Words By Tara Wagner

Comparing Goal Setting Planners/Journals for 2019

Tara in mustard long-sleeve shirt in office holding up 2 planners

I have just spent the last month testing out two of the latest goal setting planners: The High Performance Planner from Brendon Burchard and the Start Today Journal from Rachel Hollis. And I am gonna walk through my experience with them, what I loved, what I think fell short, and hopefully help you decide which, if either, is a good fit for you.

Watch here or read below.

High Performance Planner vs Start Today Journal for 2019 Goal Setting Share on X

What’s happening, boss lady?

I’m Tara Wagner, your belief breakthrough coach helping female entrepreneurs to crush their goals, not their soul, and I’m talking about two really popular, newer goal setting planners or goal setting journals. (Actually, one’s kind of a planner and one’s more of a journal.)

If you’re anything like me, you are seeing these planners non-stop all over Instagram and every single YouTube ad. (God love Brendon Burchard. His ad spend for this thing must be insane. Either that or it’s just me, but I don’t know how to mark and let him know I’ve already bought one. I am seeing the ads everywhere.)

But, I’ve actually been trying these out for a couple months…or a couple weeks … Little over a month? And I’ve got some thoughts on them.

So, I’m gonna start off talking about a little bit of the basics of each one to introduce you to them if you’re newer to them. Then I’m gonna talk to you about my experience with them what I liked, what I didn’t like, and try to help you figure out what you might like and what might serve you best where you are right now.


This one is the simpliest out of the two. In fact, it is probably the simplest journal you will ever spend almost $30 on.

The designs are really cool because it changes up every quarter. It’s designed to last three months and then you can go and order a different one. And you’re gonna have a collection of these different designs they’re coming out with, which is cool but I kinda feel like you’re paying a little bit for the design and maybe a little bit for the name behind the design.

There’s not a lot to this journal. It starts off with an intro on how this journal came to be, how to use it, and then you’re going through a very simple daily practice with it.

It’s based off of a 10-10-1. So, she talks about 10 years, 10 dreams, 1 goal:

  • You do some exercises in the beginning to help you outline where you want to be in 10 years.
  • You do a little bit more exercises to find out 10 goals within that big vision.
  • And then each day, you’re doing some exercises around gratitude, around those 10 goals, and then focus on just one goal at a time.

This is much more of a goal setting journal than it is a goal setting planner. There’s not a lot of planning to do here. It’s really more about journal exercises. And I’ll share some more thoughts on that and what I liked, what I didn’t like, in just in a minute.

Let’s jump over to the High Performance Planner and I’ll introduce you to that one.


It’s almost half the cost of the Start Today Journal and there’s more meat to it. It’s also really high quality. I love the little… like strappy thingy? (I don’t know what it’s called.) And I love the little cloth bookmark. It’s little touches like that make a big difference.

There’s a whole life assessment in the beginning to give you your baseline. Then it’s weekly and monthly assessments to realign you or to track your progress as well as morning and evening exercises to help you to stay aligned with your bigger vision, your bigger goals, who you want to be.

The whole planner was based around his book High Performance Habits* and if you haven’t read that, some of this is not going to make sense to you or it’s not going to click in quite the same way.

So, I loved the book. I highly recommend reading the book first if you’re considering this planner. The planner is really geared to help you implement what’s taught in the book in a consistent and a simplified way.

Those are the basics on these two goal setting planners/journals.


Now I’m gonna go through my experience of using them over the past month, what I liked and what I didn’t like.

Like I said, the beginning of the Start Today Journal are some journaling prompts and the first one is journaling on “In 10 years”, and you’re kinda journaling on your vision 10 years from now.

I really loved this. I thought it was really cool to spend some time casting that vision.

But to be honest, I would have struggled with this a few years ago, not really knowing what I wanted or what it could look like.

And that can be really common.

It can be really common to try to figure out where do I want to be in five years. “I don’t even know where I want to be in one year. What does this look like?” A few years ago, I would have needed more prompts.

