How To Use Bullet Journal to Achieve Your New Years Resolutions

New Year’s Day already seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Maybe you started the year on a high note, getting some exercise or spending some time with family. Or, perhaps you woke up with the mother of all hangovers and continued to sleep off the previous night. Or maybe, if you’re like me, you did both. Regardless of whatever traditions you keep for the New Year, there is one practice that unites us: New Years Resolutions. And even if you’re not a fan of resolutions, I’m willing to bet that you at least thought about what you’d like to achieve in this new year. Whatever your method, I’m going to show you how to use my favorite tool (the Bullet Journal!) to set and keep your goals for the New Year.

New Years Resolutions (and whether to make or keep them) is somewhat of a contentious subject. It’s kind of a running joke that resolutions aren’t practical after the first few weeks of the year. Who hasn’t faced a packed gym in January that didn’t empty out completely by February? Research suggests that although approximately 50% of people make New Years resolutions, only about 8% actually meet them. A few have even posted about why they’re not making resolutions this year. In any case, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that even the best laid plans (or resolutions) are hard to keep.

This is the third time I’ve waxed poetic about the Bullet Journal, and trust me, this one’s a good one. Many of you are already familiar with the magical Bullet Journal and all the ways it can change your life. For those of you who are new, let’s recap. In short, A Bullet Journal is a system of symbols that will help you catalogue your entire life. A Bullet journal is a working to-do list, event book, diary, and list of inspirations. With your bullet journal, you can categorize your thoughts and tasks in one space. Pretty cool, right?

bullet journal new years resolutions

Here are some ways to use your Bullet Journal to make and keep resolutions that will stick.

How To Use Your Bullet Journal To Set and Achieve YourNew Years Resolutions

  1. Clearly define your goals, and write them down next to the index page. At the start of the new year, you might decide that you want to lose weight or get in shape. But what does this mean? Do you want to run a full marathon? Bench press your body weight? Swim 2 miles without rest? Make sure your resolution is specific and quantifiable. That way, you can easily track your progress and feel accomplished when you reach your goal. Focus on 2-4 specific goals, and write them down right after the index page for easy reference.
  2. Track progress on one specific day every week. This year, I made a goal to meditate 3x/week, every week. On Fridays, I sit down and review my week to see how close I came to my goal. Setting this ritual has helped me stay accountable to my goals, and I’m more likely to notice when I’m making good progress or falling behind. I write notes to myself about what went right/wrong, and use these notes to inform my Weekly Goals. At this point, it’s become a habit for me to do a weekly progress report every Friday morning. Whatever you do, make sure you carve out a time to review and catalog your success.
  3. Schedule your goals. Part of making your goals a priority is actively finding the time to achieve them. Pencil in time to work toward your resolutions just like you would a lunch with a friend or a movie date with your SO. Interestingly enough,The Bullet Journal is uniquely well-suited for this particular task. You can create tasks (square checkboxes) and events (empty circles) for your goals so you have double the incentive to put yourself to work. This, by the way, is another great thing to do on Sunday when you’re setting up the week ahead in your journal.
  4. Evaluate and adapt. Many of us, myself included, fall into the all-or-nothing trap. You know the feeling. “This meal ruined my diet, so why not have two desserts?”. Or, “I’ve already missed my run twice this week, what difference will one more day make in the long-term?”. These thoughts are more destructive than you might realize. Be open to adapting your goal to the best you can do that week. Missed a workout? No big deal, you’ll do better the next week. Forgot to read for 10 minutes last night? Doesn’t mean you can’t start up again tonight. Keep notes of where and when you’re experiencing difficulty in your journal, and sooner or later, you’ll begin to notice easily avoidable trends with proper foresight.

What are your New Years Resolutions? Does your Bullet Journal help you stay accountable? Let me know in the comments!