Bullet Journaling – How I’m Motivating Myself in 2017

Bullet Journaling

I’m a planner junkie. I freely admit it. I love to plan. There’s just something relaxing/zen about writing down everything I need to do and getting the random ideas that just pop into my brain down on paper. I don’t use a digital planner. I’ve tried on numerous occasions and I just can’t stick with it. Probably because I thoroughly enjoy the tactile sensation of writing.

I used to use a three ring binder style notebook with lots of different printable planner pages. I absolutely LOVE that notebook and still have it all put together in case I need to go back to it. But that notebook had several problems.

About four months ago, I stumbled upon a new style of planning while browsing Pinterest. It’s called the bullet journal.

The Bullet Journal

Developed by Ryder Carroll, the bullet journal was meant to be a simple way to write to do lists quickly. You can check out Carroll’s intro video here.

Since it’s inception, the bullet journal has exploded. People have taken this simple system and made it completely their own, myself included. There are hundreds Facebook Communities, Pinterest boards (and community boards) and Instagram accounts devoted just to bullet journaling.

I started my first bullet journal in September of 2016 and am currently on my second one which will probably last me until March 2017. I also have a third one already started and prepped for March!

What I love about this system is it’s flexibility. I can design a spread to be whatever I need it to be. For example, my current weekly set up looks like this:

My current January bullet journal spread. There’s also a time tracker on each day which is color coded so that I know how I’m spending my days.

But when I first started bullet journaling in September, my weekly spreads looked much different. Here’s one from October.

My weekly spread in October 2016

Can you see the huge difference? I still have a lot of the same things on my current layout, but I’ve added to it considerably. I now have spots for chores, podcasts, what I’m currently doing, all the tasks that need to get done in the week and room for an exercise plan!

Bullet Journal Collections

But there’s more to the bullet journal than weekly spreads. Many people add a variety of collections, which are one or two page spreads for things like books to read, future logs, wish lists, master task lists, grocery lists, monthly menus, and even habit trackers.

I have several of these spreads including books to read:

My current list of books to read for 2017 with fiction on the left and nonfiction on the right.

I also have a collection of recipes to try:

A list of new recipes to try in my bullet journal to help with meal planning.

There’s also a motivational page and a mood tracker (sorry about the language, but it’s my favorite word!):

A spot for tracking my moods in 2017, it’s sometimes called a year in pixels in the bullet journal community.

A list of things I need to do for each of my businesses for the month:

Business Tasks in my Bullet Journal

A page just for business tasks for the month of January.

There’s also a future log and brain dump page:

Bullet Journal Future Log

This is the first time I’m trying the future log, but I love the brain dump page!

I also have a habit tracker, which is why I’m writing this blog post. This habit tracker has helped me stay motivated to get in my workouts regularly. Filling in those little squares is apparently enough to motivate some as OCD as I am…

Bullet Journal Habit Tracker

My January Habit Tracker in my Bullet Journal

I think the habit tracker is my favorite part of my bullet journal. For some reason, coloring in little squares motivates me to workout in the morning and to practice my Dutch lessons (among other things). Why coloring in squares is motivational I have no idea. But it works!

I have found that this little tool has been indispensable in helping me create a healthier lifestyle. Just by starting this bullet journal, I was inspired to finally adapt the Eat Fat Get Thin  diet by Mark Hyman, MD. (hence the recipes page).

Bullet Journaling for Life

This little book keeps my entire life all in one place. All of my health goals, business ideas, and daily tasks can all be found in my bullet journal along with a time tracker on my weekly spread, which tells me how I’m spending my time. This is really helpful when I’m spending too much time watching Netflix or playing Subnautica and not enough time blogging or working on my Amazon store!

But I also have goals for the year and things like a master task list with everything I need to do on it as well as a medical log of medications and doctors visits:

Yearly Goals and Medical Log in my Bullet Journal

Yearly Goals and Medical Log in my Bullet Journal

The bullet journal is incredibly freeing, and I think that is it’s power. Yes, you could put all of your thoughts into Evernote, but for some of us that just doesn’t work. The creative element to bullet journaling helps keep me coming back to use it, and that keeps me on track.

New Year Changes

In 2017, the focus of this blog is going to change a bit since Xbox has discontinued their Xbox Fitness Service. I’ll still be using the Xbox 360 Kinect for workouts a few times a week, but I’ll also be writing more about our diet, and of course bullet journaling. If there’s anything you’d like me to share with you, let me know in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

Do you bullet journal? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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