Bullet Journal Beginner

I’ve been bullet journaling for a while now, but it’s taken some time to figure out exactly what I want & need to track. It’s also taken some trial and error with different kinds of trackers and designs. I’m finally ready to share some of my favorite trackers and pages! I still feel like a newbie even after a year of journaling but I am 100% more consistent now with tracking.

Why bullet journal? I’ve always been a big believer in the therapeutic power of journaling in general. With a bullet journal, I’ve been able to stay more organized and I hold myself accountable more often than not. It’s also interesting to analyze things like my sleep schedule or spending habits, so that I can better understand and adjust my habits to meet a healthier and more successful lifestyle. If you’re looking to get started or maybe just searching for some fresh page ideas, keep reading.

Getting Started from Scratch

First, you need the basic supplies. I use Amazon.com for just about everything in life, so it’s no surprise I got 90% of my supplies from them.

My journal is from Target. I was in a rush to get a new journal started and didn’t want to wait 2 days for shipping from Amazon; however, my next journal I ordered from Amazon and it’s actually pre-set with squares since I’ve discovered I love using trackers that have squares more than anything else. This journal featured though, is a true bullet style journal. I love my fine tip markers from a Chinese vendor, Sipa. It came with 2 of each color for about $10. I’ve had my Yoobi brand, mini highlighters since I went to an army school back in 2017 and I’m still using them today. I did get some pastel highlighters to try but the colors were too light or too close in hue to each other so I switched back to the minis. They also fit nicely into my pouch (recycled from an iPsy makeup shipment) along with my pens.

Top 3 Monthly Trackers I LOVE

1. Sleep Log

I’ve used a few styles but this one is the most simple and effective for me. The dots signify when I go to sleep or wake and the line between is the time I’m sleeping. The colors of the data signify a different type of sleep. I’ve also used the colors to signify my next day energy, but for me, many other things affect my energy daily so I was more interested and the patterns of my actual sleep habits.

2. General Habits Tracker

I’ve used several different habit trackers as well but this one, again, is most useful for me. I use each little square/box to fill in for each day and each habit. These are all things I wanted to track in my daily life and I also use this to remind myself of things like getting my daily dairy or vegetables. At the end of the month and during the month even, I can get a somewhat quick idea of what I did well and what I need to work on moving forward to the next month.

3. Financial Tracker

A favorite of mine! I love not worrying paycheck to paycheck! This tracker gives me boundaries, motivation, reminders, and realistic planning. I can also use it at the end of the month to analyze spending habits and to identify weaknesses.

4. Gratitude Log

I love the idea of filling in all the boxes with things I’m grateful for throughout the month. I like to do more than the number of days in the month to challenge myself a bit more. Sometimes in life we forget how blessed we truly are or we don’t always appreciate the little things. Whether it’s a warm, sunny day I’m grateful for or a larger event like becoming pregnant, I can continue to look back and remind myself of all the great things in my life.

Pregnancy Trackers

Speaking of pregnancy, I have tons of trackers in my journal related to that too! There are several reasons I decided to track multiple things revolving around my pregnancy. First, it is a historical log of my pregnancy that I can look back on and I can share with my daughter in the future as well. Second, some pages remind me to remain healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Third, things like symptom trackers and kick counts can clue me into any potential problems, especially later on in pregnancy. Fourth, it makes speaking to my doctor or asking questions easier and gives me the confidence and organization to do so effectively.

1. Symptoms Tracker

I tracked the 1st Trimester as well but on an earlier page that’s separate. The last two trimesters I wanted to be sure to keep a close eye on the group of symptoms that can clue you into preeclampsia. I also wrote in a symptom on a few days that popped up randomly during my 2nd Trimester that was unexpected.

2. Pregnancy Nutrition by Trimester

This was a fun page to set up. I’m usually really good with my nutrition and fitness (big passions of mine), but sometimes pregnancy gets the best of me. Between the nausea, the cravings, and the exhaustion, it’s easier to lose track of eating properly. Not to mention, pregnancy nutrition is a bit different and absolutely more important. I specifically noted different portions to get certain nutrients and food groups too. Sometimes I forget, so this is super helpful.

3. Before Baby Girl Comes Home

I’ve been attending “Becoming A Mom” classes designed by March of Dimes. The last class touched base on things you might need before baby comes home so I decided to make myself a page for that as well. I’ll check off things as I get them and hopefully have all of them marked off before baby girl makes her debut.