If you feel like you struggle with that same thing, figuring out what you really want, and you’re doing this journal, I would Google some additional prompts on big vision, goal setting, “where I want to be in 10 years” – that sort of thing to help to figure that out a little bit easier because there’s really just one prompt. “In 10 years, I will be…” … And that’s it.

The next journaling prompt on here is to narrow down the dreams that you made happen into 10 dreams because then you’re gonna take that into the journal for the rest of the day or for the rest of the journal.

  • You’re going to be writing first, “Today I’m grateful for” … And you write down five things you’re grateful for.
  • 10 dreams I made happen, and you’re writing those 10 things down every single day.
  • And then this is where the 10-10-1 comes into place. The goal I’m gonna achieve first, that’s the one. That’s the one that you’re focusing on first.

Basically, the whole thing is your writing down five gratitudes and you’re writing down 10 affirmations, essentially.

I think this journal is great for somebody who is very clear on what they need to do but they’re losing sight of why they’re doing it. Maybe you’re getting discouraged? This can be really helpful ’cause it’s gonna help you to stay focused on your “why” or that long-term goal, especially if what you’re working on doesn’t create immediate results and it is really a long-term goal.

But if you struggle with actually implementing, turning those visions into daily tasks or staying on track on a daily basis with what you’re supposed to do, I don’t think this is gonna be enough for you.

Tara writing in planner

For where I’m at in life and my business, it didn’t do a whole lot for me. It doesn’t really motivate me to focus on my dream life because that’s not my motivator.

My motivator is more my bigger why, my bigger purpose; the impact I want to make.

I'm not motivated by 'stuff'. My motivator is the impact I want to make. Share on X

So, I wrote down in my dream life, “I live in Rome with a rooftop patio”. That’s fun. It was fun to visualize that, but it doesn’t keep me motivated every day when I might be feeling discouraged or I might be frustrated or I’m like “oh my gosh is this really worth it?”.

For me, I need to be focusing on that bigger vision. “This is worth it because of the lives that I’m impacting”, or “this is worth it because of the change that I’m making”.

Focusing on my personal outcome isn’t gonna do it for me. And I can see myself using this more if I switch it up and I’m focusing less on my personal goals and dreams that I made happen and more on my why, my impact, my purpose; that sort of thing.

Also, what didn’t really click with me, and maybe I’m just missing the point … I don’t completely disagree with the idea what we need to focus on one thing at a time except for the fact that we need to focus on one thing at a time in different areas of our life.

One of my goals was “I am strong, energetic and healthy”. Well, that’s obviously the first thing that I need to focus on but that doesn’t mean I can’t also focus on something in my business and something in my relationships or my family. It just didn’t click for me or motivate me to just be writing down that first focus other than the fact that this is my first priority in the day. There’s still other things that I want to do.

Open Start Today planner

I think I would have gotten more benefit from this had I organized these in terms of priority. So, number one, what’s the first thing I’m focusing on? And then going down the list from there in terms of priority.

I’ve talked about this before and I’ll probably talk about it again in some upcoming blogs, but it’s really about the difference between affirmations versus outcomes.

The journal is really helping you to focus on outcomes, which is helpful if you struggle with goal setting and personal goals.

For instance, if you feel guilty setting personal goals, it can help you to align and get your mind comfortable with the idea of having these goals, having these dreams in your life. But if that’s not the challenge for you, I don’t think that that’s as effective as it is focusing on the things that are gonna empower, encourage, and inspire you to do what’s necessary every single day to reach those ultimate goals.

I prefer to focus on and visualize how I want to feel right now, who I want to be right now, what I need to be doing right now…knowing that the details and outcomes might change and that’s okay.

I’m not really tied to the idea of living in Rome with a rooftop patio. It sounds really good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not tied to it because I know that if I don’t do that, it means I’m doing something else. I’m not as interested in details and outcomes as I am in the impact and just trusting the process as I go.

That is the Start Today journal.

2 Goal setting planners
group of colorful high performance planners


Like I said, this is a meaty little beast. I really loved having the whole life assessment and the High Performance Habits assessment in the beginning to set my baseline and figure out where I am.

I think I filled this out on an okay day because I’m sort of all over the place. Some of them I got an 80% score. Some of them I got a 52% score.

