I may be late to the party, but I fell into the bullet journal craze.
One day in early February we had a huge snowstorm that kept me in my apartment for a few days. During this time, I set up my bullet journal. I created a few pages that failed, but I eventually got the hang of it.
For those who don’t know, bullet journaling is taking a journal with a bunch of dots on it and making it into whatever you need it to be. There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest. Most people use it as a customized organizer. You’re able to set up the ideal planner instead of trying to fit your year into a preplanned agenda.
Here are a few of my favorite parts of my own journal:
- Monthly Spread: I have a calendar on one side of the page with the second side reserved for planning my goals for the month. I have a habit tracker where I check off whether or not I accomplished a daily task (reading, writing, flossing, etc.) and a list of goals for the month. I also have a little section where I write things to focus on for the month. Bigger questions that should be answered soon, like where I want to live next year, or things to keep in mind like saving for my trip to Italy in the summer. The habit tracker is the best part. At the end of each night, I have to answer to myself. It’s rewarding to see that I read every single day in February except one day and it’s discouraging that I didn’t study Italian once.
- Grocery List: I love grocery shopping and cook almost all of my meals, so having a section for grocery shopping is really helpful. I used to jot down a list on a piece of scrap paper. Now that I have a section for them, I can refer to past lists to remind me of my staples so I’m not recreating a list constantly.
- Book Progress: A bar graph showing my writing progress on my book with dates set to finish certain page counts. It’s fulfilling to see the bar rise, and it’s disappointing to have to admit that I didn’t meet a goal.
- Roald Dahl Tracker: Roald Dahl is my favorite author so I wrote down everything he wrote so I can accomplish my goal of reading every single book he ever wrote. It speaks a lot to my personality and sense of humor.
- Italy Planner: I have my budget, flight info, reservation information and agenda for Italy all bound in the book. I’m able to add pages as needed and track my budgeted vs. actual costs.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that I will always love bullet journaling as much as I do now, but for the moment, it’s a great way to hold myself accountable. Now that I’m writing for myself, it’s much harder to meet deadlines. But with my new journal, I make appointments with myself and make sure to show up to them because if I don’t, I’ll have to admit in writing that I didn’t meet a goal. Just as I do with my physical therapy appointments, I pencil myself in between the hours of 8:30-10pm and take myself down to my lobby to work. It’s working a lot better than the “I should write today…” thought turning into inaction.
I was falling into a bad habit of work, physical therapy, cooking and going to sleep. I realized that I had to make a change, and like most people, craved the proper structure to lead me there. By taking the time to reflect on the month, day, week, year ahead and actually write down my goals, I’m able to start working towards something greater. By sharing each month’s goals on Instagram, I’m broadcasting my expectations of myself to all my friends so I have to stay accountable.
My bullet journal got me to start writing in this blog again. I set the goal for myself to write four times a week. Usually that means a M-Th post, but I’m open to flexibility as long as it means I’m writing four times a week. Somehow, writing in my blog always correlates to finishing larger projects and being much happier. I think taking the time to type out my thoughts and allowing my friends and family in on my opinions helps keep me motivated.
I like having one place for everything. If I need to check my PT schedule, I go into my journal. If I have an idea for a stand up set, I go to my journal. If I want to see how much I’m spending on fringe items, I check my journal. It’s helpful to have a one stop shop instead of keeping things in a million different places.
My new year started a little late because I knew it would be unrealistic to make any sort of resolution while playoffs were going on. I still haven’t made any resolutions, per se, I’m just trying to get a little better each day. Let’s hope this is a habit that sticks.