Exciting Ways to Accomplish Your Goals! Meeting Junko Kobori-san to learn the BEST way to use her GYAKUSAN Planner
Have you ever heard of a "GYAKUSAN Planner"? It's a notebook that is definitely worth checking out, as it is produced by Junko Kobori-san, a "Notebook Consultant" who assists in realizing goals through the use of notebooks and ledgers. We met up with Kobori-san to find out how we too can realize our ideal futures by retroactively thinking backwards. This is definitely a must-read for anyone with plenty of goals to accomplish!
A Notebook that Retroactively Plans Out Our Dreams and Goals to Realize Our Ideal Future
―Today, we are interviewing Junko Kobori-san, a Notebook Consultant and the creator of the "GYAKUSAN Planner", a product which has been creating quite a buzz among notebook aficionados since its release in 2016. Kobori-san, thank you for your time today!
It is my pleasure.
Junko Kobori, Notebook Consultant
She developed the "GYAKUSAN Method", a method to achieve exciting goals by thinking retroactively, and later released her original notebook products, the "GYAKUSAN Planner" and the "GYAKUSAN Weekly", in September 2016. Her ultimate goal? To be the oldest female to finish the Sahara Marathon (250km)!
― Now, before we ask about the "GYAKUSAN Planner", we want to begin with your job description. What exactly is a "Notebook Consultant"?
As a certified psychology counselor, I offer assistance in searching for what a person truly wants in their life. I do this using my foundation in psychology, but also by looking through what my clients have written down on their notes and ledgers. Through this, I offer my advice on time management, daily improvements and changes to realize what my clients really want to do.
― So why use notebooks and ledgers?
When I started my website production company in 2004, the periods before and after that were extremely busy. During those times, after trying numerous tools to better manage my daily work, I felt that a simple pen and paper notebook were perfect for me. Truth be told, by writing down what I did by hand, I was better able to objectively review my work, leading to less clutter and more clarity in my head.
― Ah, so that was it!
So then I thought "Hey, this might work in counseling too," which led to my job title as a "Notebook Consultant". You see, compared to only conversing, counseling becomes much easier if my clients share what they have written in their notebooks and ledgers. By looking through their daily life I can advise them more specifically, and make suggestions such as "Ease off social media at night and focus more on something you want to do."
― It's true that notebooks become a record of a person's daily life. So going back to the GYAKUSAN Planner, what is it exactly?
The simple answer would be that it is a notebook that plans out our dreams and goals retroactively. We begin with imagining an exciting future first and then planning out the detailed specifics in order to realize this.
A5 Bimonthly GYAKUSAN Planner, 2019 edition (Gantt Chart & Calendar): ¥3,704 + tax (available in stores on September 20th, Thursday) *Date is subject to change due to availability
― Could you actually show us how to use the planner?
First of all, we begin by writing down 100 things we want to do.
― A hundred? That many?
(Laughs) Yes, writing down one hundred things at the drop of a hat is a monumental task for anybody.
― Uhhh, YES! Even so... writing down a hundred... is that even necessary?
Yes. It's about initiative. Everyone begins by writing down things they "think" they need to do, but after a while of trying to write out one hundred entries, things begin to peek through. In reality, the writing part is not that important; what IS important, however, is to bring out the subconscious. And if anybody does run out of things to do before they get to one hundred, we utilize the "Things We Don't Want To Do List" on the next page.
― So by imagining anything negative, that inversely leads to positivity.
Yes, so going back and forth between To-Do's and Not-To-Do's will inadvertently make it easier to write. Of course, writing down 100 items is a tedious task. But it's also not a painful one. You will actually be surprised if you try this, but finding plenty of things you WANT to do is genuinely a pleasant feeling, and when something you've never thought to do pops up, it leads to a positive experience. And thinking up things that you want to do is FUN, just relax and try it. Nobody is going to get upset with you. (Laughs)
Spending Every Day Imagining an Exciting "Life Vision"
― What happens after writing down what we want to do?
The next step is to specify our exciting future and add details to create a "Life Vision".
― Ah, so this is the famous "Life Vision"...!
Here we write down the outline of our ideal future. On the left you write down private things, such as "Things to Look Forward to", "Education / Growth", "Lifestyle", "Health"; and on the right, you write down public things, such as your "Life Work", "Work", "Finance", "Relationships". This part is the fun part!
― A-ha! So you write them out, one by one.
Make sure to note that this is only a vision, and not specific goals. Whether or not you achieve these things is not important. It can be things you might not be able to do, or they might be a bit outlandish, but write them down, no problem.
― Hmm, that sounds pretty fun!
YES! (Laughs) The importance of this page is to get your motivation going, so add some photos, use colorful pens and stickers to decorate it and genuinely get excited. That is exactly what I want to see happen. Just for reference, here are my recommended decoration items. (Laughs)
Junko Kobori-san's personal items
― This is a joy for me, but what about those who have a difficult time imagining things so far ahead into the future?
For those people, I recommend thinking about their "Daily Visions".
― Imagining THE perfect day?
Exactly! I originally designed this planner to plan out specific daily visions to realize a life vision, but for those having trouble imagining their entire life, just begin by comparing your perfect day against what really happened, and thinking about how to supplement the disparity. By doing so, you'll begin finding things you'd want to do during certain hours in the day, which can then be utilized in planning out your life vision.
― Another way to plan out your vision!
In addition, I recommend reading the life vision page for at least 10 seconds every day. All of your dreams and future goals are packed into this page, so just looking at it will motivate you. A bright future imagined will lead to a much happier and more productive daily life!
― I see!
