Tracking Yearly Goals in a Bullet Journal

Journaling Badge, Step 3

Katie and I have been setting a whole mess of yearly goals for the past three years. We’ve been diligently tracking our progress toward those goals in our Bullet Journals, which I truly believe has increased our ability to achieve them. In this post, we’ll share how we are tracking our 20 goals for 2020, give you some ideas for yearly goals in case you haven’t set any yet or just are curious about our goals, and recap our success in achieving 2019’s goals.

This post is part of our Journaling Badge. Earlier, we learned about the history of journaling and famous journal keepers. Then we explored the various types and benefits of journals. We took a journaling class in Chicago, and we gave the gift of journaling to others. If you’re interested in earning the Journaling Badge, check out the information in the gray box below. Otherwise, scroll down to find out how we track and achieve our yearly goals!

Earn the Journaling Badge

If you are interested in earning the Journal Badge yourself, you can see the Journal Badge Guide, or “recipe” for the badge here. Each Badge Guide contains three steps to be completed in order to earn the badge. These steps can be done on your own, but we encourage you to grab a few friends and learn together!

Tracking 20 Goals in 2020

Three years ago, we were inspired by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft to set 18 goals for 2018. We set aside a day during our annual sister trip to a cabin in northern Michigan to chat through our goals for the year and develop 18 of them to work on. The twist to this list is that they are meant to be goals that will make you happier (since happiness is Gretchen Rubin’s “thing”).

There should also be a few on your list that you can cross off quickly in the new year to feel like you are making progress. Things like: make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been meaning to make or donate that stack of books on your desk to Goodwill.

One of the best ways to make sure you achieve a goal is to track it. If your goal is to eat out only once a week, there is one way to know for sure you are achieving that goal: write down every day whether you ate out or not.

This is easy to do. I create a monthly spread each month in my bullet journal just for tracking. On it, I record what I ate for dinner, whether I ate out or cooked for lunch and dinner, whether I exercised, spent time outside, read, wrote for work, or did yoga (picture of my January spread below).

Kate does her tracking a little differently. She chose 12 monthly challenges and created a single page to track all 12. I love the thought of getting the satisfaction of seeing 365 days checked off at the end of the year!

In the video below, we discuss our method of tracking yearly goals. Plus tips for journaling every day.

Katie and I are pretty particular about the bullet journals we choose each year. Here is a link to see mine and to see Katie’s.

Yearly Goal Ideas

In the graphics below, you’ll find our ideas for yearly goals. Click to pin and save them!

Want more ideas? Gretchen and Elizabeth discuss their 20 for 2020 goals in this podcast episode.

Goals We Have Achieved and How We Achieved Them

The goals I have been most successful at achieving are ones I knew were going to happen for sure (take that work trip to Austin) and the ones I tracked in my journal.

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned from goal setting and tracking over the past several years.

Tracking really works, if you commit to it. There is no question in my mind whether I read or wrote or exercised on a given day. I can’t hide from it or delude myself. I simply know for sure what I have done. I have come to believe there is power in knowledge and tracking. Even if I’ve gotten some strange looks from people when I tell them I wrote down what I ate for dinner every single day of the year… it is so worth it to me to see my progress.

Take a baby step. This is one of Gretchen’s tips for tackling undesirable tasks, but I think it applies to almost anything you want to get done. Want to do 30 days of yoga? Schedule in 30 minutes each day on your calendar. Want to find an afternoon to create a yearly photo book? A free afternoon probably won’t just appear out of thin air, so block it off weeks in advance!

Build in accountability. Find friends or family members to share goals with. That way you can help each other make sure they get done. Another way to do this is to set goals that require the cooperation of other people to make them happen. For example, I’ve been putting on my list each year a “sister sister trip.” This is a trip that involves my sister and me, and my two nieces (who are also sisters – hence the sister sister). I know I have to find a time that works for all 4 of us, so this can’t wait til the last minute. It is also a goal that we all enjoy doing, so I know we can make it happen.

Open your Bullet Journal every single day. I have made it a habit to open my Bullet Journal and fill out my monthly tracking page at night before bed. If I forget, or have a late night out, I do it first thing in the morning. I find that waiting any longer than that, I can’t remember whether I read that day (or whatever task I’m tracking). Find a way to make this work for you. Do you need to keep your journal on your nightstand? Or keep it on your desk at work? Looking at it every day reminds me of my goals daily and how well I’m doing at achieving them.

One important note here: this can get overwhelming if you focus on the things you didn’t accomplish each day. Remember to celebrate the wins and as Gretchen Rubin says… “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” To me that means that really great things can happen, even when we don’t do them perfectly, so just keep going!

What are your goals for this year? We’d love to hear about them and how you plan to track them. Comment below, send us a message, or reach out on Facebook or Instagram!

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