Processes exist in almost everything. We use them to stay on track and to keep organized. We need them to help us learn. In the planning profession planners use them to follow a sequence of factors or events that help move an idea to a reality. Such as the onset of a social housing concept that needs to follow a process to engage public participation, conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study, and then recognize legislative requirements, and the seven community capitals (natural, human, social, cultural, built, financial, and political), amongst other elements to support the vision and source out the tools required to propel a particular plan towards implementation.

It is also very important to recognize that processes also help us on so many personal levels. For example, we use them to help sort out conflict, encounter transitions in life, in health and wellness such as exercise goals, and dealing with the lose of a loved one. Processes are not always clear, but they exist. And when used with awareness we can ream benefits and insight that goes further than we always think and know.

Connection and Socially Sustainable Planning

Decades of work done in the field of social sciences has shown that the need for connection in our lives, whether that be vis-à-vis personal relationships, work or school colleagues, or community engagement projects is imperative. Today, the role planners play in communities is to act as the agent for change in this realm of work in public policies as the development of healthy socially sustainable public policies are the cornerstone of health promotion and what is needed for communities and cities to be resilient. The historical evolution of socially sustainable and healthy planning policies in Canada has shown relevancies and relationship to public health, healthy cities and communities, community capitals, and the Gross Happiness Index in both rural and urban settings. Moving into the future, each of these factors will remain important for communities to not only be social sustainable but resilient.

Current and future planners need to consider the interconnectedness between social, economic, and environmental determinants rather than isolating any of these factors on their own. Additionally, even with Canada possessing a democratic-minded mentally, even more so now with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as our current prime minister, and having made some progress in social planning, the nation could ream greater benefit from being a little less linear in decision-making, and take more time to investigate and learn from other communities and countries around the globe.

Why Plan?

To move things and people through a process? To get things done?

I once was a very free-spirited “go with the flow” type of person. This proved me success in only so many ways. Or perhaps at a point in my life it worked. Eventually I got to a point where I needed to change my personal processes and how I approach areas of my life. I also became really fascinated with other’s achievements with discipline and having a routine – a daily/weekly/monthly/annual plan. I took notice how waking up at a consistent hour, followed by a morning ritual and then some organization to the flow of your day can really help build and sustain momentum in being productive. Even structuring some time for “free time” can be beneficial.  I decided, even despite feeling great amounts of resistance, to work towards having a plan for my day. I noticed the subtleties in how this helped to advance my mood and my interactions with others as I began to feel less anxious and like a chicken running around with its head cut off, and more grounded (yes I am a yoga teacher) and confident. Walking around with confidence makes a huge difference.

So today, five plus years since I’ve consciously attempted to plan out my life a little, I have taken the next courageous step to planning, and am taking on a Master of Community Planning program so that I can help others (people, businesses, communities, who knows?) with their plans or planning plans for the sake of needing a plan? I guess you can say planning in my life has had a worthy success rate and I want to test market what I have come to appreciate and know on the world.

Resolve to Evolve

Every January many of us either create new goals for the year or feel obligated to do just that. I know I do. Even though January 1 is simply the day that comes after December 31, it has a way of really resetting things for people. This year I felt a bit of a shift and was reinvigorated to be more creative. I started 2016 by resolving some resistance with teaching and offered my time to assist a beautiful group yoga practice with two other incredible women. I also designed a personal daily intention for myself which aligns with my personal love for health and is not just for 2016. I have shared it below.

My daily intention: 

  • Smile when your dog wakes you.
  • Take your dog for a walk and feel your body wake up and appreciate it.
  • Drink your breakfast as it’s kinder on your belly (for me it’s a “green” smoothie).
  • Wear clothes that make you feel good.
  • Wear perfume that makes you feel beautiful.
  • Take your vitamins based on need.
  • Drink good quality tea (or coffee if it’s your thing).
  • Move throughout the day (note: this can be dancing around and listen to music that moves you).
  • Become inseparable with your reusable/refillable water bottle – drink lots of clean refreshing water.
  • Add some mint flavored chlorophyll to water for a little extra pizazz (note: be prepared for some funny stares and/or comments about your drink).
  • Be present in all moments.
  • Practice yoga/meditation daily (note: yoga and meditation don’t just occur on a mat).
  • Read and learn about things you find important, not junk.
  • Eat a nutritious and delicious lunch.
  • Smile and engage in healthy stimulating conversations.
  • Eat a yummy healthy dinner.
  • Drink some relaxing herbal tea.
  • Have a beautiful hot bath with beautiful smelling bath bombs or epsom salts.
  • Take care of your skin and use a nice scrub on your entire body.
  • Apply natural cream to your entire body, paying close attention to the care of your face.
  • Read a good book that matches your mood.
  • Have a great sleep so you can wake the next morning feeling inspired, invigorated, and happy.