How to Use a Bullet Journal to Set and Accomplish Goals

Set and Accomplish Goals

January was a whirlwind of a month and through effective goal setting and weekly planning, I was able to keep my eyes on my goals and get things done.

So what’s my process look like?

At the beginning of the year, I set a list of annual goals that I wanted to accomplish over the course of the year. I then broke those goals down into quarterly goals that would help me reach the annual goals with the intention that I’d break those quarterly down even further into monthly goals, at the bringing of each month. Using a weekly review system then helps me to keep my eyes set on the goals for that month and adjust accordingly.

Now, as an example, let’s look at the goals I had set for January:


  • Apply to MFA
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Read 7 books
    • “Pretty Monsters” by Kelly Link
    • “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu
    • “Cruel Crown” by Victoria Aveyard
    • “Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell
    • “My True Love Gave to Me” edited by Stephanie Perkins
    • “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown (reread!)
    • “Sixteen” edited by Sarah Dessen
  • Post to blog twice a week
  • Finish Dreamweaver (part 2 and part 3)

I felt ambitious but was also trying to keep in mind that I would still need to live a life outside of accomplishing goals.

In review, this is what I accomplished:

  • Applied to MFA in Creative Writing Program
  • Lost 10 pounds
  • Read Three Books
    • “Pretty Monsters” by Kelly Link
    • “Cruel Crown” by Victoria Aveyard
    • “Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell
  • Blogged twice during the last week of the month (and scheduled post for one week after)
  • Finished parts 2 and 3 of “Dreamweaver”

Goals that I accomplished that were on my Annual Goals list included:

  • Finished and polished “Dreamweaver”
  • Landed representation with a literary agency
  • “Dreamweaver” went on submission with a publisher and is currently being considered
  • Got accepted into MFA program

I accomplished a lot of the goals I had set in addition to some goals that I had set for the year (which at the end of the day came down to timing and really had nothing at all to do with me).


Luck and timing aside, I’d like to look at my weekly review process which helped me to stay on track with the things that I could control.

On Sunday of each week I review a few categories of my life. Those categories are:


  • My Biggest Wins
  • My Big Three Review
  • Lessons Learned
  • How to Improve
  • New Big Three

Let’s break down each category briefly.


My Biggest Wins is just a list of what I accomplished. My Big Three Review is an examination of the three goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the week and whether or not I accomplished them and how and why. The Big Three are three goals that, if accomplished, will help my forward motion towards reaching the larger goal. My Lessons Learned is the section where I talk about what would I do differently or better. How to Improve is where I list ideas or action steps for implementing the Lessons Learned. At the end of the review, I look at my monthly goals and select a new Big Three based on what I’ve already accomplished and how much farther I need to accomplish to reach that goal.

Over the course of the month, my reviews got easier to do. At first, I was having a hard time knowing what to say.

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Going through this process worked for me this month and really helped me to stay on top of accomplishing the goals I had in mind. As I move into the new month I will be creating a new set of goals for February based on my Quarterly Goals.

Below I’ve given a snapshot of how I filled out my Annual Goals, then broke those down into Quarterly Goals, then determined my Quarterly Actionable Steps, which helps me determine the Monthly Goals. You totally get it. Just think big picture to small picture.

2018 Annual Goals
2018 Quarterly Goals
2018 Actionable Steps (Quarter)
2018 Monthly Review

Let’s Chat

I love hearing about how others go about setting and accomplishing their goals. What systems do you have in place to ensure your success? I’d love to hear them!

2 thoughts on “How to Use a Bullet Journal to Set and Accomplish Goals

  1. I definitely get the appeal of a bullet journal, but somehow I just never really got around to making one myself. I am way more … all over the place with my organisation! I have post its everywhere with to-do-list and checklists. I like to either make daily or weekly goals, but nothing farther than that.

    1. I totally get that! I do love myself some post-its, I actually had a bunch in my journal and pulled them out to take the pictures. They went right back in when I was done ^.^ We all have our own ways of setting goals, there is definitely no sure fire way! 😀

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