2020 Bullet Journal Setup + January Spread

As I've reached my quarter-life crisis age, my responsibilities will most likely increase tenfold this year. Since I've just begun my professional career as a Registered Nurse in January, I wanted to find a way to make adulting a bit more tolerable by bridging creativity and practicality through active journaling. Bullet journaling, in particular, was a foreign concept to me until the end of 2019. The whole doing-everything-from-scratch idea piqued my interest as I've recently rekindled my pursuit of creative ventures. The whole process certainly contains a whole lot of trial-and-error, but I'm honestly impressed with how it turned out so far. Read more for an inside look into my very first take on bullet journaling!

My 2019 aesthetic was all about warm tones, vintage textures, and neutral designs. Naturally, the overall theme of my entire journal for 2020 is an earthy, vintage scrapbook look. Experienced bullet journalists typically advise to go for a plain, minimalist theme for beginners, but I decided to go all out and push my creativity to its full potential. Don't get me wrong, I pulled a good amount of inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram, but ultimately, I did my own take on every spread.

As every bullet journalist would suggest, you don't need fancy tools to begin a bullet journal — it doesn't have to be a bank-breaking activity. But of course, whenever I pour myself into a new hobby (i.e. interior design, DIYs), I tend to develop a little shopping problem and go on a craft frenzy. With that said, here's an art haul of everything I used for my spreads.

These are essentially all the materials I used. Everything is quite affordable but definitely not a necessity, but all the embellishments work for my vintage scrapbook theme.

Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Portrait Palette
Kraft Packaging Tape, 2 in. x 60 yards
Moonflower Clear Stamps By Craft Smart
Neutral Pigment Ink Pads By Craft Smart

After much research on what high-quality journal to invest in, I opted for Archer & Olive's A5 Signature Dot Grid Notebook in Morning Sun. The stellar quality of the ultra thick, no-bleed pages makes this purchase worth every penny, but I'm sure any dot grid journal will do for a first-timer.

On to my favorite materials — the pens. If you're going for a minimalist theme, a black fine-tipped pen is all you really need. Since I have this organic color palette going on, I got some warm neutrals to add to my ever-growing pen collection. The black Copic pen and brown Micron have been my main go-to pens for drawing, outlining, and writing!

Stamps are life-savers especially when it comes to calendar spreads. It would be incredibly tedious to measure and hand-write an entire calendar and trackers, so I highly recommend these very affordable sets of stamps. These ink pads from Michaels do transfer quite a bit though, but I loved the color palette since it's perfectly suitable for my theme.

Lastly, my vintage scrapbook theme wouldn't be complete without these stunning washi tape sets. These minor embellishments really add a creative spin to all of my spreads and I just love how easy they are to play with! 

2020 Setup

Moving on to the backbone of my entire bullet journal — the yearly setup. This segment is essentially an outline of how I want my year to look like.

I kept the first page relatively simple with some faux calligraphy of my name, a collage of various washi tapes, and some dainty stamp accents. My "year at a glance" calendar is basically an overview of important events throughout the year such as holidays, birthdays, or any major dates I need to take note of. I just decorated the spread with drop shadow boxes for every month and some washi tapes and vintage clock stamps. I added a "free space to grow" section to serve as a brain dump for any thoughts/ideas I have throughout the year.

This is probably my favorite spread of the yearly setup because it contains the heart of the journal. I usually don't set New Year's resolutions for myself, but I tried to keep my goals as attainable and practical as possible. For my 2020 goals, I organized them into several categories — personal, health, relational, work, activities, and financial. It ranges from "go to the gym at least 3 days a week" and "pay off all credit card debt by the end of the year," to writing daily affirmations and filling out a weekly gratitude log.

The self-care reminders are more like personal notes for myself whenever I need to debrief or de-stress. As with my goals, I broke them up into the categories of mind, body, soul, and community. I have notes that focus on achieving inner peace, while others are more about giving back to the community to learn more about others and myself.  

It's no secret that I've never been good with money, but this bill tracker is a baby step to becoming more financially responsible now that I have a full-time career. People always say that the first step to financial freedom is to know where your money goes (AKA budgeting). While this doesn't constitute all of my monthly expenses, this is what I spend a good chunk of my money on. The next page is just a fun little spread I wanted to include even though I don't travel very often. It could be any new local place I've visited just so I can have something to look back to.

This spread is somewhat like an entertainment section — particularly media recommendations from friends/family that I hope to check off throughout the year. Since I only work 3 days/week, I have quite some time for myself and I plan on using some of that time to discover new movies, shows, music, podcasts, and activities. 

I've always had a love for polaroids and it's only fitting to add some photos to a scrapbook-themed journal. I hope to fill these 4 pages with my top moments/memories with loved ones every month to add an even more personal and sentimental touch to this journal. 

January Set-Up
I know it's almost March, but I haven't had much time lately to really sit down, write, and publish this entry. If you follow me on Instagram, I do post stories of my monthly setups and sometimes even videos of the process! 

For my January cover spread, I decided to keep the vintage theme but I'll be choosing different themes for the subsequent months. At the time, I didn't really know where this cover page was going and it just ended up becoming a circular collage of washi tapes. I wanted to set off the first month of the year with this quote that I found on Instagram, which is kind of a reminder for me to do more things I enjoy now that I somewhat have my life together. 

Since I started this journal in the middle of the month, I only had 2 weeks worth of tasks on my schedule. For this setup, I have my monthly goals, events, notes, gratitude log, and affirmation. I also took a stab at the Dutch door design and I really enjoyed making it. I love how I can see all the sections every week, so I think I'll incorporate it into every monthly setup. 

Last but not least, I added a habit tracker and an end-of-the-month reflection page. My habits for this month include going to the gym, journaling, drinking at least 6 cups of water, reading, going on social media for more than an hour a day, getting at least 6 hours of sleep, and cleaning. My January reflection is, of course, the most significant section of the monthly spread because that's when I really reflect on my growth, experiences, and mistakes.

At the end of the day, bullet journaling is a mindfulness exercise as much as it is meant for creativity and organization. During only a month of pouring my creative soul into this journal, I've already learned to dedicate some time to create, reflect, empower myself, and be grateful. It truly is a therapeutic tool for me and I have high hopes that it will stabilize my mental health throughout the year. 
I know I kind of let this blog go because beauty and fashion aren't nearly as important to me as much as before anymore, but my creativity will stay and flourish for the future of this blog — just in different ways. Thanks for tuning in and continuing to support my growing phases!




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