I loved being able to go in and do the weekly and the monthly assessments and then, also, the Daily Habits Scorecard because I feel like this just gave me some really consistent touch points to keep me on track with my intentions, goals, how I wanted to show up, and what I wanted to be doing on a day-to-day basis.

Brendon’s stuff is really about habit formation; habits being the things that lead us to goals.

It’s less about big vision and inspiration as it is about the meaty, day-to-day pieces of “how do we get this done?” or “how do we stay on track?”.

Part of the reason I loved all the checkpoints in this planner is that it really helps you to see your patterns and commonalities, where bottlenecks keep happening or whichbottlenecks keep happening so you can actually start to catch those things before they come up because now you’re just aware of the pattern.

I love the fact that it was a daily, a weekly, and a monthly assessment giving you a chance to take that bird’s eye view and figuring out what’s working, what’s not working, what influenced me today, how did it influence me today? That helped me a lot to really stay on track with everything.

You start the day with your message to yourself, some morning mindset exercises, your top three goals and priorities, the tasks that absolutely must be done, and the people that you need to lead or connect well with today and how to do it.

There’s a task management in here but I don’t use a paper planner for task management. Because I have a team, we use Asana instead. So, this wasn’t as useful for me but I can see it being very useful for somebody who does like having that paper planner only because you’re keeping your tasks and mindset work in the same place.

I did find one challenge with this planner: it was remembering to take some of the things that I outlined in my Morning Mindset, like some of the activities that I wanted to do, I actually forgot to take them into the day and actually schedule to have them done.

Just a little tip: If you don’t use this as a planner and you’re using it more for the journaling aspect, check-ins, and the assessments just make sure that you’re taking those actions that you outlined into your actual task management system or into your schedule so that they’re getting done.

 HIGH PERFORMANCE PLANNER open to monthly review

Otherwise, it just ends up being a lot of nice words on the page and you get frustrated with yourself and feel like you’re wasting your time doing these journals.

I also found that it was really useful to use some of the margins to journal about what happened today or what might have influenced some of my daily habit scorecards; things like that. Without that I found that when I noticed these numbers were lower, I had to think back a little bit more to look for those habits.

It was great to be able to go back a couple weeks and look at my scorecard and say “hey, I noticed when I was doing more self care these numbers were up. When I was doing less self care, these numbers were down”.

I just started keeping notes that fit for me in terms of what I was doing that day, what was happening in my business, what was happening in life; that sort of thing. Doing this helped me view those patterns a little bit easier.

HIGH PERFORMANCE PLANNER open to weekly review

Like I said, it’s really meaty and it does takes some time to fill out.

I think that’s one of the drawbacks, it’s kind of time consuming and if you’re short on time, it can be one of the first things that you let go. There was a few weeks there where I was just barely getting it in or just flat out skipping it for a couple days because it wasn’t realistic.

If you’re struggling with time, I still think this is worth it because it can help you to start really aligning your actions in a way that helps to save you time, create time, or create energy. But you gotta give yourself some grace and know that you’re probably not gonna get use it every single day. It’s gonna take some time to really get there.

Another little tip I have is to consider doing it once a day instead of twice a day.

At night, fill out your Nighttime Mindset and then fill out the Morning Mindset that night. You’re kinda getting a jump on the day, but you’re gonna save a little bit more time ’cause you’re already in that mindset or in that flow. Maybe you just do the best you can with it and let good enough be good enough, right?


If you find that you are in a newer stage in your business, you may need more of the Start Today Journal, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of fear, self doubt, other people’s self doubts and it’s steering you off course. It could be a great way to just consistently realign and refocus.

But if you’re in a stage in your business where you really need to up level, like you’ve been at this for a few years, I think this planner is gonna serve you much better.


It’s a short video training, one part mindset and one part really practical strategy. It’s here specifically to show you that with a few perspective shifts and a few new habits, you actually do have time to take better care of yourself this year.

It’s free, it’s super helpful and you can learn more here or grab it with the button below!


If you have a favorite goal setting planner or any questions about these two, let us all know in the comments!

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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate.
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