With the start of another New Year comes the onslaught of New Year’s Resolutions. In past years I’ve written posts about resolutions for the whole family and about creating challenges for yourself instead of resolutions. This year, I’m going to focus on something I did right in the last year that made goals more achievable — I used a bullet journal.
As a former special education teacher, I know it’s important goals be three things: observable, measurable, and attainable. I also know I personally do better with very specific goals, I’m highly competitive (even with myself), and I am a visual learner. This makes using a bullet journal perfect for me.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, bullet journaling is a completely customizable way to organize, plan, track, or doodle. The books themselves come with dotted paper (similar to the graphing paper we used in high school math). You then use colored pencils or pens to create visuals to help keep up with your goals. More than just a written list or a diary, the bullet journal combines those simple concepts with graphics you create to draw your attention and make things easier to see. For instance, you might draw a piggy bank on a page where you want to track the money you are saving, then slowly fill in the piggy bank as you save money, rather than just writing out dollar amounts. Here is a great site with information about what bullet journaling is and how to get started, for those of you who want more details.
First, I have to start by figuring out what my goals are. I try to give myself at least 3 goals– a “self-improvement” one, a personal one, and an accountability one. Instead of broad concepts, like eat better, I need to make my goals fit the requirements listed above: something like, “eat a vegetable every day” would be more specific, as well as observable and measurable (it is something physical I could clearly document as having done or not). However, it is not an attainable goal for me because (despite trying to convince myself otherwise) I hate vegetables and know I would fail.
The bullet journal I got has a table of contents in the front that allowed me to organize my thoughts. I had fun using the special markers and stencils I got to set up the pages for me to use throughout the year while keeping up with my goals. Using the bullet journal combined my competitiveness with my visual learning preference by allowing me to see the progress I made throughout the year.
I kept my journal on the end table by my favorite chair so it would stay on my mind. Being able to open to a page and easily see if I hadn’t been keeping up with something made me more likely to get back on track. As the year progressed, sometimes I saw other ideas I liked and added them to the journal, such as doing a book bracket to figure out the best book I read all year (as you can tell, I love reading!).
I enjoyed this method of keeping up with my goals so much that I’ve already started setting up the pages for next year, which include 3 pages of tally grids for the 10,000 burpees I hope to do over the course of 2021!
I used my bullet journal to help track my goals for the year, but there are literally hundreds of other uses, including managing finances, exploring your creativity, following your moods, or keeping tabs on how many glasses of wine you’ve enjoyed! For new mommies, you can track baby’s sleep habits, meal preferences, Dr’s visits, and more. I encourage you to find a journal that catches your eye, then check out this amazing site for over 300 ideas for ways to use your bullet journal.
What will you keep track of this year?