Hey Planning Mashers!
Isn’t it always so exciting when you start something new and you’re so full-on enthusiastic? But as time goes by, this initial excitement kinda fades away until you find yourself not doing this thing anymore.
And if in this case, by “this new thing for you” this means your Bullet Journal, you came to the right place for help! Today we’re talking about all the many ways you can make your Bullet Journal habit stick.
Starting a new habit is always fun and exciting, but it gets pretty difficult to stick to it soon, and your Bullet Journal is not an exception.
I know, however, how much a bullet Journal can help you in transforming your life into a better -and dare I say?- happier one. That’s why I’m here to give you a hand and figure out how you can keep Bullet journaling, even after the January excitement.
In this post, we‘ll talk about a few things. First, it’s important to understand why people struggle to keep Bullet journaling and how you can deal with it.
Next, I’ll share some simple practical steps you can follow to make Bullet Journaling a second nature.
The three main reasons people fail with their Bullet Journals are:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Trying too much at once
This is also what I struggle with when I started, so let’s look into this first.
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Reason 1: Unrealistic Expectations
It might happen to you that you hear so much about Bullet Journaling and how much it changes people’s lives so you probably think as soon as you start one, your life will improve immediately.
And… well, it’s not exactly like that.
First of all, the Bullet Journal is a great tool, but it’s not a magic wand. You can’t expect it to fix it all automatically, the same way you can’t expect to fix a broken chair by just buying a hammer. You really need to put the work into it.
If you do work on it, BuJo will help you immensely and it will make your path that much smoother and more fun.
Secondly – changing your life with time management habits is a very difficult task. Implementing any new habit isn’t an easy thing, but I feel like it’s especially so when we talk about time management.
Productivity and time management techniques are built to change our lifestyle and habits completely, and it’s only natural that your old habits fight back. The key here is to have the strength to endure and prevail.
With this problem fleshed out, here is what you can do to deal with it.
Create A Way To Stay Accountable
The fight for a better life is much easier if you have somebody to keep you accountable. Try to find an accountability partner that would help you with this.
Maybe your family can make sure you follow through, or you can just find somebody who’s also committing to a change with a Bullet Journal and you can keep each other at bay.
You can also stay accountable by using habit trackers, or even habit tracking apps. Add journaling and planning as one of your habits per day and see yourself following through.
Realize You’re Not Alone
When you struggle to keep a new habit, noticing those successful people around you who Bullet journal the hell out of each day… kinda makes it harder, doesn’t it?
Myself, I often feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong. After all, how else can it be so hard for me but so darn easy for others?!
This isn’t really true.
Just like Victoria’s Secret, Instagram and Pinterest really create unrealistic expectations. In reality, we all struggle and there is nothing wrong with it. We’re all beautiful, talented, and worthy!
You’re not alone in this and my best tip would be to start connecting to people in the community, getting to know them better so you can see that we all go through similar things. That helped me a lot and I am SO happy to say the BuJo community is full of beautiful kind and supportive people who will be delighted to help anyone.
Find Your Why
The stronger a motivation you have, the easier it will be to stick to Bullet Journaling and implement all the time management advantages it offers.
To have a strong motivation, you need to know your why. Without a clear why you’ll stumble and fall at the first sight of trouble.
Think of what you want to get from your Bullet Journal and why you want to have it. For example, I felt stuck in life and I needed a BuJo to help me get unstuck and move somewhere in life. So my “why” was to find my goals and achieve them.
It wasn’t always easy, especially at the beginning. But I always knew my why and it helped me to stand by my BuJo and get the most out of it!
Reason 2: Trying Too Much
The amount of things you can do with your Bullet Journal is practically limitless. Just from one sitting I came up with 300+ page ideas you can use.
This is one of the things that make your BuJo such a unique and helpful tool – it can do anything. However, it also creates difficulties. You start trying to do it all at once, and in the end….
Your journal is a mess, you can’t find any information there, you don’t use each page at full capacity. So you end up feeling like BuJo is making your life more confusing rather than helping.
Sounds familiar? Hope not! But if it does, here are a few things you can do to make sure this stops or doesn’t happen to you, so you keep using your journal to stay organized.
Especially when you’re getting started, to simplify must be your motto. Bullet Journal is a very powerful tool so it’s better to start from basic pages and maybe simple designs.
Simple, by the way, doesn’t mean uninteresting, boring, or lifeless. There are so many ways you can create simple spreads that will still look absolutely gorgeous! Just give a try to minimalism!
Check out my post with Gorgeous Minimalist Bullet Journal Inspirations.
Use An Index
Getting lost in all the notes and collections is normal. After all, you probably never tried a system like that.