Now that we've clarified our life vision, let's break it down into segments of 10 years / 1 year / 1 month and 1 week, and plan them out backwards to see if we can analyze how much we need to do every day.
"Yearly Progress Sheet" page: The GYAKUSAN method is to write down not only your target goals, but how excited and happy you were when you hit your marks.
― How do we set up target goals?
Every page has a space to write down your ideal future in 10 years, 1 year, and so on, according to each theme.
― Each theme?
Yes. For example, if your goal is to live overseas and spend your days relaxing, the theme would be "Shelter". If the goal is to raise your salary, then the theme would be "Income". There is enough space to write down 6 specific goals per page, so you can compare the 100 to-do-list and your life vision and refine them down to within 6 goals.
― Are there any recommended methods to set up target goals?
The SMART method comes in very handy when setting up target goals. Although there are various interpretations, my understanding is that the goals should be, "Simple to understand", "Measurable targets", "Attractive and exciting to me", "Related to my goal" and the "Time limit is a deadline". I believe setting up target goals that adhere to these 5 items is a good method.
― Yes, yes, I see.
In addition, although I had previously stated to refine your goals to within 6 items, the important thing here is to not make them too high a hurdle to overcome. Always make sure to have at least 1 item that can be attained through good, hard work. I mean, if they are all very difficult, it will be a shock when none can be realized. (Laughs)
― THAT is very true...!
Also, for anyone having difficulty setting up various goals, begin by setting up 1 goal each from the public side and the private side of the life vision page. Motivating yourself to accomplish your goals becomes so much more positive if you set up goals with a good balance between work and private life.
A Clear Pathway Will Make Even an Uncertain Future Look Positive
― Are there any reasons for breaking goals down into years, months and weeks in the first place?
For example, let's say our target is to run 1,200 kilometers annually. When we break it down, it comes down to 100 kilometers a month, and 25 kilometers a week.
So then, if we run 10 kilometers today, then we have already accomplished about 40% of our goals for this week. Now, having said that, won't having finished 40% of our goals in just 1 running excursion feel like quite an accomplishment?
― Yes, I think there would be a sense of accomplishment!
But when you think of it from an annual perspective, we've only finished maybe 0.8% of our goals. That will seem like nothing. With that in mind, it's inevitable that your motivations might go down. Of course, we're only breaking it down into weekly increments, so the total annual goal of 1,200 kilometers is not changing, BUT, our perception is completely different. The reason we have clear goals but have a tendency to peter-out halfway through is that we're making long-term goals with no milestones. By having in-between goals in increments of a month or a week, we will begin seeing what we need to do daily, and that becomes fun. Adding to that, we will feel more attuned to realizing our goals.
― I see. So having periodic goals to accentuate the speed of accomplishment itself becomes a source of motivation.
Precisely! Big goals have small beginnings. It's important to have small accomplishments build up into a larger one. Please always take the time to pat yourself on the back for even the tiniest of accomplishments.
― It's true that as we get older, the opportunities to receive compliments go down.
You see!? The important thing here is how you motivate yourself and have fun at the same time. I often do strength training, and every time I hit my target marks, my trainer compliments me. (Laughs) And when we're almost finished, the trainer also gives me the extra push for "3 more!" Having an in-between goal that can motivate you into accomplishing your goal gives you that extra push.
― Another point that I was wondering about was what if, due to some unforeseen circumstance, there was absolutely no chance that we were going to attain our goals?
We all have a mindset where if we set a goal, we have to attain it, no matter what. But it simply does not have to be that extreme. Please always keep in mind that we're building a life vision filled with our dreams. So it shouldn't be a case where we need to have our backs against the wall and that "THIS, must be done by THIS date!" Rather, it should be more relaxed, kind of like, "Yeah, hopefully I can do this by so-and-so date," or "I should do these things within ten years."
― Oh, thank god! I thought I needed to follow a rigid target schedule...
It goes without saying that since things always change and we need to be flexible with our plans as well. Of course, the counter-argument to that would be, "Then why plan?" But I do believe in establishing a long-term plan and having a general overview.
― Why is that?
By having a plan, we can periodically check to see where we are and whether or not something is delayed or on schedule. If we don't have a plan, we're running around like a headless chicken. We will have no idea where we are or where we are heading towards.
― Very true...
The unknown is our greatest fear, and of course we will be worried about moving forward. There are many who say to "save money" out of worry, but that is due to having no clear vision. You can avoid such that by having your own vision and goals for the future. And if your goals do not come to fruition, that's ok. Understanding your current place in life and deciding what to accomplish... only then can you truly begin to see your future. By doing so, that uncertain future that you were so worried about becomes clearer and more positive. Through the GYAKUSAN Planner, I want more people to be more excited, proactive and have fun planning their future.
― I see, having a clear path will change how you see the future. Finally, if you have any ideas regarding the GYAKUSAN Planner 10 years in the future, please tell us!
It will become the de facto notebook, with over 1 million users across the world! Because that's what it says in my GYAKUSAN Planner!! (Laughs)
The GYAKUSAN Planner lets you dream big, and also specifies the daily incremental steps needed to achieve those dreams. Aside from what we have highlighted here, the planner is filled with various ideas to make for a brighter and better lifestyle. If you are at all interested in a "New and Improved ME for 2019", please take a look and see what it's all about.
* Available at TOKYU HANDS stores starting September 20th (Thursday). Please note that the above date is subject to change due to availability.
* Items introduced in this article may not be available in some stores. Please contact stores for information regarding the stock.
* The featured product may need to be specially ordered at the store.
* Please note that prices and specifications are subject to change and that availability is limited.
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