New Year, New Journal

I’ve been a little absent lately, but that is because I was adapting to life as a new mom!  We welcomed our little Gem to the world in October!


It has been a whirlwind of doctors appointments and family in and out of town and holidays, but now that things are finally starting to settle into a little bit of a routine I’ll be back to posting as regularly as I can.

To kick off the year I wanted to share my bullet journal set up for 2017!

If you are new to the fold of bullet journaling, here is a quick intro by the original source, Ryder Carroll.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  This means that I may receive small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase items through the links provided below. (Read more here.)

2017 Set-Up


I decided to start the new year with a new journal even though I was only about halfway through my last one.  Having started in September and not really using it much in November and December because of the new baby, I feel like 3-4 months is about how long it will take me to go through each notebook.  I’ve relegated the second half of my Emerald Leuchtturm 1917 to a random scratch pad and a practice lettering journal.  My new Turquoise one (not currently available on Amazon) will be pulling the weight for the new year!


I wanted a quote and a word for the year and I found two in one!  Last year was a really rough year for me, a difficult fertility journey followed by a difficult pregnancy means that I basically sat around the house watching Netflix for days on end.  This year will be different.

I want to move this year.  Move means exercise, it means progress in my career, it means move forward in my relationships and with my goals.  I just want this year to be filled with movement towards something instead of stagnation where I’ve been for too long.

2017_3I really liked my goals spread from September, but I wanted more clearly defined goals.  I even left more space within each category to add goals as they come up, plus a blank category just in case.

I have a lot of priorities for this year, which usually doesn’t end with many things being accomplished but I want my daughter to be around productive people, not slackers, so its important to me that I work on myself and all of my goals for the year.

Last year I tried the Calendex approach for future planning, but for me it just didn’t work out, where as the Alastair method worked out great.  The only problem was that I needed more space.  For my future log, I decided to do a modified version of it where I gave myself a full spread (2 pages) for 3 months.  Instead of using bubbles or dots for marking the event on the left, I used the actual date that the event occurs on.  This allows me to put in birthdays, holidays, appointments, and any other scheduled event that I may have on my horizon without having to worry about running out of space (hopefully!).  I also started each spread with the 3 month overview calendar so I can see which dates fall on which days of the week.

2017_4I had fun drawing out a bookcase to be filled in as I read books. I probably won’t get to fill in all of them, but at least it gives me something to doodle on.

I think most bullet journalists don’t include space for plans super far in advance, but there are a number of things we want to consider, and we plan vacations pretty far in advance because there are so many moving parts.  So for me using the basic Alastair for 2018 plans was a no brainer.

2017_9I really liked the idea of monthly habit trackers, but in practice it just didn’t work for me because I didn’t like having to draw it out over and over again.  So instead I’m going to try yearly trackers and see if that is any better.  Since the journal won’t last me the whole year, I may have to reassess and only draw out 3 or 4 month trackers instead of yearly, but I wanted to give it a shot.

With post partum depression a real possibility for me I thought it would be pretty important to track my moods, so I’ve got 7 different moods that I’ll try to fit myself into on a daily basis.  Then if I notice too many in the blue or red spectrum I can reach out and get the help I need.  I also thought it would be important to track how much sleep (not enough with a 2 month old) and how much exercise I’m getting, because those may also play a key part in my mood swings.

2017_10I set up goal trackers for a few things that I want to do every week, or twice a month, or even once a month.  I left plenty of space to add in more, like game nights, go to the park, playdates, etc.

I’m also going to make a deliberate effort to get and keep my house clean by forcing myself to clean for at least 15 minutes every day.  My art skills took a pretty steep dive after not doing any serious sketching for almost a year, so I’m putting focus back on my career with a section for drawing time, with a little inspirational quote to keep me on track.

January Set-Up

jan2017_1My monthly/daily set-up is much less intense, and I don’t currently plan on adding in weekly spreads simply because I don’t see myself using them too much.  I like my dailies and everything else is just a collection.  My month looks about the same as usual with an area for starting/ending weight, a task list that will expand as things come up without set dates, and three columns for appointments and events (color-coded for the three members of the family).  The only thing new is a section for blog tasks, which I have now realized that I’ll need a bit more space for next month.  Since I’m working on being more regular with my blogging (current goal 4 posts a month, that ought to keep me accountable!), I wanted a place to put my planned posts for the month.

jan2017_2While I had to use a whole page for each day during October for tracking gestational diabetes (more on that layout at a later date), I’m back to a half page for each day, which seems to provide me enough space for appointments and tasks and my daily trackers for medications and water intake.  As a breastfeeding mom who provides just barely enough milk for my baby, I’ve got to pay very close attention to how much I’m drinking and the supplements that help keep up the supply.  I also put back in my basic meal tracker so that I can hold myself accountable without having to write down all the calorie and carb counts.  I find that just making myself write it down will usually keep me from making terrible decisions.

jan2017_3To start off my collections for the year, I decided to do a brain cloud (or what others might call a brain dump).  While this spread isn’t anything new to bullet journaling, I like the term brain cloud because it reminds me of the classic Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie “Joe Vs. the Volcano“, if you haven’t seen it…do.  I insist.  Plus I thought the graphic that I came up with was fun.

So that is my bullet journal for 2017.  I would love to see yours!


19 thoughts on “New Year, New Journal

    • Kalen says:

      I totally understand! It took me so much longer then anticipated! Like three or four days of a few minutes here and there. I wanted to do a nice and pretty year set up, but I’m sure that sometimes my month and days will be pretty minimalist!


    • Kalen says:

      I’m so glad that you feel inspired to start! I really feel so much more organized with everything in my journal instead of a dozen random lists both on paper and digital, plus various calendar apps on my phone that I never end up using.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Molly Ho says:

    Wow, you did a really amazing job with setting up your journal! I’m impressed by your patience and amount of detail, because it looks amazing! Hoping you have a great 2017!


  2. Kat says:

    Wow, every page looks so lovely, your patience is impressive. I bought my Year- Planner for 2017 to be more organised, but let’s be honest- it’s not as nice as yours:)


  3. Linda says:

    Your journal is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing it with us. I already follow you on Instagram and now I will be following your blog as well for ideas and inspiration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s