The Best Planner for Women in Midlife

Ready to make some changes or start fresh? A brand new shiny planner can help, right? It always sounds like a good idea to get a new planner and make some real plans to meet your goals, get organized, and stay on task. And, with so much going on in our lives, it’s hard to keep track of everything. So, yes, we definitely need a planner in midlife! But WHAT IS the best planner for women in midlife?

Plus, considering the fact that there are a lot of days when we walk into a room only to forget what we walked in there for… and that we kinda need to write everything down, a Monthly/Daily Planner in midlife is pretty much a necessity.  

(Before you start thinking you might have early onset Alzheimer’s, most of our memory problems are normal. More information on normal forgetfulness vs. when to see your doctor can be found here.)

So, if you are thinking you want to start focusing more on your health, your spirituality, your personal development, your relationships, or even learning something new, let’s look at what is the best planner for midlife women. 


I started using a planner for my personal/home life a few years ago. Before that I had lists and notes and various notebooks all over the place. (Well, I still have quite a few post it note reminders, to be honest.)

I always thought it would be great to have everything in one place – a place where I could keep and track all of my practices, goals, thoughts, and ideas.

I tried so many things. I bought different planners and even requested a special (and quite expensive) one as a gift one year. I did get that planner as a gift and started using it…yes…I STARTED.

These worksheets are taken from the “be · do · have” Midlife Planner.

Make the most of YOUR midlife – download these FREE sheets now to get the insights you need to set yourself up for SUCCESS with your next project, goal, or plan.


Does this sound familiar? It’s December and you’re geared up for a New Year-New You! You think – this time, this year, I will be organized, handle all of the things, stick with my resolutions, and reach my goals!

But, February rolls around. You’re trying. You want to recommit to the process of planning your weeks. Then it’s March and you realize you’re back to lists and notes everywhere and nowhere near reaching the goals you had initially set for the first few months of the year.

FINALLY, I realized that it wasn’t the planner or the system I was using. It was me…ugh. I mean, I’m sure deep down I knew this. And, of course, this realization also came with self criticism. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t stick to a plan that I took time to create?

Why couldn’t I just look at the plan and do the things that I planned?

Why couldn’t I ever just focus?

Obviously self deprecation is not gonna get us anywhere. So, let’s look at things that stand in our way and keep us from reaching our goals. And, some ways to turn these things around so we DO reach our goals! 


1. Our Brains

First, our brains will guide us towards doing as little as possible, in order to conserve energy. It’s just the way they are made. They are there to keep us safe and alive – first and foremost. So, we have to purposefully (intentionally) choose to do something other than watch Netflix or scroll through Facebook or Pinterest. 

When we are working towards a goal, oftentimes, there can be a bit (or a lot) of fear involved. If it’s something we’ve never done before and it’s out of our comfort zone, we will certainly have some apprehension. Our brains will steer us away from that fear. Maybe your goal is to attend a yoga class twice per week. There could be a fear of being in a room of strangers, or a fear of being the only one who can’t reach the floor in downward dog pose. And, it will take physical effort, which, again is something your brain will try to avoid.

And, speaking of memory, there is a type of memory called “working memory,” which is the memory that is responsible for remembering things in the very short term. For example, if you need to remember a short list when running into the grocery store. It’s something you don’t need to remember for any long period of time, just for that brief time from the car to the checkout line. 

Dr. Amishi Jha talked about this on a podcast I recently. She explained that when we are struggling with or handling a lot (which, for many of us, can be happening on a regular basis), our “working memory” gets cluttered and our goals get lost in all of the clutter. So, it’s almost guaranteed that we won’t remember to take steps towards our goals, because of so many other things that are on our minds – being handled by the part of the brain that is responsible for our working memory. 

It can also happen when we are ruminating on something that happened or replaying something that happened to us yesterday (or last week). And, for those of us who struggle with anxiety, it makes it even more difficult to focus on or remember to put our goals first.

Mindfulness/meditation can really help with this. When we meditate regularly, we can train our brains to be able to focus and to bring our attention back when it strays away from where we want it to be. And an added benefit is the insight we get when we meditate. We can become more clear about our goals and what we want our lives to look like.

2. Our “Why”

When we want to make a change, I’ve learned how important it is to know our REAL “why.” You’ve probably heard that if you’re trying to change a habit or start a new habit, you want to be sure that you’re doing it because YOU want to do it, and not because of someone else’s expectations of you. Or even because of society’s expectations.

When I decided to quit smoking for good, my why had truly become my health. I was DONE feeling like crap, getting tired walking up a flight of stairs, and coughing all the time. Of course, I always knew that I “needed to” quit for my health, but when I really felt the effects of smoking on my health, that was when it became my WHY. It had become a strong enough WHY for me to finally do it – for good. 

