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A Beginner's Guide to The Positive Planner

BY Ali + Finn
Co-founders of The Positive Planner Ali + Finn smiling at the camera

Not sure how to get started with our original? Our Beginner's Guide to The Positive Planner has all you need to know so you can get the most out of it for you and your mental wellbeing.


What does self-care look like to you? Maybe it’s a day off work, a mini-break in the country, or a long hot bath once the kids are in bed. Maybe it's a quiet morning cuppa or a visit to the hairdressers. However you choose to take care of your mental health, we know that the hardest part is making small positive habits part of your daily routine. That’s where The Positive Planner comes in. Journaling is a powerful wellbeing tool in itself, but with The Positive Planner, you do so much more than just write about your feelings. You’ll learn to take control of your schedule, build healthy habits, retrain your inner critic and foster positive emotions through gratitude and reflection. Oh, and you’ll get creative too! Don’t worry if you’ve never used our planners before, because this is a Beginner’s Guide to The Positive Planner. 


A Black man in a dark blue t-shirt holding an open copy of The Positive Planner


What is The Positive Planner?

Have you ever picked up a blank notebook with the intention of getting organised, only to feel overwhelmed by all the blank pages? You’re not alone! The Positive Planner acts as a framework to help you hit the ground running from the very first page. It’s our original planner, the first one we ever created and it’s still the one we recommend for those who are at the beginning of their self-care journey. It guides you with daily prompts and exercises that take just a few minutes to do. Whether you’re a complete beginner at journaling or you’re struggling to make it a consistent habit, The Positive Planner is the perfect companion. 


What’s included?

The Positive Planner is divided up into weekly sections with morning and evening prompts to inspire you to prioritise your wellbeing throughout the day. In the morning, set your daily intentions, map out your to-do list, and schedule some self-care. Most of us are pretty good at writing down the things that need to be done (research shows it’s an effective way to ease anxiety), but how often do you tally up the tasks you’ve completed? That’s why we’ve included a page of evening prompts, allowing you to reflect on the highs and lows of your day, track your mood, note down what you’re grateful for, and record your achievements.


An open page of The Positive Planner showing the morning pages and evening reflections. This beginner's guide to the positive planner guides you on how to use them
The Daily Intentions and Evening Reflections pages of The Positive Planner



Who is it for?

If you’re feeling mentally drained, overwhelmed and in need of a regular self-care plan then The Positive Planner will give you the structure you need. We find that parents engage with our original planner because it reminds them to carve out a few minutes a day to think about themselves instead of serving the rest of the family. It’s also an accessible starting point for anyone who is still learning the basics of self-care, perhaps navigating anxiety symptoms for the first time and trying to create a lifestyle that supports their mental health.

Because the morning pages prompt you to schedule in a self-care activity, it’s much more likely that you’ll take action to make it happen. If you’re someone who lives a fast-paced work life and your aim is to slow down, you’ll benefit from stepping away from screens and connecting with pen and paper journaling. Building emotional awareness through planning will boost your confidence and can help with those dreaded feelings of comparison that come from too much time spent on social media. 


A Black woman wearing nude-coloured pyjamas lying on a large double bed holding a bright yellow Positive Planner Journal


Getting started

The Positive Planner comes with instructions and tips to help you get the most out of your new journal, because we know how hard it can be to try something new when you’re not feeling at your best. The first few pages include some fun exercises to ease you into the process, then we move onto morning and evening reflections that you should try and complete daily. 



Creating a routine

It might sound like a lot of work, but each page takes just a few minutes to fill out and after a few weeks it will feel like second nature. Try keeping your Positive Planner on your bedside table as a visual cue to fill in the pages. You could even set an alarm on your phone to alert you when it’s time to plan. Throughout the book, you’ll find a variety of prompts and exercises that you can dip in and out of at your own pace. Our planners are undated, which means that it doesn’t matter if you miss a day or even a week or two. Yeah, consistency is great - but learning to forgive yourself is better. Just grab a pen whenever the moment takes you and enjoy the process. 



Daily mantra 

Learning to be kind to yourself is an important element of wellbeing, but it can feel like a vague concept if you’ve spent your whole life listening to (and believing) what your inner critic has to say. Writing is a brilliant tool for tackling that negative self-talk, which is why we have made daily mantras part of the morning journaling pages in The Positive Planner. We suggest doing some free writing to uncover your inner voice, then pick a mantra that actively contradicts the unhelpful thoughts you have about yourself. For example, if you constantly call yourself unorganised, your daily mantra might be ‘everything will get done in time,’ or ‘planning is helping me take back control’. Check out our Positive Affirmation Cards for further inspiration or to add visual reminders at your desk or around your home.


Gratitude moments

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general wellbeing, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression. But when you’ve just fallen out with your best friend or spent the entire day doing laundry, it can be easy to ruminate on what you don’t have (a time machine? A live-in maid?) instead of appreciating what you do have. The Positive Planner invites you to document what you’re grateful for every single day. It can be something significant - like a pay rise or being reunited with a loved one - but it can also be something small, like smelling fresh flowers or having time to paint your nails. When you actively seek out these moments regularly, you’ll find that there are so many things to be grateful for. 



While The Positive Planner is our most structured book, we’ve also included plenty of blank pages to allow you to practise journal writing too. In the first few pages, we invite you to write about how you envision your future. This is a permission slip to dream, a chance to let your intuition guide you before you start planning. Why not use these pages as inspiration for your daily intentions? After all, small daily habits add up to the bigger picture. There are so many different ways to approach journaling and it's worth experimenting to see which one works for you. Once you get the bug for writing, you might want to progress to our Positive Free Writing Journal which is designed for those with lots to write about.


The Positive Affirmation Cards can be used together with The Positive Free Writing Journal
Our Positive Affirmation Cards and Positive Free Writing Journal can help you develop your journaling habit


Practical planning

The Positive Planner will boost your mental health by encouraging self-compassion and personal reflection, but we believe that you thrive when the practical elements of life are included in the process too. The act of writing a weekly shopping list and meal plan (templates included!) will help you feel more organised, minimise anxiety, and remind you to nourish your mind with food that you love. We’ve even included a daily hydration tracker to ensure you drink enough water. If you’re a visual planner and you enjoy creating grids, tables, and checklists to track your progress then why not give The Positive Bullet Diary a try? It’s ideal for those with a creative streak and is fully customisable depending on what you want to focus on. 


The Shopping List and Meal Planning pages of The Positive Planner


Mindful moments

In between your morning and evening reflections, The Positive Planner offers an opportunity to check in with your mood through an assortment of activities. We’ve included some gorgeous original illustrations and motivational quotes that you can use for some mindful colouring. Alternatively, take our Tombow Brush Pens to any section of the book and unleash your creative side! Doodle in the margins, highlight your proudest moments, decorate with washi tape… the possibilities are endless.


Still not sure if The Positive Planner is right for you? There's a free Positive Planner Mini Edition in our Resource Library you can try out. Download it here




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