Setting Up A Bullet Journal For The New Year


For the multiple personal and international tragedies of 2016, I’m very excited for the new year. Renewal is a fitting prompt for today.

2016 was also the year that I picked up bullet journalling, which has been one of the best decisions of my life. I’m excited to show you guys what I learned from my 2016 journal as I transition into a brand new Rhodia webnotebook for 2017. I also have some tips for students who bullet journal that I’d like to share.

2016 journal on the left, 2017 journal on the right


Rhodia Webnotebook, Pilot Metropolitan, Pilot v5 Rollerballs, and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners

Mini notebook review on the Rhodia Webnotebook: Coming from a $4 journal from TJ Maxx, the Rhodia is a real step up quality and functionality-wise. The cover feels nice, the paper quality is legendarily smooth (perfect for fountain pens), there’s an elastic closure, and the 1/4″ dot-grid is more practical for a bullet journal. Even though the notebooks were physically the same size, the tighter spacing in the Rhodia allows me to create a monthly log in a list format, and yearly calendar spreads (both outlined below), which were hard to do in my previous notebook.

Let’s dive in to the different sections: Key, Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log, and Collections!


2017 Journal: Key

The main thing I learned is to keep it simple.  I see beautiful color-coded keys with different types of shading on Pinterest all the time, but for me personally, it’s difficult to remember a complex system and kind of impractical to carry around a full arsenal of colored pens to school everyday. I just simply transferred the symbols I use on a regular basis into my new key.







The index is pretty self-explanatory. I have four pages dedicated to the index, which was enough space for me in my last bullet journal.

TIP: stack all your collections and big trackers in the front of the journal so you can find them easily.



I’ve realized that I use this part of my journal the least. I only find the future log helpful to remind myself of dates such as birthdays and holidays, so I decided to change up the format into a yearly calendar instead. Save space, increase functionality. 🙂 I’ve written what all the color coding means on the following page with detailed dates and descriptions.




I tried the original bullet journal list system for monthlies in the beginning:


Like I said, my old journal didn’t have enough lines to use this method and still have enough space to write my activities, so I adopted a monthly calendar instead. This method has worked for me but I wanted to try out the list format in my Rhodia for the month of January. Final verdict to come.

2016 Journal: November Monthly
2017 Journal: January Monthly

I have a simple habit tracker on the right side that I’m going to use to see just how much TV I watch in a month, and as a reminder to sleep 9 hours, go to classes, and other things.

(I messed up the monthly pretty badly hehe- the days of the week are shifted over from the dates by 1 day. We all mess up, it’s human. I’ve embraced this spread with a little arrow at the bottom of the days of the week to remind myself that everything is off by one day)


I like the way I structured my daily logs last year. I used a highlighted divide to separate my day to day. I never had the space (again the spacing is wider on the old journal) to form weekly spreads, which might be something I try with the new bullet journal. I like the flexibility of having longer and shorter dailies though. This required no set up on Sunday nights- saved time! (I’ve blurred out names and sensitive info)

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October 7-10 Daily Log


I think this collection is especially helpful for students who have projects due in a few weeks. DSC02680.jpg

The top half of the page lists the assignments I had to complete for summer homework for each of my classes, along with a rate of doing the homework that would be sufficient to meet a self-imposed deadline (always a few days before the actual deadline to give myself some leeway, and best case scenario, time to chill).

I found that breaking big assignments up into manageable chunks with daily deadlines was extremely helpful to keep myself on track and prevent procrastinating.

I did a master plan before every wave of college deadlines this year to plan out specifically when I would write supplement essays, fill out biographical info, email teachers, and fill out financial aid information.


My favorite sections! Collections are basically anything that are not future, monthly, or daily logs. Here are the ones that I’m planning on incorporating into my new bullet journal.


2016 Journal: Movies Watched Collection
2017 Journal: Movies Watched Collection
2017 Journal: Books To Read Collection


If I could choose a word of the year, it’d be FIT. I actually want to track what’s going on with my body throughout 2017. In the past I’ve gained and lost weight really fast unintentionally, gotten so stressed that my period disappeared, and other things that made me really concerned after spending an hour on WebMD. I also want to work out more in 2017. I do dance and run normally, but I’m dedicated to carving out 6 days a week this year to exercise.

Yo men, don’t get awkward, the first one’s a period tracker:

2017 Journal: Period Tracker
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2017 Journal: Weight Tracker
2017 Journal: Motivation Spread

Not going to lie, i’m proud of this one :D.

2017 Journal: Running Forest

I totally did not come up with this idea (thank you, Pinterest) but essentially I draw a tree for every 1 hr that I workout, and as motivation for working out, i’ll set aside $1 for every hour I exercise for a stationary fund. That means that i’ll be able to buy a fountain pen or some ink samples every two months of working out consistently. I’m all about setting up rewards this year to meet my new years resolutions.


Rhodia paper holds up very well. Because it is so smooth and not as absorbent, it takes a couple more seconds for ink to dry than it does on normal copy paper. That’s something to keep in mind for all higher-quality paper journals. However, I haven’t had any problems with ink bleeding through, which is a big plus! There is some ghosting (showing through on the other side) but as long as you don’t hold it up to the light, it’s not very noticeable. The paper in the Rhodia is also ivory, and not white. For those of you who like their colors to pop, white paper might be better for you.

I hope I provided some inspiration,

Lisa ❤





















First of all, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Oh, I might as well tell you- I probably already put too much of myself on this blog: I got accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology! Anyone remember this post? I could not be more grateful and excited to move out and start a new chapter of… well… MY LIFE! Meanwhile, I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family before moving away next fall. That’s why I really appreciate this particular holiday season.

Today’s daily prompt is Pillage. For those of you who don’t know, the main difference between robbing and pillaging is that pillaging is done violently.

Don’t worry! I didn’t hurt anyone. My neighbor’s Christmas tree, however, is another matter. hahah…

I apologize that my promised daily posts became more of a monthly thing in the midst of college application season. However, now that I’m on holiday break, I can devote time to greeting this blog everyday. Have you missed me? I’ve missed you!

Back to the part where I robbed violently.

My neighbors are lovely people- other than that one rumor from years ago that the man is ex-mafia- but lovely people! Anyways, they get a real christmas tree every year and without fail by New Years, you’ll be able to find that tree lying by the curb (because they are decent folks that realize Christmas is over after December 26th).

Last year, as I was coming back home from a run, I noticed that the tree in their driveway was particularly lumpy. As I got closer, I realized that it was wrapped in twinkly lights! Pretty sure that the garbage collector was coming in a few hours, I started the task of taking the tree lights off. “I just want to see if they still work,” I told myself.

My Pinterest board at the moment was full of aesthetic holiday pins featuring twinkly lights and bokeh photography.

I quickly find out why the lights were thrown away.

That ish was so tangled on the tree that I was ripping limbs off left and right and showering needles over myself with every yank.

All the while I was aware of the really big dog staring at me from the window and the fact that this man was possibly ex-mafia and I probably looked really sketchy in their front yard.

When I finally got the lights off, I quickly nodded an apology toward the beat tree and then I ran away with the bundle of twinkly lights in my arms.

I half expected the lights to explode when I first plugged them in, but luckily they didn’t, so I strung them up in my bedroom and became one of those aforementioned scrubs who keeps Christmas decor on display from December till July.

Here they are this year (the green and yellow ones):


I often wonder if my neighbors ever walked outside that afternoon to find a really misshapen tree flung on the curb.

Happy Holidays!