Hello Planning Mashers!
What’s a monthly review? What do you write there and why do you need this page in your Bullet Journal, to begin with? Well, today, I’m here to answer all these questions and share from experience how monthly reviews can improve your life and your Bullet Journal.
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There are so many things you can add to your Bullet Journal! It all depends on the person, and really, each one of us uses something different.
The important thing here is not to get overwhelmed and try to use ALL the pages. You don’t need them all, keep things simple and pick just things that align with you.
That’s why I don’t usually say “you have to have this page in your Bullet Journal”. However, I believe there are pages that benefit everyone, disregarding their goals or the ways they use their Bullet Journals. One of these pages is a monthly review.
Let me walk you through everything you need to know about a monthly review page and why you should consider adding one to your Bullet Journal.
What Is A Monthly Review?
A Monthly review spread is a page with an overview of your month. It’s a place for you to summarize the month and reflect on different aspects of your life.
This is a place for you to take all the information from your weeklies, trackers, monthly logs and such and condense it all to just one page.
Moreover, this can also be a place for you to plan your next month, since looking at your monthly review you’ll know what you have to do in your life and what changes you might need in your Bullet Journal setup.
Unlike other monthly pages, the monthly review is usually the last page of any monthly setup. Unless, of course, you don’t do things that linear and add it in the beginning, as I did in my November.
Why Do You Need a Monthly Review
Think about it – how often do you go back and think about your trackers and journal entries? You put so much effort into creating and filling our these pages, that if you never go back to them, what’s the point?
This is where your monthly review comes to play. As the month goes a lot of information gets forgotten, but if every month you take a minute to look back and reflect on it, this will help you to constantly improve yourself and prevent you from repeating the same mistakes twice.
A monthly review will help you to learn more about yourself, to see your patterns and weak points, to plan better and to constantly improve yourself and your life
How is it possible – you’ll see as we move through what you could include in your monthly review.
What To Include In Your Monthly Review
Like everything in your Bullet Journal, a monthly review differs from person to person. One thing that is useful to have in mind though is to divide your recap by sections. This way it will be easier to structure the information and later reflect on it.
Personally, I’ve been playing around with different versions of monthly review and eventually came up with these categories:
- What I did for my goals
- What made me happy
- Monthly gratitude
- Lessons I learned
- Monthly Events
Lately, I’ve also been adding my Masha Plans related statistics and plans to my monthly reviews. This is currently my biggest goal and it’s very important to me to see it going in the right direction.
Over my experiments, I figured it’s actually pretty useful to keep the same format over some time because when you reflect back it’s so much easier to follow.
I’m not here to tell you what to include, but I’m definitely here to give you some ideas.
Of course, the first thing I had to mention are goals. Look back at your goals spread at the beginning of the month and see which ones you managed to close and which ones you didn’t.
Then look at your previous monthly goals and see if some goals have been dragging for a long time.
If you closed your goal – fantastic! you go girl! Or Dude! We don’t discriminate in this Blog! If not, ask yourself these questions:
- What stopped me from reaching the goal?
- How can I divide the goal into smaller pieces?
- Is it at all something I still want?
Think about it when you set your next month’s goals. If something doesn’t work, it might be time for adjustments.
Meanwhile, here are some goal-related categories you could add to your monthly review:
- Win of the month
- Things you want to change
- Career progress
- Personal development
- Lessons learned
Make sure you review your goals in a positive key and reward yourself for your wins. Instead of writing how bad you were in something, form it in a positive way as a list of things to improve.
All The Good Things
Your monthly review can be also a place for you to write down your best memories and experiences. Here are a few categories you can add:
- Best this month
- Favorite song
- Favorite movie
- Favorite outfit
- Wishing for
- New things I tried
This is a place for everything and anything. Personally, I think it’s a nice place to do some journaling or to write down some other reflections.
It could also be an action plan for next month or maybe just a space for doodles and a cute motivational quote.
Next Month Bullet Journal Setup
One more thing you could add to your monthly review is an action plan for the next month’s Bullet Journal setup. It can be pretty easy – just write down the theme and what pages you want to add. You can start, of course, by reflecting on your previous month.
First, take a look at your habit trackers. Habit trackers are a useful tool and we spend so much time filling them out. But this actually is just half of the work you should do with these.
