effort? It really isn't. Dr Wayne Dyer believed that you could successfully reprogram your mind in as little as five minutes, by thinking positively right before you fall asleep.
Our suggestion? Try adding one new habit at a time – like reading 10 pages of a book, journaling in The Head Plan Journal, or meditating for 5 minutes – you can then add on more activities over time. You don’t want to overwhelm your ritual.
Plan for the day ahead
Feeling consumed with worry right before you drift off? It’s time for a brain dump. The Head Plan Journal is a great place to unload and get all your tasks and activities out on paper. Doing so is proven to reduce stress, clear worry, and allows you to take back control.
Another benefit? Planning ahead before you fall asleep also helps you to refocus on your goals at the exact time your mind is at its most impressionable.
Want to go one further in the preparation stakes? Fill up your Daily Drench bottle and stick it in the fridge so you can grab it first thing and lay out your outfit to save on decision-making come morning.
You’ll sleep easy knowing so many of your to-dos are already taken care of and you’ll have more energy to direct toward your goals when you wake.
PRO TIP: Can’t resist a sneak peek at your phone before you go to sleep? Manifestation coach Kathrin Zenkina advises setting your vision board as your screensaver so that when you do pick up your phone you’re subconsciously focusing on your goals.
Feed your mind and soul
Ask yourself this: How do you want to feel when you wake up in the mornings? Do you want to feel centred, empowered, and calm? Maybe you want to feel upbeat, focused, and ready to take on the world. Once you’ve landed on an answer, consider what evening activities could help you achieve those emotions.
It could be that you need to meditate to reconnect with yourself and absorb the day. Maybe you need to reflect on your biggest achievements so you feel motivated to go after your goals again tomorrow. (We’ve provided a space for you to do just that inside The Head Plan Journal).
Creating an evening ritual that works for you is about uncovering what you need and how you want to feel so grab your journal and get clear.
Stuck for ideas? Here are a few of our favourites…
- Take five minutes to yourself with a cup of herbal tea
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Reflect on your wins and successes from the day
- Read an inspiring book
- Recite affirmations
- Visualize your goals as you fall asleep
Make room for Gratitude
Even if you had the worst day there is always – yes, ALWAYS – something to be grateful for and we thoroughly believe practising gratitude, particularly before bed, is one of the most life-changing things you can do.
Humans have an in-built negativity bias that means we’re primed to focus on our complaints. While this primitive function protects us from danger, it also means we have to work a little harder to find the positives.
That’s where gratitude comes in – shown to reduce stress, boost optimism and increase productivity. It's a surefire way to ensure you go to sleep with a smile on your face. It also provides a healthy dose of perspective that allows you to reframe even the most difficult days.
Before drifting off, Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, advises mentally running through the past 24 hours and trying to find the very best thing that happened that day. It could be something simple like that first sip of tea in the morning or something huge like receiving a job offer or getting approved for a mortgage.
We’ve also provided a space in The Head Plan Journal to note down what you’re grateful for that day. It only takes a few minutes but, thanks to the subconscious mind’s ability to replay our thoughts, that feeling of gratitude will carry right through until the next morning.
Good night, great day…
A great day starts before you close your eyes the night before. It starts with a decision. The decision to put your needs and wellbeing first and to drift off in a good mood that will impact the energy you give to the world the next day.
Good moods don’t just happen by chance, they are the result of rituals and routines that set you up for success. So go on, rewire your evening ritual and feel the difference, not just today, but every day.
You are the only person you will always have.
We want you to read that sentence again. Take a second and really let it sink in. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had the same group of friends since childhood, spend 24 hours a day with your other half, or share a deep connection with your work colleagues; the relationship you have with yourself is the most intimate and long-lasting one you’ll ever have.
Think of it like this: You’ve been in a relationship with yourself every second of every day since the moment you were born. You can’t take a break or go on a holiday from you.
Given this knowledge, you’d imagine nurturing this relationship would be priority number ONE. But for many of us, the relationship we have with ourselves is the one we nurture the least. And some of us treat ourselves very poorly indeed.
But take heart, whether you’re a fan of regular ‘me’ time or wouldn’t know self-care if it walked up and introduced itself, there are many ways to revolutionize the way you interact with yourself.
But first things first…
Why is this whole self-love thing so important anyway?
Well, it’s one of the singular most important things you can do to improve your wellbeing. No, we aren’t being OTT, science says so too.
Research says by developing our self-awareness we are able to see ourselves more clearly, make better decisions, and build our confidence and self-belief; the perfect ingredients for attaining your goals, if you ask us.
