The Time Has Come
Somehow, without me noticing, 2018 seems to have flown by. A whole year has passed, and my head is spinning. Where did it all go? I don’t know about you, but I rather enjoyed 2018 and all the gifts it has given me. But I am quite excited to ring in the new year and welcome the splendor that 2019 will bring. So, as is tradition for me, I sat down and created a brand new 2019 bullet journal setup to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what the future may bring. Let me show you what I came up with!
- Leuchtturm1917 Journal
- Sennelier Watercolors (Ultramarine Blue)
- Grumbacher Round 6 Paintbrush
- Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Brush Pen
- Tombow Mono Drawing Pens
- Darice Heat Tool
Of course, the first thing I have to do in my 2019 bullet journal setup is bid farewell to the year that is leaving us. It just feels wrong to jump right into planning for the new year without pausing for a moment to celebrate what has been done.
The first page I created was this simple cover page with a beautiful blue wreath. I decided to keep all my painting to a single color throughout my 2019 bullet journal setup. Ultramarine blue seemed to hit just the right spot, so I got to work painting this lovely wreath. Then I added the lettering. To be honest, my lettering on this page frustrated me. I wanted this page to be perfect. Unfortunately, I was way off center with my lettering, and there was nothing I could do to fix it once it was done. But isn’t that a realistic representation of the past? Some of it is beautiful, some of it is not how we envisioned it, but all of it is done. The only thing to do is turn the page and move on.
Reflecting on 2018
The next spread is one that I love doing every year. We often get so wrapped up in planning for the future that we forget to celebrate the victories and accomplishments of the past. It seems that as soon as we hit a goal, we immediately cast our sights on another goal without pausing to smile at the win we just experienced. So this page is a way for me to pat myself on the back and see how far I’ve come. There are times that it feels like I hardly did anything in 2018 worth celebrating, but in reality, the year was full of growth and victories.
If you’re creating your own 2019 bullet journal setup, I would highly recommend you take some time to do a spread just like this. Celebrate your year properly and assess your growth before you dive into new projects. I think this exercise is so important that I made a point to include it in my 2019 New Year Printable Planner so it is a focal point in preparing for the new year. Celebrate yourself, count off your accomplishments, then move forward to kick ass in 2019.
My 2018 Level 10 Life
The next spread I created is an old favorite — the Level 10 Life. This spread is one that I like to create at least once a year as a means of objectively assessing my growth. Since I have created several Level 10 Life charts over the years, it is easy to compare and see real development. If you have never heard of a Level 10 Life chart before, it might seem a bit complicated at first glance. But the concept is very simple. You separate your life out into ten categories. My ten are health, environment, giving, fun, marriage, career, finances, spirituality, development, and relationships. Then you sit down and think about how satisfied you are with each category and rate that satisfaction on a scale of one to ten. Ten, as you might have guessed, is the highest level of satisfaction and is the goal for each category.
See Your Growth
After doing the Level 10 Life chart for several years now, I can easily look back and see how my levels have changed over time. Sometimes a category will lose some points, sometimes they will remain unchanged, and sometimes the level of satisfaction will grow. For example, as I look back on 2018, I realize how much Jon and I have focused on having fun and taking time to relax. We put a lot of effort into finding a work/life balance, and it paid off. We took trips in 2018, played more games, allowed ourselves unstructured downtime, and generally enjoyed life.
The chart reflects that growth, showing a five-level increase since my last Level 10 Life chart in December of 2017. To properly showcase this booming growth, I add a dotted line on last year’s rating and write how many levels were gained. For the fun category, I was happy to write +5. I like doing this specifically because it can often feel like these abstract goals are stagnant and unmoving, but marking them like this shows just how much we have accomplished in the last year.
After taking a few pages to reflect happily on 2018, I was able to finally get into the exciting business of planning 2019. The first thing I want to do is set the tone for the new year with a mantra.
My 2019 Mantra
A mantra is simply a phrase or word that represents what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. For 2018, my mantra was “Slow and Steady” because I wanted to remind myself that growth comes steadily over time, not in quick bursts. I wanted to focus on putting in the effort, practicing skills to achieve mastery, and allowing myself to make mistakes as a part of the process.
For weeks I wrestled with my ideal 2019 mantra. The right phrase finally came to me after writing about it in my Morning Pages — I decided on “Branch Out”.
Thinking about my goals for the new year, I realized that I wanted to broaden my skills and experiences. I have spent years building a stable and sustainable business, deepening my skills in lettering and watercolor, and generally putting down strong roots. Now that this stable structure is here to support me, the time has come for me to try new things. I want to meet new people, develop new skills, travel to new places, and try new experiences to see where they may take me. I’m ready to get out of my comfort zone in a big way.
My 2019 Master Plan
The very last spread that I created for my 2019 bullet journal setup was my Master Plan. I have done several different iterations of a Master Plan for each of the last few New Year’s. Basically, I like to select twelve big goals that I want to accomplish in 2019 and give them a deadline. Then I wrote a few major steps that I need to take in order to achieve said big goal. My Master Plan acts as a roadmap so I don’t forget about my big goals as the year continues.
While I never seem to stick perfectly to my Master Plan throughout the year, it helps me set the tone for the kind of goals that I want to hit in the year. It helps me shape my days, weeks, and months toward my dreams. Besides all that, it simply helps me focus for the year ahead jump right in.
Wrapping Up My 2019 Bullet Journal Setup
That concludes my 2019 bullet journal setup! After I was done, I realized that I ended up creating more pages to celebrate 2018 than I did on planning for 2019. But you know what? I think that is grand. I am a serial under-celebrator and I hardly ever acknowledge my own accomplishments. Sitting down and listing out my wins for 2018 did a lot of good for my mentality and energy, which will only be an asset for making 2019 awesome.
If you want to start 2019 with the right headspace, then take some time to create a similar 2019 bullet journal setup! Reflect on your past year’s lessons and victories, and think about how you can work toward your big goals and dreams in 2019. A little bit of introspection can go a long way toward opening 2019 with a plan instead of just fumbling from one week to the next. The new year is yours to take — what will you do with it?