Have you ever thought about giving up on your bullet journal? Was it too much trouble to set up every month? Or maybe the problem wasn't setting up the beautiful layouts, but actually USING them.

We've all been there. The bullet journal we so enthusiastically started, is now laying under a pile of s*it. Untouched, unused, just waiting for its time to shine and to be opened for the new wonders of life - which currently, seems to be never.

Whatever the case may be, in this post I've gathered some tips and reasons for you to get back on track and rediscover the motivation for bullet journaling!

When you started your bullet journal in the first place, do you remember WHY you started it?

Let's start from the most basic question, which may sound annoyingly simple, but it's CRUCIAL nevertheless. Exactly WHY did you start your journal in the first place? Maybe it was to improve your productivity? Maybe you just wanted to (this time) actually keep up with your calendar? Or maybe you started it to refresh your forgotten drawing skills? When I started bullet journaling, it was a weird mixture of "what's that? Hmm, looks pretty cool" and "wow all these themes on Pinterest!!" Did I stop and actually think about a deeper reason for starting it? Nope. But I did do it later, after momentarily hitting a wall with my journal.

Like it seems to be with almost anything in life, knowing your "why" is the thing that keeps you on track. Without it, it's very easy to loose the path and forget the mission, because suddenly staring down at your first empty dotted page and trying to steady your shaking hand while creating your first title is much harder than you imagined. And on top of that, it looks nothing like on the pretty picture you saved on Pinterest. Dammit.

My advice would be to actually open up the journal you've buried in the deepest corner of your drawer and set up a "Why I Journal?" page. It can be in the beginning, in the middle, or in the end of your current journal. It can be as simple or as decorative as you want. It doesn't matter. What matters, is that we can get your WHY from your head to the real world, to stare back at your every time you open your journal. This is such a powerful way to first of all, getting clear about your goal and second of all, having an actual reminder of it when you start to feel unmotivated again.

Now, take a moment to think about what is it that you actually wanna ACHIEVE with your bullet journal? The answer to that question might not be obvious to you at the moment, but I promise you that if you sit down and give yourself little bit time to think about it, the answer will eventually come to you. Bullet journal is such a fantastic tool to improve your whole life, start new hobbies (or business) and on top of all that, improve your creativity and artistic skills. Studies have shown that writing down your habits and tracking them in real world in a written form is one of the best methods to actually stick with new habits. If you're interested in hearing more about this, I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, or just visiting his website.

If you have many things you wanna achieve, go ahead and write all of them down. And try to be very specific and keep the things as realistic as possible. Just for a reference the reasons I wrote down were:

  1. To be more mindful of my time

  2. To improve my designing and art skills (and to force myself to consistently practice them)

  3. To keep my focus on the things that actually matter to me the most

Decide a clear time when you plan to use your journal

Now that we have the reasons out of the way, let's move on to the next thing, which will help you to form the actual habit of bullet journaling.

The most effective thing would be to select a very specific time and place when you'd journal every single day. It could be right after you eat breakfast or at night right before you go to bed. And if you can, try to combine the habit of bullet journaling with a habit you already do every day, like after brushing your teeth or while drinking your morning coffee. What I've noticed, is that almost creating a nice "ritual" for bullet journaling has worked for me super well. How does it sound to spend 10 minutes for yourself in the morning, make a delicious cup of tea or coffee, maybe light a candle or put on some relaxing music and spend a few minutes catching up with your journal? Or maybe it would work better for you to keep your bullet journal ready to go on your night stand and check off everything you did before going to sleep.

The point is that writing down the exact time and place and then sticking to it will eventually help you to form a real habit of always remembering to journal. Also one good tip is to keep your journal somewhere where you can actually see it, so you'll be less likely to forget it. So stop keeping your journal in the drawer or constantly in your bag (this is where my bullet journal often likes to make a camp.....) and find a place for it where you'll surely walk past it or where you do your normal daily habits.

Set up a 20-day bullet journaling challenge and select yourself a reward

The final thing I'd advice you to write on your "why I journal"- page is to set up a 20-day bullet journal challenge. So challenge yourself to use your bullet journal every day for the next 20 days and then write down a motivating reward if you can actually achieve that goal. It would probably be even better, if the reward would somehow be related to bullet journaling. So for example, decide you can buy three new brush pens or a fancy ruler or a new watercoloring set to decorate your journal. But you know yourself the best, so selecting a personal reward might work as well.

Forming a new habit is not easy, but I guarantee that if you can do something religiously for 20 days in a row, you're much more likely to remember to do it on the 21st day. This challenge would set a really good foundation for your new bullet journaling habit and if you could reward yourself with a fancy new journaling tool, it would peak your motivation even further! And if this ends up working for you, how about using this technique over and over again to keep yourself accountable?

So here you have it, those were some of the things that I wrote down for myself and that have worked for me when I was low on motivation. The reality is that sometimes other things in life come and ruin the perfect bullet journal dream and that's perfectly fine and happens to all of us. The important thing is to accept that it might happen and then just pick up the journal from where you left it, without being too hard on yourself and start again. A few empty pages or half-filled trackers are part of everyones bullet journal and it doesn't matter you're doing something wrong.

I hope you got at least some ideas for this post and if you have more tips to share, I'd love to hear those in the comments! So please tell us: what has helped you the most to conquer your bullet journaling struggles?

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© 2020 by Anna Landeen

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