Mid year goal planning in my bullet journal

I’ve had an interesting start to the year.

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I started a new(ish) career at the end of 2018, and had the most successful couple of months ever in the Etsy shop. I therefore wanted big things from 2019.

Fast forward six months later and it’s not panned out how I’d hoped. There’s been some personal factors underlying a lot of it, but ultimately I didn’t start out in 2019 with a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve.


Because my goal planning was pretty much non-existent. Instead I just had loads of ideas bubbling around in my head but never really took the time to commit to anything.

This isn’t to say that 2019 so far hasn’t been good, but I’m not where I hoped I’d be come July 1st.

I therefore decided to do the next six months properly and do some goal planning.

For this task, I knew I needed my trusty bullet journal. I’ve been itching to get back to bullet journalling for a while and so have recently picked up three new bullet journals from Leuchtturm, Muji and Nuuna. 

I picked out the Leuchtturm* as the sentiment on the front was kind of perfect for goal planning.

Please note that while I try and show as much of this process as possible, some things will be blurred out due to sensitive info contained inside the pages.

For my mid year goal planning I decided to try something new.

I’ve tried other goal planning techniques before and never really got on well with them. New Years Resolutions aren’t that great for me either. Given my issue with lots of different ideas and no real commitment, I knew I needed another way.

1. I set about doing a ‘brain dump’ of everything on my mind.

This was really important. I needed to get down on paper every thought, idea, project and hobby I wanted to undertake.

I split this up into three elements.

  1. Goals
  2. Ideas
  3. How

The reason for doing the brain dump in this format was so each part would follow on from the previous one and that way things would get naturally whittled down.

For example:

Goal – to quit my job and go full time my Etsy shop.
Ideas – long list of product/revenue ideas.
How – the tools, research or development I would need to complete each idea.

Hopefully naturally through this exercise a couple of things would happen:

  1. Unachievable goals would be highlighted (because I didn’t have enough ideas or how to do it to make it happen).
  2. Bad ideas would be weeded out (no clue how to do it, or once the how is written down I realise that it’s not worth the time or energy).

As this was a brain dump I didn’t necessarily fill out each part in order. If anything I filled most of the ideas first. Some ideas aren’t even ideas, they’re just thoughts, like ‘Illustrator’ meaning maybe I should buy and learn how to use Illustrator.

Also, some goals didn’t necessarily need any ideas attached, they just needed the how. For example, losing weight by working out and eating well (makes it sound so simple!)

A couple of the ideas I went away to research to see if they were feasible and then moved onto the next step.

2. I took that brain dump and made into more of an actual plan.

I picked out the goals, ideas and how’s that I wanted to focus on for the rest of 2019. Instead of writing each goal out again, I bundled them up into five clear goal areas:

  1. Shop
  2. Blog
  3. Health
  4. Career
  5. Hobbies

From here, I firmed up some of the goals with more quantitative targets. I used a little key to differentiate between the elements. Anything with an arrow was the main target, anything with a dot was an idea, and anything with a line was the how.

I was left with a clearly defined list of goals and ideas of how I was going to achieve them. With all the goals listed out, it was more about working out how exactly I was going to achieve them.

3. My ideal day.

This is an important step. There’s no point having a huge list of plans if you don’t actually have the time to execute them. I therefore planned out my ideal day (both work day and weekend) and plotted out the time I would have to realise some of these goals.

There is no expectation that every day is my ‘ideal day’ because this doesn’t account for seeing friends or family, or other life things. But if you’re writing out your ideal day and really struggling to fit everything in you’d want to do then you know you have a problem.

In terms of how I created my ideal day I made two lists.

  1. Things I would want to do on a work day.
  2. Things I would want to do a non work day.

That’s because big things like doing major restocks, designing or taking blog pics are generally weekend activities when I have more time.

Once I had my list I then tried to plot out each day, giving what I thought was enough time for each task.

Happily, it planned out nicely and I figured this would give me enough time to get everything done each week.

4. Monthly review

This is a really important step for me and one I’m not usually good at. Breaking down goals by month and reviewing them. This spread is for a mixture of measuring against my bigger goals (such as shop revenue) against completion of ideas (introducing a new product from my ‘ideas’ list, for example). Each month I want to set at least one, if not two milestones or goals for each of my five categories.

By leaving out a place to write the month (instead it’s written in number form in the bottom right of each block) I was able to fit six months on this page.

5. Weekly check in

This is something I haven’t done before but it’s basically a weekly habit tracker, with space to write a few notes about what happened that week. This idea is to simply mark off each of the things that I’ve achieved from the list, and then write a couple of bullet points vertically about what else has happened that week.

I’m terrible at remembering the good stuff and achievements, so I’m hoping this spread will be really helpful. There’s space for 21 weeks here so on the basis that I’ll miss out a few weeks due to holidays or moving there should be enough space for me to see out the year on this page.

6. Habit tracker

You can’t have a bullet journal without a habit tracker! I don’t normally get on well with these but I thought it would be the easiest way to keep on top of the things I regularly need to do to meet my goals.

There’s two functions to this page:

  1. To track the things that I need to daily.
  2. To track how often I’ve done some of my weekly and monthly tasks.

This should hopefully make my weekly and monthly check ins a lot simpler.

For the previous pages I had been using a flowery washi tape to mark the edges. I was keen to try it to see if it makes finding important pages easier. For the habit trackers, I switched to a different kind of washi to allow me to tell the difference. I also washi’d enough pages to create a habit tracker for every month for the rest of the year. I’d hate for them to get lost amongst other pages and so prefer to keep them altogether.

As you can see, I kept these pages pretty simple.

I’m not a ‘pretty’ bullet journaler. I don’t have a huge amount of artistic flair (although hoping to change that this year) so my bullet journal pages tend to be quite functional. To create this goal planning pages I used the following:

  1. Washi tape
  2. Kaweko Perkeo Fountain pen* with the Diamine Ink ‘Peacock Flare’
  3. Stabilo Swing Cool highlighters*
  4. Zebra Sarasa Clip pens*, this was the black from the ‘Vintage Colours’ pack
  5. Flag stickers from Sugarloop*
  6. Stabilo 0.4 fineliners*
  7. Sakura Micron Pen in 005*

Here’s hoping that the rest of 2019 are more productive than the first six months.

I feel the most focused I have done in quite a while and with a nice and simple goal planning set up, hopefully I can hit some of those goals.