How to Create Your Own Bullet Journal

Back in 2015, I started my first bullet journal and it was simultaneously a way for me to stay organized AND creative during the week. I love bullet journals so much that I even made it the subject of one of my speeches during my public speaking class haha.

Here is the original bullet journal and the original methods, however, bullet journaling has totally evolved! Now you can find tons of creative ideas on Pinterest, Instagram and in Facebook groups.

If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s essentially a blank journal where you create your own planning and tracking spreads. You can make it as simple or creative as you’d like, and it is completely customizable – there are hundreds of different spreads that you can create, and you’ll always have room for the things you need, because it’s all up to you! Every time I’ve ever bought a pre-made planner I start off strong, and then forget it and the majority of the planner goes to waste. Well, with a bullet journal that won’t happen! If you forget about it or choose not to use it for a while, there are no pages wasted because you can just start creating wherever you left off.

Besides the benefits of this completely customizable planner, there are so many benefits to the act of handwriting as well as journaling. I also use my planner to track my habits and moods, and, as a lover of data, this allows me to see how my habits correlate with how I’m feeling, or whether how I’m feeling affects how consistent I am with my good habits.

I had started a new bullet journal last year (2020), but it’s no lie that I struggled lol. The bullet journal didn’t last long, though now I wish I had kept up with it so that I could look back and reflect on that time. So one of my goals for this year (2021) is to start bullet journaling again!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve already seen how I’ve laid out my journal, but here I am going to get more in-depth with it, starting with the materials I use!

Materials

Journal
Any empty journal will do, but I would highly recommend that you get a dotted journal. My favorite is the Leuchtturm1917 which comes in tons of colors! You can find more options on Amazon or your local book store.

Pens
You can use any pen you like, but I prefer Micron Pens because they are felt tipped (no ink skipping).

Markers
I keep it simple with Crayola Supertips, which are great for drawing AND calligraphy, and they don’t bleed. If you wanna get fancy, the professionals use Tombow Brush Pens. I have a few, but they’re expensive and although they look great, I always find myself reaching for the Crayola’s…

Any creative/art materials you like
This may include washi tape, stamps, stickers, paint, watercolors, craft paper, and anything else really!

Content

One thing I don’t really like about store bought planners, is that you can’t customize them! They might have extra things in there that you don’t use, or they may not have enough room for all the things that you DO want in them.

Well, the bullet journal is here to fix all of those problems! It may take some time to create, but getting creative can be so therapeutic and you create exactly what you need!

Here is a list of content ideas that you could include in your own bullet journal besides the typical monthly and weekly spreads:

  • Habit tracker
  • Mood tracker
  • Book tracker
  • Gratitude log
  • Continuing Education log
  • New year goals
  • Savings tracker
  • Sleep log
  • Self care
  • Cleaning tracker
  • Password log
  • Monthly/weekly/daily planners
  • Birthdays
  • Exercise/weight loss tracker
  • Grocery list
  • Meal planner
  • Spending log/Budget spread
  • Water log
  • Health/Symptoms tracker
  • Memories
  • Project ideas and progress
  • Work hours
  • Favorite recipes
  • Screen time tracker
  • Gift ideas
  • TV shows/Movie lists
  • And so much more

Truly, you can put whatever you want in your journal! It can be simple, or a work of art!

My Setup

I chose a salmon color for my bullet journal this year
I wanted my first page to be a celebration of my biggest accomplishment of 2020 (finally becoming an OT!) as well as encouragement and reminders of the goodness of God!
And my official welcome to 2021
Next come my goals and intentions for the new year – along with a reminder that I must never lean on my own understanding but on God’s. Though I set these intentions and goals, I know that God has a plan for me that may look completely different from what I have planned myself!
Closer look at my student loan repayment page – my goal is to pay off $10,000 this year
And a page for all of my goals for the year
Here is a page to keep track of my OT things, namely, all of the CEUs that I have to do for my first renewal
And of course an ideas page for my blog and Instagram, and a way to keep track of my weekly posts
Another goal of mine for the year is to read 21 books, so this is where I can keep track of those
I left a few blank pages because I know that I’ll think of other trackers to include there, and here is where I started the planning section!
My monthly spread
Every month I like to include a habit tracker, mood tracker, and a log for daily gratitude
Here you can see the habit and mood trackers better – while there are tons of creative ways to keep track of these things, I love data and find that line graphs give me the best visual! At the top are the days of the month, and to the left are the habits I want to have for the year, and the range of moods. This way I can see how my moods fluctuate in comparison to my daily habits.
And here is my daily gratitude log, just enough room for something short and sweet
And last is my weekly spread! I’m keeping the weekly spreads simple for now since I don’t have much to plan. But the great thing is that if and when I get busy again, I can change my weekly spreads to exactly how I need them!

I hope that you find some inspiration to start your own bullet journal, and that it will help you stay organized and motivated through this new year!

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