Every year I buy myself a brand new diary and each year, I fail to use the diary. In the past few years I've also found myself purchasing a large number of workbooks - books I'm meant to fill in and then use to have "the best year ever." The theme is the same - I start with the best intentions, but I never complete them and by the end of the year, they're languishing in a drawer somewhere.

This year, I've decided enough is enough. 

2018 is the first year in a very long time that I haven't bought a diary. I have no calendars. I haven't purchased any goal setting workbooks. There are a variety of reasons I've made the decision to stop purchasing items like these, the first being it is incredibly wasteful to purchase things I don't use. This year I'm saving both my wallet and the environment.

That said, there's another reason behind my decision to ditch planners, organisers and workbooks in 2018.

Perhaps my biggest realisation in 2017 was that you have to get out there and live your life - organising and planning is absolutely no good if you don't go out and implement it. I've realised that my love for workbooks was playing a large part in the trap I'd fallen into, the trap of always planning but never taking action. I'd set aside an afternoon to write long lists of things I wanted to do and imagine I'd get round to them one day. List complete, I'd turn the TV on or start playing Stardew Valley. In a few months time, I'd remember the list, I'd feel bad that nothing was complete and then I'd write another list to rectify the situation. The cycle would then repeat.

Finding the balance between planning and action 

As is often the case, I'm learning that there is a balance to be found if I am to live a happy and successful life. It's incredibly hard to achieve anything without a good plan, but it's all too easy to spend too much time organising yourself and not enough time doing what needs to be done.

This year, I've recorded a handful of measurable and timebound goals digitally with some brief notes on how I could achieve these goals. I refer back to these goals at least weekly so they are always present in my mind, but the main focus is on actually carrying out the tasks in those notes.

Over the course of 2018, I'm hoping that this new approach will leave me feeling more content because I can see that I'm achieving things, even if it's just small victories each week.