Not only that, nurturing a good relationship with yourself will strengthen the relationships you have with others too. Scientific studies suggest that tending to your own needs first adds depth to your interpersonal relationships and enables you to communicate more effectively. The premise is simple: the more you give to yourself, the more you have to give to others.
That’s not all. We reckon looking after number one is a magic bullet when it comes to living your best life. Armed with a self-loving mindset, we believe there’s nothing you can not have, do or be. (Trust us, it’s true!)
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few relationship-transforming pointers to get you started…
Feed your Soul
Your soul is a little like a plant. You need to feed it the right nutrients to ensure it grows. Just like you wouldn’t expect the plants in your garden to thrive without showering it with water and sunshine, you can’t expect your soul to flourish without nourishing it on the regular.
Showing your soul a little love doesn’t have to be a lengthy procedure. Grab 5 minutes of meditation in the morning on The Head Plan App, get yourself into a state of flow by journaling, or connect your mind, body and soul with a spot of yoga.
Struggling to think of other ideas? Ask yourself what you love to do. What activities allow you to be your best self? Open The Head Plan Journal and schedule them in. It only takes a little extra self-care every day to feel the difference.
Practice Self Compassion
Sometimes self-love feels like too much of a stretch. If having a relationship with yourself is new to you, it might be easier to start with self-compassion.
To put it simply, self-compassion means being a friend to the person you are right now. Think of how you interact with your close friends. You accept them for who they are and embrace their flaws and imperfections. They don’t need to do anything to meet your approval and you don’t expect them to be perfect.
Do you offer this same acceptance to yourself or do you believe you’re only worthy of acceptance if you meet some level of success or accomplishment?
If you fall into the latter camp, it’s time to bring in the big guns of compassion. That means removing judgement if you fall short of your own expectations, nurturing your negative feelings, and offering yourself the same level of understanding and empathy you give to the people you love.
The next time you find you’re beating yourself up: ask yourself, how could I respond to this in a more loving, kind and compassionate way? Got your answer? Great! Do that.
Conquer those limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs have a habit of holding us back from our hopes and dreams and they can be oh-so convincing. The thing is, they’re just negative chatter. They aren’t true: they are simply stories we have told ourselves, and you can de-construct these narratives quicker than you can say ‘Matcha latte, to go, please’.
The easiest way to rewire your beliefs? Affirmations. First, suss out what limiting beliefs are holding you back from your best and then turn them into positive statements.
Been telling yourself since day dot that you’re not good enough? Try ‘I am enough, I am capable and I succeed at everything I put my mind to’ on for size.
Finally? Repeat those affirmations over and over again – out loud or in your head – until they seep into your subconscious and begin to shape your reality.
Say ‘see ya’ to people-pleasing
Be honest with us: do you often put other people’s needs before your own? While it’s good to be kind and accommodating to others, excessive people-pleasing can often come at the expense of your boundaries and over time this behaviour can compound the idea that your needs are second best.
Ready to break the habit? Consider scheduling a no commitment day, where you tend to nobody’s needs but your own. Stick your phone on flight mode if you want to, say ‘no’ to that last-minute request that’s only going to cause you stress, and resist the urge to reply to your emails straight away.
Can you see how these subtle shifts allow you to value your needs, focus on your priorities, and conserve your energy for the stuff that matters? Use that insight to begin setting boundaries that honour you and your needs.
Paulo Coelho sums it up: “When you say yes, make sure you’re not saying no to yourself.” BRB, writing that one down.
Take Yourself On A Date
Coffee catchups with your besties, a romantic dinner with your other half, a lunch date with your colleagues…. We’ve no doubt you carve out plenty of time in the calendar for the people you love most. But let us ask you this, do you carve out anytime for yourself?
If you don’t, it’s time to start. Plan a date day with yourself that’s jam-packed with all the little indulgences you love. It could be a shopping trip with a pitstop for coffee and a slice of cake, appointments to get your hair, nails and brows done, or an afternoon exploring your favourite nature spot.
Imagine it’s your birthday and your best friend has been tasked with giving you the best day ever. Asks yourself what that day look like and then make it happen.
It could be something you do once a month, once a week, or around special occasions. The important thing is, you carve out that special time for you, just like you would a loved one. Doing so acts as a powerful reminder that you matter, so pop a date with you into the diary.
Me, Myself, And I…
We want you to know something: you matter and you are important. And there’s only one person who can give you all the love, approval and understanding you crave: YOU.
So go on, indulge in self-love and begin developing the relationship you have with yourself because to quote author and professor Brené Brown, “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do.”