My Bullet Journal is set up for 2018, and in this post I walk you through my yearly spread and share some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. |

How I Set Up My Bullet Journal for 2018

My Bullet Journal is all set up for the new year, and I have to be honest with you. I really think I’m finding my groove with it.

When I first discovered the Bullet Journal method of planning, I immediately fell in love. But with most things, it has taken time to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for me.

Related: My Bullet Journal: The Discovery, The Method, The Game Changer

Through lots and lots of trial and error, I really think I’ve found a simple approach to planning that truly works for me.

My Bullet Journal is set up and in this post I walk you through my yearly spread and share some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. |

You see, I tend to over plan, but when I do that it stifles so much creativity. At the heart of my personality is a deep seated need to be free. Overplanning makes me procrastinate. Then everything just gets frustrating.

So, planning is good to a point. Then I need to just let loose and see how the days and weeks unfold as the Spirit leads, and as I see how actual life starts working itself out.

I’ve learned that there are things I simply don’t use my Bullet Journal for that other people may want to include in their journal.

Related: 7 Lessons I Learned from My First Bullet Journal

For example, I keep my master calendar on my phone. All of my appointments, birthday reminders, and deadlines are in my phone. This means I don’t have a “monthly spread” in my Bullet Journal. I just glance on my phone to see what’s coming up for the month.

Related: My Weekly Planning Routine

However, I do like to see the months laid out in one fell swoop, so this year I set up a Future Log in my Bullet Journal.

My Bullet Journal is set up for the year and in this post I walk you through my yearly spread and how to set up your bullet journal for a new year |

Today I’m going to show you how I set up my Bullet Journal for 2018.

I will warn you. It’s not fancy. It has loads of mistakes, and I fought the urge to “beautify” it in order to post about it.

This is really how it looks.

This is really how I plan to keep it.

Flaws and all.

My Journal

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

By the way, if you’ve never heard of a Bullet Journal, then head over here and read this post first.

This is my third bullet journal.

I’ve used a cheap journal from Wal-Mart (lined) and a Leuchtturm 1917 (dotted). I adored the Leuchtturm and bought another one to use for my prayer journal.

Related: How I Set Up My Prayer Journal

However, the Leuchtturm is a little more pricey than I generally like to pay for things like this. I do fill them up rather quickly.

I mean, the Leuchtturm is worth it. Don’t get me wrong, but I decided to see if I could find another journal that’s similar and cheaper.

Insert: The Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal

I came across the Minimalism journal when I was searching for a new journal for my son. He wanted one “like Mommy’s” for Christmas, and I just couldn’t fathom spending $20 on one for a 7 year old.

When I saw his, I knew this was going to be worth the shot.

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

There are three significant differences worth noting:

  1. There is no pre-set index section. The Leuchtturm comes with the index already made for you at the front of the journal. This is handy.
  2. The pages aren’t numbered. The Leuchtturm comes with the pages already numbered. This is convenient.
  3. It is smaller. But only by a little bit. It’s not quite as wide as the Leuchtturm. This was a little bit concerning to me, but has already proven to not matter in the slightest.

With all of that said, I’m eager to see how I feel about the Minimalism Art Journal as the year progresses.

So far I’ve not seen enough of a difference to warrant spending the extra money in the future. But we’ll see.

Which Pens Do I Use With My Bullet Journal?

I continue to use and love the Paper Mate Flair pens. My husband stocks me with these every single Christmas.

I also use the Precise v5 Rolling Ball pens and love them. I like how bold they are and my handwriting is just overall a lot more readable with this style.

My Bullet Journal Setup

Bullet Journal Key

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

The first page in my journal is my Bullet Journal Key.

I have found that I like boxes instead of the traditional bullet points.

I know, sort of goes against the whole BULLET journal thing, but oh well. 

Future Log

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

The next four pages consist of my Future Log.

Even though I keep my master calendar on my phone, I need to be able to see all the months of the year at a glace. I opted for this simple lay out and so far I am really loving it.

I don’t keep every single appointment on my Future Log. This isn’t my master calender. It’s my year-at-a-glance so to speak.

Related: Create a Simple To-Do List and Calendar System

My Future Log is home to the big things I don’t want to overlook or miss.

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

They are also the things that probably need some extra planning ahead of time like booking a campsite for Memorial Day, or first week of baseball is quickly approaching.

You can see that I haven’t really filled in anything yet for the second half of the year. I will probably do that toward the end of March. I don’t know what those months hold for us as a family just yet.

My Goals

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

The next two pages are probably the ugliest pages I’ve ever put into a Bullet Journal. ha!

Considering it’s the pages for my word for the year and my goals, you’d think I would have made it more inspiring.

But nope. Not even close.

I ended up not being able to fit all my goals on one page. Because I started backwards, I overflowed backwards instead of flipping a page and doing front and back.

That probably makes no sense, but it is what it is. 😛

I did like that I added little tracking bubbles that I can color in as I check in each month with how I’m doing on my goals. That’s already proven useful.

