How to Draft an Ideal Day & Get New Habits Down {Free Daily Planner}

Good thing every dawn is Day One.

Because it’s the third week of January.

You know —  when the rubber meets the road, when the glossy on the resolutions begins to chip off like flaking nail polish, when things  get, oh — just plain ol’ hard.

The Farmer wraps his arm around me in the early morning dark. “Hear it?” He whispers the words close. The window panes, the roof, they’re thrumming quiet with everything coming down in a song.

“Mmmm…. ” I nuzzle into my pillow. “Rain.”

“Late January thaw.” We lay there listening. Mid-winter and there’s this melting away. He turns in the greying light, sits on the edge of the bed before the window and the sky all slipping down in rivulets. “Well — we’ll lose some this snow now.” I can see a patch of green across the fields.

“Yeah, there’ll be more winter coming,” he reaches for his jeans. “But this is so good — now we begin afresh.”

And I get out of bed on the third Monday of  a new year, when the freshness starts to fade, and there are dishes in the sink and a long to-do list in my hand-writing on the counter and the laundry floods out of mudroom baskets.

From the kitchen window, I can see a fog rising like a veil off the skirt of snow around the woods. The fresh year’s begins in a cloud of mystery and I whisper to myself what heaven always whispers to those on holy ground: “Do not be afraid.”  Deep breath. 

A day’s only made of fresh hope.

And gratitude is what makes the past a grace, here holy, and tomorrow a gift.

I think I see the way to begin again, to just keep beginning again.






Because the kids and I, we’d left a pile of dirty plates on the counter and had sat down for just 25 minutes to read this book , and there’s this character that just goes ahead and puts on her “habit.”

Shalom pats my shoulder and asks, “What’s a habit?”

There’s this amaryllis on the sill — it’s swelling defiant hope.

And I tell Shalom what a habit is, though I hadn’t thought of that way until that girl in the book “pulled on her habit” —

A habit is something that is worn.

Shalom had nodded, turns back to the page. She waits for me to read the next line.

I’m sort of struck — stuck — trying to get unstuck. Literally. Maybe it isn’t so much about getting new habit down — as it was about getting those habit on — wearing your habits?

A habit is what we wear. A habit is the way we wear our days.

Wear new habits and your life gets a makeover.

Consistently do things at the same time everyday and find yourself a new person.

I look down at my jeans and a threadbare knee. I have habits that desperately need changing.

I lay out new threads: clip this sheet of paper,  The Day’s Draft, to one clipboard.

Clip my 100 Day Calendar — to another clipboard.

Lay January’s Joy Dare out by the numbered journal.
















And I scratch down a plan for an ideal day each day, The Day’s Draft —  working on habits and consistency.

And I keep it close, the other clipboard with my 100 Day Calendar,  one hundred days to write down and check off three new habits, day after day, writing down each of the habits and checking them off, this consistently being consistent, the deliberate work of making a new habit.

Using that 100 Day Calendar sort of like this? 

Creativity — a project that’d be bliss to finish in 100 Days? Each day for 100 days, write it down… and after working on it — after even spending 2 minutes (you may find yourself spending longer, but just tell yourself you only have to do it for one minute!)– then check it off for that day….

New Habits — A morning routine? Times of prayer? Scripture Memorization? Playing games with the kids? Reading aloud each evening? Just pick one or two habits, and jot them down each of the days, for 100 days on the 100 Day Calendar. Free bonus: You get to smile over the accumulating check marks — no charge.

Health — as a way to encourage 100 days of healthy patterns … exercise/sleep/eating patterns? Choose one health habit and write it down each day — writing it down beside the day’s number is my commitment to follow through for that day — and to make that check mark happen! Who wants to break the string of 100 Days?

There’s only three spaces for scratching down 3 practices for each of the 100 Days. So as not to overwhelm with many new practices — and just get a few under our belt at a time?

[Post Script, Crazy Free Bonus #2: When the children saw the 100 Days Calendar on the clipboard with my three daily practices written in and waiting for a string of little check marks? They all wanted their own 100 Days Calendar too! They each chose which 3 habits, or practices, they wanted to undertake for the first 100 Days — and have been enthusiastically checking off each day! Intrinsic motivation!]

So keeping a clipboard near and just trying it — try on new habits. Forward!  

And too, to just keep jotting down thanks, because I’m a mess knowing only one thing: The Next Thing is always to Give Thanks.

It’s an astonishing thing to know God’s clear will for you in the next year: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this. is. God’s. will. for. you…” (Thess. 5:18)

And the thing is, if I can just keep setting the timer and doing pomodoros for each of the tasks on The Day’s Draft — even this hick might wear new threads.

Because there’s realizing this too:

If it matters, you make the time.

If it doesn’t, you make excuses.

Standing in an imperfect place is always the perfect place to begin.

Then, come the end of the day, to be done with the day because you’ve done what you could do. The accomplishment of a day isn’t so much about accomplishing goals but abiding in God.

Yeah, the day may have stumbled and fallen — but in Christ we are the saved.

Tomorrow, it will descend like a fresh dew, a fresh snow, slow rain, and it will come again —  Fresh grace all over again.

The amaryllis on the sill, it resolves to unfold beauty.

And it does, it blooms wide open. It does it right there on the sill — wears this habit of hope, keeps leaning forward toward the sun.

Right here in winter, the rain still falling on snow in the orchard.



1. The Grace Plan: A Doable, Practical Plan for Life-Transforming Change
2. The Most Important Skill that Your New Year Needs
3. How to Know God’s Will for Your Life: The Art of Fully Living
4. Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us: #TheJesusProject
5. 100 days to Pull New Habits On (free download of the 100 Days Calendar)

Picnik collage

6. Drafting the Idea Day? Free Download of the Day’s Draft


7. And the Third place I lay my pen everyday: The 60 Day 1000 Gifts Devotional: 60 Devos and 1000 numbered fresh lines

8. Next week: This is the Habit Paper System — next week, if you prefer apps, or a combination thereof paper and pen and apps, this hick will be sharing her favorite apps that are making it the year to fly!


Wear new habits and your life gets a makeover.

Consistently do things at the same time everyday and find yourself a new person.

If it matters, you make the time.

If it doesn’t, you make excuses.

And the accomplishment of a day isn’t so much about accomplishing goals but abiding in God.

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Today, if you’d like to share your own celebrating, your own marking towards 1000 Gifts of thanks — (please, jump in!) — just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post