4. Kick Counters

One thing the March of Dimes group is passionate about is kick counts. Moms are the first connection to baby. Tracking baby’s activity after 32 weeks can help you recognize any changes or potential problems. They say to count at least 10 kicks in 2 hours. Anything less than that or anything less than baby’s normal pattern means a call to your doctor as it could be a cause for concern. They also say to try and use around the same time each day. The idea behind the movement is to prevent stillborn babies and other negative outcomes during the late stages of pregnancy. I decided to start counting at week 25 because I wanted get into a good habit and figure out tracking with my ever-changing work schedule. Ive been feeling movement since week 16 too. All women and all babies are different though, some women don’t feel movement until 22-28 weeks and that’s normal for them. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have. My tracker is unique to me and my baby girl, but you could use a similar method or design as well. Mine is made through 36 weeks with different color schemes and cute banners on top. I left 2 blank pages after for the final 4 weeks if I need them. At 36 weeks I’m going to have an ultrasound to evaluate my personal condition and get a better idea, hopefully, on baby girls future from there. After that, I’ll fill out the last two tracker pages. To be honest, these pages were a lot of work for so many weeks, but I fell in love with the design and wanted to keep it consistent.

5. Weight Gain Tracker

Pregnancy weight gain is an important factor to track. Of course, nobody wants to gain too much weight for personal reasons usually, but too much or too little weight gain can effect the health of your baby. Discuss your weight gain goals with your doctor early on. Remember, everyone is different and no pregnancy, even from your first to your second, is the same. Typically, if you’re at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy, you’ll look to gain 25-30 pounds. For me, I was very healthy before pregnancy, even though technically my weight and height put me in the overweight category. I had a lot more muscle than fat though and my BMI (body mass index) was lower than the average woman at my age, weight, and height. My pre-pregnancy weight was 158-160. My end goal for pregnancy weight gain then is 185-195. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay active the first trimester or eat very good so I gained most of my weight in the first 13 weeks. I gained about 15 pounds. I decided to start tracking my weight after that. Doctors track it at every appointment as well so why not track it myself. Sudden dramatic weight gain or weight loss in a week can also clue you into potentials problems in later pregnancy. I was going to track my belly measurements too, but as you can see I haven’t yet. The doctor starts this about week 23-26.

Yearly Trackers

I am a sucker for pixel trackers on a yearly basis!

That’s why I chose this particular mood tracker. I had more colors based on happy, positive days because I know I typically don’t have awful days. You can describe different moods or an overall day in your own way, but either way, by the end of the year you will probably end up with a pretty cool pixelated page.

I love to read! I set my goal for reading this year at 12 books. I went ahead and mapped out 14 slots on this book tracking page though, just in case I decide to overachieve. I was looking to read 1 book a month at least but February got a little busy for me. I just now started my second book of the year and I got about a week left in the month. I also tend to read more in the summer though so I’m not worried. Two summers ago I read 9 books in just one month, so my goal for 2019 is still in sight.

Moving On

In a previous blog post, I talked about moving and tips for moving while pregnant. I mentioned my bullet journal and a page I specifically set up to keep me organized while packing. I had to adjust that page a bit since my move date moved up a whole month or so. I also created this second page that has more to do with the to do list for the move itself versus just packing up the house. My first hard time is March 9th when I’ll move everything except my bed, my fur babies, about a week of clothes, and my hygiene items. I’ll stay in my current home until my electric is shut off on the 21st, at which time I will officially move completely out. This just helps me stay more local for work a bit longer and also gives my parents those extra couple weeks to finish getting mine and baby’s room ready for the official move.

Other Baby Related Trackers

Finally, I wanted to share some other journal pages I’ve whipped up for the arrival of Baby Girl Z. If I get a baby book at my baby shower or something, this journal will help me transfer the information, but it also serves as another document of history for us that I can pass down to my daughter.

Check out this page for baby girls born day. I left a couple pages blank behind it as well. I plan to use those pages to write her birth story in detail. I plan to blog the story but I really want something in my handwriting her to keep and read for the rest of her life. To me, a story is so much more personal when hand written. Their is power and love behind an old fashioned, hand written letter or story. Someone pointed out, “you know you’re having a girl, so why haven’t you circled girl yet?” Well, I trust ultrasound technology but you can never be too cautious. Haha I’ll wait until I see for myself to be 110% certain she’s not hiding something from us until the end of her stay in utero. Haha

After baby girl arrives I plan to add several new trackers for her and myself. Tune in around May/June to check them out! I’ll be tracking her feeding schedule to her sleep schedule, my recovery to post pregnancy fitness and much more!

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