Signature Planner Guide

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The Hemlock & Oak Signature Planner emphasizes your personal values by connecting and regularly reviewing them with you. You will discover, connect, and review values that are meaningful and important to you. This way, you can pursue goals while focusing on the journey and values that are intrinsic to you.

What are values?
Personal values are the behaviours and traits that are important to us. When we connect with our values, our stress decreases and contentment increases. This is because we become less work-centric as a result.

In a society where work is often the centerpiece of our identity, it's easy to lose sight of our values. We know that we value things like our health, loved ones, and wellbeing. That's why this planner has integrated your values into the design. You will be able to look after yourself in a mindful and self-compassionate way.

Self-reflection (p. 6-7) 

These questions help you reflect and look back on your life so you can discover your values later. The following examples are to only help prompt you and are not an exhaustive list. 
1. "What moments made you feel content?" - This can be small memories such as:
  • enjoying your morning coffee before anyone else is up (you value solitude to some degree)
  • going on a trip with friends
  • seeing someone you love that you don't get to see often
2. "What moments in your life made you feel proud?" - Think of moments that you are proud of, even if you didn't feel that way in the moment. Find something that you can acknowledge in the present. Give yourself credit where credit is due!
  • getting a job
  • doing your best in a difficult time
  • taking a risk that paid off
  • trying your best even when life was chaotic
  • sticking with something
  • getting out of your comfort zone
3. "What moments in your life have you felt fulfilled or satisfied?" - This is different from contentment. You are looking for moments that left you with a sense of wholeness or completion. Avoid limiting yourself to achievements. Examples might be:
  • spending time with loved ones
  • moments of peace or rest
  • going somewhere with someone or on your own
  • being home or somewhere that you're connected to
  • doing an activity you love
  • working on a mission
  • progressing towards a goal
  • engaging in a hobby
4. "What moments in your life were filled with positive progress or change?" - Life is full of changes. We grow and change for the better, even in difficult situations. Find moments such as:
  • moving out from somewhere
  • creating boundaries for yourself
  • letting go of something or someone toxic
  • trying something new that helped you learn something
  • doing habits that are beneficial for your wellbeing
  • a realization that changed your life

    Introspection (p. 8-9)

    These two questions help you observe your aspirations to help you identify your values on page 9. 
    1. "Close your eyes. What does your ideal life look like to you?" 
    • Don't limit yourself with this question, and pay attention to the things that come up in your mind first. Any answers will still give you insight into your values later on.
    • The little things matter: try to focus on the sounds, smells, and tastes that bring you happiness as well. This will give you further insight into which moments you appreciate. 
    2. "What character traits does your ideal self have?" - It's easiest to imagine a conversation that you would want to hear about yourself. Some examples of conversations might be: 
    • "[she/he] is always there for me, I can count on them for anything" (you value friendship, trustworthiness)
    • "[She/he] creates amazing art." (you value creativity)
    • "[she/he] is kind to the planet and tries to make a difference." (you value justice and goodness) 
    3. Before highlighting your values, review the previous exercises. Then, take your time going through the list and highlight values that resonate with you. If you want to explore more, you can access them here.

    Core values (p. 10) 

    1. "Write 10 to 15 of your most important core values." - It's best to do this in pencil because their ranking might change. It might be difficult to decide which value is more important to you than the other. This can change with time as well, so think of this page as something you come back to review! 
    2. "Create a sentence that embodies your most important values." - This can be a difficult one, so again, it's good to do this in pencil. This does not need to be lengthy. It should summarize your most important values. Think of it as your personal mantra!
    Some examples might be:
    "I will advocate for justice and goodness through my volunteer work and career path. However, fitness, wellbeing, and friendship are the cornerstones of my personal values. I will honour my body and health on a daily basis and nourish my relationships with kindness, compassion, and openness." 
    "I will pursue freedom and independence creatively and mindfully through creating my own business. However, I will not do this at the expense of my health, wellness, and need for solitude. I will also prioritize my family and friends, create memories with loved ones, and explore nature and the world with them." 
    "I will express love and integrity in everything I do: in the classroom, towards my family, and towards my friends. I will not compromise on my wellness and mental health, and regularly pursue therapy and journaling. Solitude is important for my wellness, and I will ensure that I have adequate space each day."

