A new year and a new bullet journal

I love the start of a new year— the feelings of new beginnings and endless possibilities. More specifically, I love planning for a new year. 

I love a fresh planner and mapping out events, to-do lists, and goals. But something happens around March and April and I start filling out my planner less. By October, I typically am not filling out the planner at all anymore because I’m either busy or less motivated to continue filling it out. 

That changed this year with a bullet journal. I filled out nearly 200 pages of a blank journal (except for the bullets) between January and December. So, what changed and how was I able to stick with it? 

I felt organized. I was able to keep track of things I needed to do during a week and each month I tracked goals and dates I needed to remember. I created spreads for work events where I could track my schedule of interviews. 

I wrote about things that happened throughout the year— I added one photo for each month of the year to show a favorite memory. I added a spread about 20 things I did in 2020 and then a list of some of my favorite things that happened including traveling to Florida, San Antonia, DC, and South Carolina; visiting family; a weekend getaway with family in Gatlinburg; and celebrating my cousin’s bachelorette and wedding shower. 

Some of my other favorite parts of my bullet journal were a bookcase where I kept track of what I read during the year and a book bracket to decide my favorite book of each month before picking one favorite for the entire year. I also tracked my mood, habits, and a highlight for every day. This was a cool way to look back and see how I was feeling, what I was thinking, and what habits I kept up. 

I already started a new bullet journal for 2021. I added another bookcase and book tracker, some lists, and a spread for the month of January. I’m looking forward to keeping the bullet journal going into the new year. 

How my bullet journal is helping me plan, organize, and keep memories in 2020

This new year I decided to start a bullet journal. Before getting started I read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal. I was a little overwhelmed at first wondering if I would be able to keep up with it.

Although I’m still a newcomer to the process it really has helped me plan, track, organize, journal, and keep memories.

The Bullet Journal really clicked for me when I saw it all come together on the page. The future log (for the year), monthly log, and daily log helped me feel more clear-headed and like I had the capability to tackle whatever task, work event, or errand I need to.

In the past I would buy planners and use them for three months before I set them aside and used them less and less as the year went on. The journal has allowed me to keep track of both work and personal stuff. I added a section to each of my daily logs to reflect on the day and keep track of memories.

I also started a section to keep track of the books I’m reading. I created a double spread to write down the books I read each month as well as a bookshelf where I can decorate a book cover. There is another double spread of a “book bracket” where I will choose the best book I read each month and narrow it down throughout the year until there is one book chosen as the book of the year.

One quote in the Bullet Journal Method book is, “in a cut-and-paste world that celebrates speed, we often mistake convenience for efficiency. When we take shortcuts, we forfeit opportunities to slow down and think. Writing by hand, as nostalgic and antiquated as it may seem, allows us to reclaim those opportunities…true efficiency is not about speed; it’s about spending more time with what truly matters.”

The first thing I learned about the bullet journal is that there are a lot of different versions. The creator of the method keeps his journal minimal but very detailed and creative spreads can be found on Instagram and Pinterest. I decided to make my daily logs a little more detailed but have attempted to start small and simple as to not overdo it.

I have created some special collections outside of the monthly and daily logs and the book spreads. I created a gratitude log, a short-term and long-term goals log, a photo log that I’ll update throughout the year, as well as a spread where I tracked the kind of tea my husband and I liked.

Here’s what I’ve used to create my bullet journal: A5 Dot Grid Notebook by Archer and Olive, a six-inch acrylic ruler, Tombow brush pens with soft and hard tips, Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Black pen, Midliners, and Crayola super tips markers.

Do you have a Bullet Journal? What tips do you have?