The way you can keep it all organized though, is an Index page. Yes, it might sound tedious to log all your entries to your index every time, but it will help you to find information in your BuJo.
Moreover, the index page will help you to stop stressing out about organizing your pages. When you start a BuJo you always try to fit all the pages you need at the beginning, but I guarantee you will forget to fit something.
This isn’t a big deal at all, so don’t fret! Just create the spread on the first empty page you have and log in to your index. Just like that, and everything can be easily found!
If you want to learn more check my post BuJo Basics: Index And How To Use It.
Pre-Plan Your Pages
The best way you can keep your BuJo at its ultimate power is by pre-planning your pages.
Take a minute or two to think about the pages you want to include in your bujo and write it down in the notebook.
There is a journal planning worksheet available in the Resources Vault, so be sure to check it,
Think About Your Page
Every time you do a Bullet Journal setup, really think about the pages you want to include. Did you use them before? If so, how can you improve them?
Is this a new page? What do you want to achieve with it? What looks like the best way for you to set it up?
Moving to a new journal, what pages you don’t think you need anymore? What pages have you never really used?
We’re all human, which means that our lives and ourselves are in constant change. Your Bullet Journal has to change with you, to be able to serve your needs better.
So be sure you review your pages before creating a new setup.
Don’t Try All Pages At Once
Be sure to not try all the pages at once! I know how exciting it is to start a Bullet Journal and trying out all those amazing spreads you see all over the internet is very tempting, but it can lead to burnout and may even make you abandon your BuJo.
Try new spreads, look for new ways to improve your journal, but don’t do it all at once. Maybe add one or two new spreads per month to have a test drive with them
Reason 3: Perfectionism and Creativity
Disregarding how you learned about Bullet Journal if you’re starting one you’re probably all over Instagram and Pinterest drooling over those masterful spreads.
I absolutely was myself, I couldn’t wait to get started and I expected my pages to be just as pretty. Because, if SO many people can SO easily create those, of course, I could too. On my first try.
That, of course… didn’t happen. My first bujo pages were disorganized, messy, and super childish. Picture a 5-year-old coloring book done by a particularly excited toddler with crayons.
Yes, this is such a bummer and can turn people away from Bullet Journaling altogether. Especially if you’re a perfectionist and expect nothing less than masterpieces from your every spread.
It’s time for us to look into this and figure out how you can deal with such an issue.
This is probably the most important thing you can do – to adjust your attitude. You’re a human and it’s only natural to make mistakes, that the journal which you use daily and on the go doesn’t have perfect handwriting.
When you start Bullet Journaling you should let go of your perfectionism and concentrate on your why.
I hated my first pages, they were ugly and totally mocked my complete lack of creativity. However, I knew why I wanted to have a BuJo, so I persevered and shut down my inner critic. Which was very loud and obnoxious.
A few years later and with tons of experience, I ended up here, creating pages I can actually share on my Instagram and which make me happy to open my Bullet Journal every day.
So kick your perfectionism out of your Bullet Journal adventures and start enjoying the process and not concentrating on the final look.
You Are Not Alone
Another thing with social media is that you only see the most beautiful spreads there and it really creates the wrong impression that everyone is super talented and creative and you’re the only talentless onion there.
This could not be further away from the truth! The thing is, we all start from zero, but on social media, we only share the best of the best. Keep this in mind and be sure not to compare your day 1 to somebody’s year 5.
Try joining Bullet Journal related Facebook groups (like our little community “Bullet Journaling To Happiness”) to get to know others who are just starting and understand that you’re not alone with your creative struggles and that it’s completely normal.
Learning and Practice
Creativity is a skill and obviously, you get better at it as you learn more and practice more. If you want to improve your creative skills, just make sure you do those two things.
Here are a few resources you can use to help you bring out that creative streak in yourself.
My favorite place to learn things is Skillshare. It’s an online platform with TONS of classes on any topic, including some rocking creativity courses.
Start there! Especially because if you use my link you’ll be able to get 2 weeks of free access to ALL their classes.
Some things I learned from Skillshare so far are lettering, watercolor, doodling, photography, and more. This really is a one-stop shop for learning in any niche.
All my knowledge of all things creative I put into my signature creativity course Journal Glow Up.
In this course with 5+ hours of pre-recorded lessons, you’ll learn everything you need to discover and develop the creativity you already have inside you.
Be sure to check out this post to get some course recommendations that will help you improve your BuJo skills and create even prettier pages.
Another option is to use books, and here are a few of my favorites!