    Mindset reframing (p. 11) 

    The critical adult-mind can keep us from connecting with our values. We tell ourselves that we must do better, and compare ourselves with what others have. Social media has worsened this problem. Our comparisons and self-criticisms often have no grounding in reality and have a negative impact on our mental health.
    Try writing down each negative or critical thought that you have experienced.
    • What do you criticize yourself for?
    • How can you reframe it so that it's neutral, positive, or leaves room for growth?
    My writing is terrible.  I can improve my writing. 
    I'm not smart enough to do this. I can learn anything and this challenge will teach me a lot.
    No one will like this. If I like this, others might too. If not, I can fix it.
    I'm so unfit and unhealthy. Life has been difficult this year. But I can start making healthier choices right now. 

    The reality is that our negative self-talk is usually far from the truth, and it hinders us more than helps us. We'd never talk to a dear friend or loved one the way we talk to ourselves. Be your own best advocate and assume the role of a guiding parent. 

    Goal Creation (p. 12-15)

    These goal creation pages help create goals in context with your values. For a goal to be fulfilling to us, we need to create them in accordance to our values. Here is an example of values that might work with this person's goals:
    (please note, they could be completely different for you)
    • Goal: Painting landscapes for a living
    • Values: Creativity, independence, financial stability, challenge, self-improvement
    2. "Why do you want this goal?" - Think of your deeper motivations behind wanting a certain result. Continuing with our example:
     
    • I want to paint landscapes to sell for a living because:
    • Painting has a deep childhood connection for me
    • Selling work brings me fulfillment. I'm always excited when a piece sells.
    • Oil painting is meditative and peaceful
    • Painting landscapes allows me to be in nature, where I feel at peace
     
    These "whys" will connect with your values, and you'll have a better understanding of why you want this goal.
     
    3. "Break your goal into four milestones." - Milestones are important because they prove the small, viable steps you can take. Create four milestones that are attainable and specific, and set check-in reminders in your calendarContinuing our example:
    • Milestone 1: Create a concept for an outdoor landscape collection
    • Steps: Draft places I can paint, determine palette colours, and write-up a general motivation behind the collection
    • Milestone 2: Paint first piece in the collection
    • Steps: Determine location, save up for extra paints, make sure you have all necessary supplies for outdoor painting
    • Milestone 3: Paint one piece per month
    • Steps: Determine location, save up for extra paints, make sure you have all the necessary supplies for outdoor painting
    • Milestone 4: Start selling
    • Steps: Research local galleries, look into e-commerce platforms, research marketing practices
    Habits are necessary to achieve goals. Find habits that will support your milestones. Each month, you can use the habit challenge area to strengthen them. Finally, your timeline and review dates are important, even for the smallest of goals. Set viable deadlines for your milestones and check-in points. Make sure you log times to review your milestones and goals in your phone calendar.

    Attainable Habits (p. 16)

    This will be where you can simplify the habits you made from previous goals. If a habit you need is to exercise daily, make it attainable by setting the bar to at least 5 or 10 minutes a day.
    This page reminds you that habits don't need to take long. Your 5 and 10-minute habits should be much larger than the 20 and 30+ minute habits. Give yourself habits that you can fall back on increases your success with habits.

    My Ideal Day (p. 17)

    This page gives you room to pencil in possible routines and habits that connect with your values. If health is important, find little ways to incorporate it into your day.
     
    You can also see how your work-life balance is doing on this page, and set times when work should end.

    Important (p. 19)

    Keep track of addresses, passwords, and other important information. These sections can alter with some labels or stickers as you desire.

    2021 - 2022 planning (p. 20-23)

    These pages are your yearly overviews for 2021 and 2022. Use these pages to write events, keep track of birthdays, and set review dates for milestones.

    Monthly overviews 

    Your monthly overviews are designed to review your goals, values, and habits. It also has a section that helps you come up with self-care routines. The right-hand page is yours to use for planning and note-taking. 

    Calendars

    Your calendar is spacious and mostly meant for your own use. There are small challenges at the bottom of each page, and a checklist on the left-hand side that can be utilized or ignored (hence the faded boxes). 

    The mini-calendar shows you the month ahead. 

    Weekly Spreads

    Weekly spreads leave room to determine your goals and values for that week. Remember, less is more! Focusing on one specific goal is always easier to handle.
    Each day has space dedicated to the one thing you need to get done that day.
    Your priority list is where you keep track of things that must get done. Lengthen or append if necessary.
    At the end of each day, there is a small self-care icon. This keeps you in check with your values that you want to focus on that week.
    For example: if your focus is on health, each day could connect with that value. You might write things like: "ate healthy", "exercised for 15 minutes", "slept early", etc.
    At the end of the day, it serves as a reminder that there are more important things than work and goals. Some examples might be:
    • meditation or a healthy habit
    • calling a loved one
    • fulfilling a certain value (i.e creativity)
    • putting work away earlier than usual
    • spending time with friends
    • eating healthy

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