Bullet Journaling–How to Set Goals You Can Achieve By Mapping Your Life

bullet journaling how to make a life map you'll actually use to reach your goals

Walk towards your goals in 2024.

News year’s resolutions don’t have to be made in January. And they don’t have to be resolutions, which are white knuckle ways of muscling through something that is guilt-driven and usually result in failure.

Instead, make yourself a map. 

(The following mind map is purely fictional and any resembles to my real life are coincidental).

This is the power of the goals page and method.

On the left size of any notebook page, make a square right in the middle of the page and call it “My Life.”

Now make four bubbles near the middle of the four quarters of the page. In each of these bubbles, write these four lengths of time: 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, lifetime.

Now, set a timer for only five minutes. 

This is key. Longer, and you’ll start to overthink and second guess yourself.

With absolutely zero judgment, write what you wished you life would look like in each of these four time frames. 

What does it feel like? What does it look like? What accomplishments have you made and what values or causes are you living for? 

There’s no wrong answer here. (You can’t change your values by being inauthentic about them, so be authentic).

bullet journaling life map goals

So under 3 months, one of the things I originally put that I wanted a pain-free spine. 

Under “5 years” I put writing a book.

Under lifetime, I put “living on royalties.”

Don’t dream small. Write what you actually want in each quadrant of your life map.

bullet journaling life map goals ryder carroll

Now on the other side of the page, write five headings sort of equally spaced out (see illustration). 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. (I got this list idea from Ryder Carroll).

5 years.

4 months.

3 weeks.

2 days.

1 hour.

I love this and can’t even see myself not using it. On the left side of the goals page is your dreams.

On the right side is your task list. It’s the map you’re making to get there.

But you can’t tackle all of your dreams at once. Of course not. Give yourself full permission, however, to prioritize at least one of them. You’re worth it. Your life is worth it. And your dreams and goals matter.

In this 5-1 list, break your goal into steps and list what you need to get done in the next five years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, and then, my favorite, one hour.

The power of the one hour task is that it gets you moving towards your goal and also sets you up for a win. The dopamine rush of taking the first step towards your goal will give you the fuel you need to tackle step 2 of your goals.

Maybe it’s putting a work aside and meditating for five minutes. Maybe it’s finding an app to help you meditate. Maybe it’s researching yoga classes. Or booking a yoga class. Maybe it’s signing up for a creative writing course, or budgeting for that course. Make the step small enough that you actually feel enough hope to accomplish it. 

Now get up and do it. 

It’s that simple.

If you like this post, you might like this journal.

A note on 1-5 task lists. You can make them as often as you want, and you can make as many as you want. Though I read in Carroll’s book to make one for each goal, this way way too overwhelming for me. Instead, I only make one at a time. The first time I made one, I was tracking only one goal. Now they are a way of resetting and reflecting for me, and can include more than one goal and other random things I just need to do, like that yoga class or cleaning the kitchen or making a meal.

Read Part II.

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