The second step when working with habit trackers is reviewing how you did it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Which habits I haven’t followed through
- Which habits I’ve been dragging from month to month
- Which things already became a habit and I don’t need to track
- How can I change the habits I don’t follow through with to start doing them
This will allow you to see your patterns and realize how far you went with your development. It’s so satisfying to realize that some things are already a habit and don’t need to be tracked.
It will also help you think of adjustments you might need to make in your habits. Like if you can’t go to the gym every day, but that’s what you’re tracking, you might end up just not going at all. So decide to go once a week and see your tracker filling out!
Once you’ve reflected on this, you’ll know how you should change your tracking in the next month to make it work better for you.
Then it’s time to think of your goals, and what new spreads you might need to create to work on them better next month. Maybe you need an extra collection or more space for your weekly layouts. Or maybe it’s better for you to switch to dailies.
Look through your previous monthly spreads and reflect on what improvements and changes you might need to make next month to make your Bullet Journal work better for you.
Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Which weekly / daily layouts were most functional?
- Should you use a daily task list or have an hourly schedule?
- What pages you didn’t use at all?
- What pages felt like a chore to fill out?
- What pages helped you to be more productive?
Use all this information to plan your next month better!
What are the Benefits of a Monthly Review?
I hope by now you agree with me that a monthly review can be an incredibly useful tool, but let’s go over some of the benefits again.
It helps us to learn from our actions. On day to day basis, we’re too busy and we do a lot of things automatically, without even thinking.
By taking the time to review the month, you put intention into it and start seeing the patterns and mistakes you made. This can help you to make changes next month and avoid the same mistakes.
Also, reflecting on the month and filling out your monthly review with positive memories and achievements helps you to be more grateful.
I don’t know about you, but I know I take a lot of things for granted. Like good air, clean water – all of these for me were just an obvious must-have. Plus all the other fantastic things and people around me. As life goes on it all becomes an “of course” kind of thing.
My life experience has taught me not to take anything for granted, and I do my best to always be grateful. That’s why you can always find some kind of gratitude log in my monthly setups.
Doing a monthly review has a similar effect – you end up remembering so many good things that you just can’t but feel grateful.
A monthly review also helps you to develop positive thinking. This is really something I used to struggle a lot since I’m more of a glass half empty person, but monthly review really helps!
You’ll start to see all your victories and achievements. Even if these are small ones and at that point, they didn’t seem like a big deal, in the monthly log they look glorious and shiny.
Secondly, by intentionally being positive about your monthly review, you develop a muscle to be generally more positive. As time goes by, the glass starts to look fuller and fuller to me.
Finally, your monthly review will help you to plan better, especially if you’re a beginner and just trying to figure out the Bullet Journal method and how it can serve you better.
By doing a review of your monthly setup, your goals and your habit trackers you learn how you can improve your journaling and create a better planner for yourself.
Monthly Review Bullet Journal Printable
Ready to add a monthly review spread to your Bullet Journal but don’t have time? Don’t you worry! I have you covered.
We have quite a few monthly review printables in our free Resources Vault, you can download them in other printables section.
If you’re not a part of Planning Mashers yet, be sure to join us in the signup form at the end of the post and get access to a wonderful community and TONS of FREE printables for your Bullet Journal.
Print them out is a usual A4 format or make them fit your Bullet Journal pages, it’s up to you! As long as you get all the benefits of reflecting on your month and planning the next one better.
How to make printables fit your journal
These printables come in A4 size, so make sure to resize them when printing. Also, don’t forget to check Fit in the Page size section. In case your printable is a full-page, here is how you should resize it:
- Change your paper size to A5, either in your Printer Properties or Page Setup
- Select Fit to Page
Now that your page is printed, here is how you add it to your Bullet Journal:
- Cut it out – you can use an Exacto knife, scissors or a straight edge cutter (which is actually my choice)
- If you used self-adhesive sticker paper – just add it straight to your Bullet Journal.
- If you use usual printing paper – use a glue stick or adhesive tape (my personal choice) to add the page
- Use a ruler to rub it across the page, to make sure there are no bubbles and the fit is secure.
You’re done! Enjoy your monthly review page!
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And always remember! Keep Bullet Journaling and don’t be a Blob!