Traditionally, I’ve had what a therapist might call a “toxic relationship pattern” with notebooks and planners.
Everything is great in the attraction phase: I spy a cute weekly calendar on the shelf of a local bookstore and the butterflies appear — there’s so much room for notes and lists! I make my signature move and we go home together.
The flirting phase is fun, too: We cuddle up every morning and night, and I tell it all about my day, my plans for the future, what I’m feeling in that moment.
But then, something happens, and I get distracted by other things — TV, plans with friends, scrolling through Instagram for hours on end — and I stop taking my once-beloved planner out. I forget it even exists. I can’t commit. Over the years, I’ve probably owned over a hundred notebooks, calendars, journals, and planners that ended up empty and alone, save for a few scribbled-on pages.
Essentially, I ghost. I’m a planner ghoster.
In January 2017 I attended a Desire Map/Breathwork retreat with my Breathwork teacher, Michelle D’Avella. Michelle guided my fellow retreaters and I through Danielle LaPorte’ Desire Map program — which is beautiful and complex but essentially boils down to deciding how you want to feel rather than deciding what tasks you want to accomplish. According to Danielle’s philosophy, when we set goals, we’re often left unhappy and disappointed upon reaching them, because what we were really chasing was a feeling. Like maybe you think you want to become a famous actor, but deep-down it’s because you want to feel loved and adored.
The Desire Mapping process is finished when you’ve come up with four to five Core Desired Feelings to guide your year, and mine were glowing, calm, light, sacred, and secure.
The beautiful thing about retreats like the one Michelle hosted is the buzzing, supportive energy. You’re figuring things out about yourself alongside people who are excited to do the same, and for a weekend you live in a little bubble of love and friendship and focus. This will be our year!
The sad thing about retreats is one and the same: retreats are essentially little bubbles of time, and all bubbles eventually burst. Back in the real world, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that once made you feel so excited.
Obviously, Danielle LaPorte knew all about the bubble conundrum when she created the Desire Map Daily Planner.
The first pages of the planner give you space to write out your CDFs (again, for me, glowing, calm, light, sacred, and secure) and create yearly goals that relate to your CDFs, before jumping into monthly and daily overviews. At the top of each month, you rewrite these feelings and goals to reinforce them in your mind and keep your focus sharp.
The daily pages are made up of eight sections (which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t): Your Core Desired Feelings, a writing prompt for journaling, a to-do list, a gratitude list, a schedule, and sections titled “Stop Doing” and “Want to Change.” It’s basically a spiritually-charged gratitude journal, calendar, planner, goal-keeper, and mantra-maker all in one, designed to help you generate those Core Desired Feelings every single day. Essentially, it keeps the excitement bubble in tact from January 1 - December 31.