There are so many things thrown at us now on the internet. Try this diet or this routine or even this planner and you’ll be transformed. Life will be amazing and all will be good! They all look so appealing that it’s so easy to click on anything and think that it will be THE THING that gets you what you “think” you want. 

But, is that what YOU really want? And why?

Knowing your WHY is a big key to reaching goals. A few years ago, I learned a trick from Dr. Benjamin Hardy, that helps you figure out your why. 

For each goal or change or whatever you call it, ask yourself WHY you want to achieve or accomplish that particular thing. Then ask yourself WHY again. And, just keep asking yourself WHY after each answer until you get down to something that you know is the MAIN reason why. It really gives you a good overall picture of your WHY. 

For example:

My goal a couple years ago was to lose 50 pounds.

WHY do I want to lose 50 pounds? To feel better and look better.
WHY do I want to feel and look better? To have more confidence.
WHY do I want to have more confidence? To be able to step out of my comfort zone.
WHY do I want to step out of my comfort zone? To do things that I haven’t done yet.
WHY do I want to do new things? To get the most out of my life.
WHY do I want to get the most out of my life? To experience things and even make more money.
WHY do I want to experience things and make more money? To be a role model for my kids.
WHY do I want to be a role model for my kids? To show them that they can do whatever they want in life.
WHY do I want to show them that they can do whatever they want in life? So that they can have the best life and be happy.

That really is a core goal of my life – and losing 50 pounds may not seem to connect to that deep core goal, but it does.

Knowing your deep core goal and all of the WHYs in between really helps with staying on track. Revisiting these WHYs is also a key to success. (Because it could get lost while you’re thinking about all of life’s other stuff/crap/issues.)

3. Our Confidence

If we aren’t sticking to our plans to meet our goals, a lot of the time it has to do with the confidence we actually have in ourselves to really reach the goal. If, deep down, we don’t really believe that it will happen – then yeah – it probably won’t.

These thoughts may be sneaking into our minds that tell us we aren’t good enough, don’t have the courage, can’t possibly learn new things now, don’t have what it takes, etc. 

Imagine how you would encourage someone else – a friend, partner, or your child – if they wanted to achieve something. We wouldn’t be telling them that they don’t have what it takes. We would be saying things like, “you can do it,” “you got this,” “you are just as smart as anyone else,” and “I believe in you.”

That’s how we need to talk to ourselves to get our confidence up! And, the more we DO (the more action we take), the more our confidence will increase/improve. 

We need to remind ourselves OFTEN that we are freakin awesome and hey – if someone else has done it, there is NO reason that we can’t do it too! Others don’t have some magical or super power. But, if they do, so do we!!

Another component to confidence is self compassion. Self compassion is having an awareness of yourself as a human being, understanding that you will make mistakes, forgiving yourself, and being your own source of support. Try these exercises from Dr. Kristen Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, to get a deeper understanding of how to be self compassionate.


So, yes a planner is a GREAT idea! But what is the best planner for you in midlife?

You probably already know – it’s the one that you use…consistently.

Remember these three things:

Your own brain sometimes can stand in your way; practicing mindfulness and meditating regularly will help.

Getting down to the real deep core WHY behind your goal is important. And, reminding yourself of your WHY on a regular basis will keep it at the forefront of your mind, making you more likely to take those steps.

Encourage yourself on a daily basis. Try using affirmations – either verbal or written – like “I am totally capable of reaching my goal,” or “I have all that I need inside of me to accomplish this project,” or “I will help so many people by achieving this.” Remember to practice self compassion too. 

So, yes a planner is a GREAT idea! But what is the best planner for you in midlife?

You probably already know – it’s the one that you use…consistently.

Other things that have helped me on my journey:

  • Journaling
  • Habit tracking (Here’s a free habit tracker spreadsheet you can use.)
  • Picturing myself (visualizing) following my plan and achieving my goals – with as much detail as possible.
  • Considering the qualities of a person who consistently follows their plans and achieves their goals and how I can inhabit some of those qualities.
  • Thinking about the outcome I want and changing my thoughts about the actions I would take to achieve those results.
  • Creating a vision board. (Check out this post for questions to ask yourself before starting your vision board.)

Leave a comment and let me know what might be standing in your way.

Oh, and join us in our private Facebook Group – Over 40~Making the Most of Midlife. We talk about things like this and touch on lots of other topics related to well-being in midlife. (It’s a totally kind and supportive group!)


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Susie

    Hi Lisa! I loved this post, especially the “Why” behind the goal, powerful! 🙂

    1. Lisa

      Thanks for reading, Susie! Appreciate you taking the time to comment. 😊

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