Last January, I read a friend’s post about how they had started a bullet journal. I had never heard of a bullet journal, so I went online and began to research them. A bullet journal is basically a day planner, organizer, journal and to do list all in one book. You customize it to what you need, so there’s no empty useless pages.
I was incredibly intimidated by sites that showed pages filled with gorgeous drawings and amazing handwriting, but I liked the idea of having everything in one spot. I’m often on the go, and I find the notes on my phone hard to use and access. I often create to do lists and then leave them around the house (or lose them), but I loved checking things off a list. I’m also a journal writer, although not as consistently as I’d like. I decided to give it a try.
First stop was Michaels to get a journal. After looking at lots of options, I went for a simple light journal with the dotted pages that make the customization possible. I bought what I thought were multicolored pens, but turned out to be all blue ink. But I’m glad I didn’t focus too much on color coordination, but allowed myself to keep it simple and use whatever pen was handy. I created the index, the Future Log, a calendar and started inputting my to do lists. I was off to the races.
Since it was a new year, I needed to think about what it was that I wanted to accomplish in 2017. I had sworn to eat better and exercise more, so I decided to log what I did each day to meet my goal (including nothing) to keep myself accountable. In order to track the causes of my migraines, I also marked down how much sleep I got, how many fruits and vegetables I ate and whether or not I’d had a kombucha each day.
I did the bullet journal for a full year. I think it has helped my exercise goals immensely and kept me accountable. I am planning to run a 10-miler race this March, and I don’t think I would feel ready to take on such a big challenge if I wasn’t in good shape. I hated to report on any given day that I’ve only managed to eat one or two vegetables, so I made sure to boost the healthiness of my diet. And I could easily scan across the page to see how often I’d done yoga or weight training so I could make sure that I was doing plenty of cross training.
I’ve recently tried to transfer my success with my exercise log to a writing log where I can report what’ve done each day on my projects, and see if I’m slacking off.
I sometimes stumbled on keeping a to do list and keeping the calendar up to date. I find my iPhone far more useful for my schedule. My family has switched to a Google calendar on our phones so we can see everyone’s activities everyday, and it’s hard for the journal to compete with that. But I like having a paper trail, too.
Twelve months is more than enough time to create a new habit. My bullet journal experience feels very successful. The proof? I bought a new journal and started 2018 with a Index, Future Log, etc. And I’m off again to tackle a new year with a new journal.