Planning 2019 with a Bullet Journal

With the New Year comes resolutions, plans, planners, and the works…and this year, I’m trying something new and wanted to share with you.

The Bullet Journal first came into my life via my best friend Peace. She has the most beautiful bullet journal filled with art, shapes, and gorgeous calligraphy…but more importantly, the evolution of her life shows that it’s helped her achieve her goals.

So I decided to give it a go for myself this year.

The BuJo is billed as an analog planner for a digital age. It’s a simple system built around the:

  • Index: To help you navigate your bullet journal and you don’t have to flip through pages randomly looking for stuff.
  • Future log: To give you a snapshot of tasks that you already have planned that are outside of the current month.
  • Monthly log: To give you a snapshot of the tasks that you have planned for the current month.
  • Weekly log (optional): Some people use weekly spreads to capture the week and plan ahead.
  • Daily log: Designed for day-to-day use, this log helps you plan your day.
  • Custom collections: This is to capture collections and people use it for everything from budgeting to habits.

RILEY (my big boy decided to type his name while I was working on this so there 😀)

I spent the month of December experimenting with a “Play BuJo” to see what I liked and what I didn’t. I tracked some habits, planned a few days and figured out what didn’t work before diving into 2019 planning in a brand new BuJo.

Here are pictures of my old BuJo

With the old BuJo, I kept a simple classic layout for my:

  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log & Notes
  • And even the dailies

And I did simple blocks to shade in to track my mood, my workouts and my nutrition. It was simple, but…

What I didn’t like about my old BuJo

  • Daily planning always fell by the wayside. Since I didn’t use a weekly spread and I didn’t want to block myself in and have too little space, I couldn’t plan days in advance. With two kids, this was really hard! I would plan, Sunday and Monday, but by the time the week really kicked in, planning didn’t happen.
  • It didn’t inspire me more when I opened it. It was just another list maker and I didn’t like that I didn’t get excited when I opened it. Like look at this gorgeous picture!
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

What I loved about my practice BuJo

  • Shading! Oh MG! It was so calming to sit down and shade as I tracked my moods, workouts, and nutrition…and because I knew I got to pick the colors to shade in each time to track, I was more conscious of trying to take action in a way that allowed me to shade in green.

So to make my new BuJo work for me, I knew I needed:

  • To keep the shading functionality! Love it!!!
  • Focus on weekly planning.
  • Give myself plenty of opportunities to be creative.

So here’s how I kicked off planning with my 2019 BuJo

The focus of my Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) this year is:

  • commemorating the important days in the lives of those I love.
  • focusing on building new habits to level up for my life.
  • figuring out what it is I want for myself now and five years in to the future.

I got the Leuchtturm1917 my best friend recommended, and this came with a pre-built index and numbered pages so all I have to do was fill in the contents as I go.

My cover page for the year is also really simple. I used block letters to highlight what I want to achieve this year.

At some point during the year, I might choose to add color to this page, but for now it works.

My Birthday Layout

To help me commemorate the birthdays of those I cared about, I drew inspiration from @creapassionink on Instagram using a wheel design that turned out quite nicely. Here’s the original inspiration photo.

My Habit Tracker

I’m focusing on building a single new habit each month this year. I’m not a fan of trying to do everything at once, so one a month works well for me. Plus, in the spirit of getting to know me better, spending time on each habit to master what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s the inspiration I used to create my monthly habit tracker:


I also love the fact that it looks like I’m building a wall of habits.

The Future Log

I kept the future log simple, and added the calendar at the bottom right corner as an afterthought because I wanted my BuJo to be a single reference for me. I didn’t want to have my phone open to look up what day August 4th falls on, when I could just flip the page.

2019 Future Log

The Monthly Log

I carried the circular theme from my birthday spread into my monthly log and focused on three things:

  1. Key appointments for the month
  2. The habits that I already have…exercise, meal planning, and maintaining our home
  • January Cover Page
  • January Exercise Tracker
  • January Meal Tracker
  • January Laundry Tracker

Here’s the breakdown of the habits:

  • New! Proactivity: The key habit that I’m focusing in for January of 2019.
  • Exercise: I worked out 3X a week for 49 of 52 weeks last year. I didn’t do anything the week I had Sofia and skipped a workout the other two weeks…and I’m hella proud of that. This month, I’m taking things to the next level by trying to workout every day. I feel challenged enough to want to puke, but I’ve structured my workout plan for this month in a way that I feel 90% confident that I can hit the mark.
  • Nutrition: I’m tracking the things that make healthy eating possible…meal planning and grocery shopping. I do those things once a week and being consistent with those habits helps me eat healthy.
  • Home Management:  Laundry is the key thing to making me feel like we’re managing the home front like bosses. When the laundry is done and folded, we don’t have to hunt for clean clothes in the morning when getting ready for school and work…and that’s a huge relief.

My January Collection

As part of my quest to be more proactive and to know myself better…I’m doing a Good Time Journal to help me notice what I enjoy about each work day.

The Good Time Journal isn’t an original idea…In the Book Designing Your Life: How to Live a Well Designed and Joyful Life. I’m curious to see what I find at the end of the three-week tracking exercise.

Here’s my BuJo version of the Good Time Journal

And yes…I hand drew the ligntning bolt looking things and the human running and the squares. It was so fun!!!

My Weekly Plan

This is the biggest improvement I made from my practice BuJo…planning weekly. Here’s the layout I chose to go with:

Creating a BuJo for yourself

Start simple

I love my new BuJo and it’s probably going to keep evolving to be more elaborate, but I didn’t start that way. Don’t be afraid to start simple.

Make it yours

The key advantage of a BuJo is that you’re not constrained by pre-done template in the planners you find at the store. Take full advantage of that and make it yours. Do Google searches for BuJo + “what you want to achieve” e.g. BuJo Mood Tracking. You’ll find a ton of inspiration and you get to pick and choose.

The awesome thing is a lot of people who share BuJo Inspiration also share how to recreate the spreads that they share…especially on YouTube.

Don’t be intimidated by the beauty of the BuJos you see online

Start simple and evolve. You don’t need to spend all the monies on pens and books. I started with the journal I already have and standard pens. And I graduated to a $20
Leuchtturm1917 and some great pens that my best friend gifted to me (she’s awesome isn’t she?)

Also, there’s that little factor of the time it takes to set it up. My 2019 BuJo did take quite a while to put together but here’s how I dealt with that:

  1. I reminded myself that I don’t hesitate to put in the time to take care of other people in my life and doing this for me was taking a slice of that time for myself.
  2. It turned out to be really soothing to do all that drawing and shading, and it wasn’t half bad.

The Bullet Journal is meant to be a personalized way to plan your life

So whether you use it or not, you definitely can benefit from the process of thinking through how you plan to take action to achieve your goals.

Over to you…how are you planning to achieve your goals in 2019?

Do share in the comments below…

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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