2017 Quest: Starting a Bullet Journal

I come from a creative family. I draw, I knit, I sew (somewhat). I also suffer from what I like to call a “normal level of Millennial anxiety”. I constantly worry about important and unimportant things, riding the waves of stress-induced adrenaline to get me through the day. My mind is constantly running and I tend to lose my train of thought easily. We can all admit that 2016 was…a disaster…and the mentality of 2017 appears to be getting over the hump that was last year.

The best part of the New Year is creating goals and plans for the upcoming year. Like many, I find setting the traditional “resolution” to be more discouraging than helpful. For years, my resolution was to “eat healthier”. <insert eye roll> I would “try” for a week or two and then lose the motivation/will to keep up with it. It wasn’t until I learned last year that my anxiety was growing out of control and was the main contributor to my picky/unhealthy eating habits. Since changing some factors in my life, I’ve been able to slowly change a few of my negative habits while creating others that promote better mental health. I’m able to think about creating balanced meal plans and incorporating more veggies and proteins, while subtracting non-essential carbs and junk foods. **I’m not perfect. Everyone has their off days, my weakness for sweets and breads comes up almost daily. The struggle is constantly real. **

Fast forward to the start of 2017. I’m just scrolling through my Instagram when I see a few people I follow showing a few of their bullet journal pages. My first reaction was “wow! Those look cool!” and then kept scrolling. I didn’t think twice about what the heck a bullet journal was nor feeling even an inkling of inspiration to start my own. That was until I kept seeing more and more of them. I thought to myself, what would be the point? I know I can draw but cute little doodles and print lettering didn’t always come naturally. Thoughts of self doubt started to seep in: could I really do this? Would I really stick with it? What if it turns out ugly and no one cares that I’m making a bullet journal? Hint #1: my negative self-talk/doubt has always been a weak point for me. So if I already know this about myself, why do I keep challenging every hope and dream I have?  Honestly, who cares if no one but me cares about my bullet journal. It’s for me. Rule #1: make it for you. The outward appearance of your pages don’t and shouldn’t matter.

While I’m at it: Rule #2: besides the basic set up and design ideas, stop looking at Pinterest/Instagram/social media. AKA, don’t compare your journal to anyone else’s. Enjoy other’s journeys and methods of organizing but don’t keep adding pressure about not having the cutest/most eclectic/most beautiful journal. I’m sure my individual style and format will develop over the years and doesn’t need to be perfected on day 1. Note: Perfectionism is a common flaw of mine. I want to make something you all can enjoy but I have to remind myself that my blog or knitting is for me (while I do enjoy your feedback and encouragement, of course). 

Rule #3: don’t make it perfect. Being imperfect is the perfect way to be, right? I started to draft my “year at a glance” page and noticed my lettering wasn’t evenly spaced along the heading. Who. Cares. On the list of things to worry about, that’s not even close to the top. The next journal will be even better as I get used to this new method of journaling and recording. Keep telling yourself: it’s all a work in progress.

You (aka my inner dialogue) may be asking, why? Why make a bullet journal and put all of this pressure on yourself? My goal for 2017 is to work on ways of improving my mental health and develop healthy habits/routines to decrease stress. Lately, my anxiety and stress levels have been increasing (thank you, holiday season) and after seeing repetitive examples, I dove into research mode. Wanting to know what all of the fuss was about, I went to the holy almanac of crafty goodness: Pinterest. The plethora of examples was borderline overwhelming. I found Pretty, Practical Emory blog has a great walk through with the basics you need to start a bullet journal. Remember, using Pinterest for inspirational good, not judgmental evil about how much you suck – because you don’t suck. You are awesome.

More ideas here, here, and here.

Taking the inspiration and running with it, I trekked out into the bitter cold yesterday in search for a decent dotted notebook and set of pens to start. I couldn’t wait to get started with this “life changing magic”. 20 minutes later, with pen in hand, I stared at my blank journal. Now what? Where’s my magical ah-ha moment? Well, referring to the rules I set for myself in this blog post, I need to take inspiration from social media outlets, make it for me, and not make it perfect. This. Is. Hard. I’m starting with just the basics:

  1. Index Page, 2 pages
  2. Key/Legend, 1 page
    • I didn’t like how the single word “key” looked, hence /legend.
  3. Inspirational Words/Quotes, 2 pages
    • I wanted two pages (when opened, facing each other) that includes my favorite quotes. Knowing that being in front, these would be easy to access for a reminder of the little things.
  4. Year At-A-Glance Calendar,  2 pages
    • Birthdays, holidays, and major events listed/notated.
  5. Budget/House Finances, 2 pages
    • AKA bills schedule, finances, income, expenditures, etc.
  6. Month by month sections, 2 pages
    • “Month Page”
    • Month goals
  7. Week-by-week within that specific month.
    • 2-pages each, Sunday-Saturday
  8. Misc.

One thought on “2017 Quest: Starting a Bullet Journal

  1. keepsmeoutofmischief says:

    I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for a little over a year now and started it for similar reasons to you. I completely agree with your first rule. There’s no point in doing it if it’s to impress others, it’s got to work for you. You’ll find that some of the pages you initially set up you never look at again and others you’ll refer to everyday. Good luck in using your journal, I hope you find Planner peace.


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