- Paige Tate & Co. (Producer)
- English (Publication Language)
- 120 Pages - 09/12/2017 (Publication Date) - Paige Tate & Co (Publisher)
- Dean, Peggy (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 224 Pages - 07/24/2018 (Publication Date) - Watson-Guptill (Publisher)
- June & Lucy (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 108 Pages - 08/12/2019 (Publication Date) - June & Lucy (Publisher)
- Quarry Books
- Miyata, Chika (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
And remember to always keep practicing! This is really the key to improving your creative skills and the look of your Bullet Journal pages.
We’re all human and even the most experienced Bullet Journalists make mistakes. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to let go of perfectionism and let yourself just explore the creative world of Bullet Journaling. Hanging on to each mistake will make it completely unbearable.
However, adjusting your attitude isn’t the only thing you can do about mistakes in your Bullet Journal. There are creative and fun ways you can fix these mistakes.
What I discovered from my experience is that often, a mistake will push me to think creatively and I’ll end up making the spread look better than I actually planned.
Here are a few ways you can fix your mistakes:
- White gel pen. This is perfect for fixing manor mistakes and white ink will likely fade into the color of your page and you won’t even notice anything is there. Check my November Plan With Me where – I shiver just remembering – SPILLED SOUP on my habit tracker or watch my 9 Ways To Set Up A Habit Tracker video where I had to use the white gel pen at least once. As you can guess it’s my favorite way to fix any errors.
- Washi tape. This works very well for fixing any mistakes with your headers. The trick here is to use darker washi tape, so it won’t be seen through. Of course, my personal favorite is the black washi, which you can see covering a horrible mess in the Future log of my 2019 Bullet Journal. For more ideas check my post 23 Washi Tape Bullet Journal Ideas.
- Printables. If your page is ruined beyond belief (or maybe it’s something you don’t really like and never really used) a great option would be to fix it by adding a printable on top. You can get some awesome printables in our Resources Vault – sign up at the end of the post. You can also take a look in my Printables shop, where there is tons of fun stuff for your Bullet Journal.
For more ideas check my post 11 Creative Ways To Fix Your Bullet Journal Mistakes.
Other Ways To Stick To Bullet Journaling
I think for now we covered the three major issues you face when trying to stick to your Bullet Journal and how to deal with them, so let’s dive into some simple steps you can make to ensure you stay loyal to your BuJo.
Not all of these might work, but make sure you give them a try first. Or maybe these will just give you some inspiration on finding your own way to stick to Bullet Journaling.
Make It Easier To Bullet Journal
A very basic thing you can do is to make sure your journal is always easily accessible and that you always have a pen next to it.
Believe me, you’ll be more likely to use your Bullet Journal if it’s right there and you don’t really need to search for it.
It sounds way too easy but it works!
Include Planning Into Your Day
Make sure using a Bullet Journal becomes a habit for you. Maybe create a special habit tracker just to be sure you stay on track with your BuJo.
I actually created one for you and you can download it in the Resources Vault.
Add this tracker to your Bullet Journal, or maybe print it out and stick it to your fridge or makeup table, so you always remember to use your BuJo.
Another great trick for including Bullet Journaling in your day is by adding it to an already existing routine.
For example, if you start the day with a cup of coffee, add to it 5 minutes of Bullet Journaling and it will help you make it a habit in no time (just… don’t spill coffee on it!).
Pay Attention To Your Feelings
You keep your Bullet Journal for a reason – to be productive, organized, or whatever it is. So pay attention to your feelings. Once you feel overwhelmed or disorganized – it’s a clear sign it’s time to take out your BuJo.
Try to remember that your Bullet Journal is a great help in resolving these feelings and let them be a reminder for you to get back to it.
Create A Reward System
The best way to establish a new habit (such as Bullet Journaling) is by rewarding your good behavior.
If you followed through and have been using your journal for a whole month – treat yourself!
It doesn’t have to be a new car of that Chanel bag you’ve been eyeing. Treat yourself to something small but still very nice – coffee date with your BFF, a bubble bath, or maybe a piece of chocolate cake.
Connect With The Community
I mentioned this already a few times, but it’s really such a great help that I decided to put it in a separate point as well.
Connect with the Bullet Journal community! It can be Instagram (maybe check out my account ;) or Bullet Journal Facebook groups (like our group Bullet Journaling to Happiness).
In these groups, you’ll find like-minded people who are having the same struggles you are. They will help you to overcome those together and to always stay motivated to continue your Bullet Journal adventures.
I am EXTREMELY thankful for all the beautiful people who helped me during my baby steps. And I want to pay it forward with anyone starting.
How long have you been Bullet Journaling? How do you make sure to keep up with BuJo habit?
Be sure to share it with us in the comments!
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And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling and Don’t Be A Blob!