I do plan to flesh out my word for the year – press – just a little more in the big blank space. I just haven’t had a chance yet.

Blog Goals & Reading Log

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

Blog Goals are for my eyes only. Sorry. Those seem a little personal since it’s part of my family’s income.

You can see that I don’t have many though. I’m focusing on some pretty big rocks this year.

My Reading Log page is the same one I used last year. It worked really well so I’m just repeating it this year.

My goal is to read 104 books, so I’ll color in a square as I finish a book.

Related: 2020 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge

I plan to use different colors for each month. I like being able to see if there are trends for my reading. Do I tend to read more in a certain month each year? That’s what I hope to see (when I compare to last year).

Also, it’s worth noting that I clearly messed up this page. I almost re-did it, but thought better of it. It’s really just too much work to be a perfectionist.

Monthly Checklists

The next four pages are probably my favorite.

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo
My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

I copied out my intentional living monthly checklists (they’re free when you subscribe!), and added additional items to the list that coincided with my yearly goals.

For example, I want to back up our pictures each month and complete a yearly album, so I added this to my monthly checklists. Now I have a monthly evaluation point to see if I’m moving this goal forward or not.

I talk about how to break your yearly goals into monthly goals in my resource Made to Give Life Seasonal Goal Planner.

Bible Reading Plan

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

I cut and pasted my 5-Day Bible Reading Plan into the next three pages of my Bullet Journal. You can get the Bible reading plan from

Related: Bible Reading Plans – Yearly, Topical, and Bible Reading Plans for Kids

Reading Challenge

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

I’ve already mentioned my reading goals, but I wanted an easy way to keep up with the 2018 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge, so I dedicated a page of my journal to it.

Update: See the 2020 Reading Challenge here!

Financial Goals

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

The next section of my Bullet Journal is for our financial goals. I also set up a tracker for various parts of our budget.

The spread on the right is for our clothing money. We use the cash system, but I needed a way to track how much we’re spending on each of us.

Daily Spread

My 2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up. #bulletjournal #bulletjournalideas #bujo

Finally, you see an example of my daily spread. It’s nothing fancy, but so begins my new year of planning.

From this point on, I will follow my planning routine outlined in my eBook, Planning 101: How to Plan Your Time to Be More Intentional Everyday.

My Bullet Journal is set up, and in this post I walk you through my yearly spread and share some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. |

What about you? Do you keep a Bullet Journal? Have you set it up for 2018 yet?

Other posts you might be interested in:

If you want to be more intentional everyday, then you’re in the right spot. The Made to Give Life Seasonal Goal Planner … a perfect “get started” living intentionally resource.

Made to Give Life Seasonal Goal Planner- Gaining clarity for the year ahead. |

If you’re ready to stop the chaos, and start making intentional, deliberate choices to breathe life back into your home, your church, and your community this year, then the 2020 Made to Give Life Seasonal Goal Planner is the tool you need.

This isn’t just another planner. It’s a way of life.

A resource designed to help you be intentional every single day for the glory of God. Click here to learn more!

This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Well, this was really inspiring. so brave of you to show others your journal!!! I could never do that. But it was really huge benefit for me. Thanks a lot and enjoy your journaling time!!!

  2. I love the system I use it as a log and a journal I put my routines on one page and then can easily see my big rocks with a planner I felt like I was wasting space. I also like the flexibility of this system.

  3. Thank you for sharing!! I’ve always been curious to see the inside of one.
    I like the trackers for date nights, read alouds, etc- definitely want to incorporate that.
    Do you use this alongside the homemakers planner? Or have you forgone that? ?

    1. I don’t use it alongside the Homemaker’s Friend anymore. I used the daily planner for years, but after going back and forth between the two as I found my groove, I landed finally on the bujo. I still share about the planner though because the bullet journal isn’t for everyone. Some people have shared how they’ve made their Homemaker’s Friend into a sort of bullet journal which I think is interesting.

  4. When I switched to the bullet journal method, it was March, and I set it up for 52 weeks, which I actually really appreciate! I feel like in December, I want to be focused on Christmas, my family and being present in the season, not shopping for and setting up a new planner. I don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks at the beginning of January because everything is filled in already. I spend January deciding what color I want for the next 12 months, if I need any new pens and if I’m changing any of my layouts or systems to refine for the next year. It wasn’t intentional but I love it.

  5. I read years ago
    and really loved the last book you read — Guernsey Literary Club and Sweet Potato Pie Society. I’m sad that I’ve never seen another book by that author.

  6. Thank you for sharing your journal, it was an inspiration and a relief to me. I have been struggling with my journal/planner since the new year began. I finally realized I really only needed a day planner. I stared with the bullet journal two years ago adding and taking away different ideas until it became complicated and unusable and ending up coming full circle back to the bullet journal. Now, after reading your blog has made it clear for me, that with a few simple add things I can have one simple but intentional planner. Thank you again, so very much.