New Year = New Bullet Journal!

Happy Friday! I’m coming to you a little bit later than usual today, but I’m so excited to bring you today’s post! It has been much anticipated, that’s for sure :) Today I’m walking you through how I set up my new Bullet Journal for 2016!

Moving into a new Bullet Journal is a great time to reflect on your system. It’s a time to take note of what has worked well in your current notebook, what things you might want to let go of, and what new things you might want to try.

Around the middle of November, I decided to take a deeper look into those questions and came up with this little spread to start brainstorming the layout of my new Bullet Journal for the new year.

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)

As you can see, there were quite a few things that I knew I wanted to keep, and quite a few that I wanted to add or try as well. I even sketched out a few layout ideas.

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)

When December rolled around, I fell in love with the monthly theme of the #BulletJournalChallenge. It vibed so well with my reflection process that I dedicated another page in my Bullet Journal to it.

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)

Last week I decided to make the final checklist of things that I wanted to include in my new Bullet Journal for 2016. You can see here that I really narrowed it down. I went through my entire journal and picked the collections that would be migrated over.

I was a bit surprised by how few collections made the cut. This is also where I made the decision to have not one, but two new bullet journals for 2016.

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)>> 1. My Personal Bullet Journal:

My Personal Bullet Journal (Azure Blue) will contain my more personal collections, as well as my Monthly and Daily pages. Although I’ll be calling this my “personal” bullet journal, my daily tasks within will be a mix of personal and business related to-do’s.

>> 2. My Blog & Business Bullet Journal:

I have not set this one up yet (that will be an entire post of it’s own), but my Blog & Business Bullet Journal (Lemon Yellow) will contain my blog stats, monthly editorial calendar, and lists of blog post & YouTube video ideas. It will also be the place where I plan out drafts and sketches for future blog posts and videos.

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)


Today I’m going to focus on setting up my Personal Bullet Journal.


The first thing I did was to set up my new and improved color index. (You can see my original color index in action in my Top 12 Bullet Journal Hacks post)

Bullet Journal Color Index

I just love this new and improved color index! There is a flip-out on both covers of my Bullet Journal. This way, no matter where I am in my journal, I can easily flip this out and determine where to place my color coding marks :)


Once the color index was done, I jumped right in to the first page… and proceeded to mess it up! Ah!

Here’s a friendly public service announcement: When drawing out a yearly calendar, it is important to remember that there are 7 days in a week . . . not 6! ;)

No worries though, I just printed off one of my coloring pages and taped it in to cover up my mistake :)

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I'd walk you through my new Bullet Journal set-up for 2016! :)


Now that I got that “oops” page out of the way, I took my time to make sure that I got the full year calendar just right. I don’t expect this Bullet Journal to last me the whole year, but I love having a mini-calendar for reference from time to time :)

Bullet Journal - Full Year Calendar


This is going to my master goals spread for 2016. I haven’t sat down for my mega goal-planning session this month yet so this spread is still blank. I plan on splitting this into two: Personal & Blog/Business Goals.

Bullet Journal - 2016 Goals Page


I decided to go with a 3 month at a time format for my future planning. Again, I haven’t gone in and filled out my details yet, but you get the idea here.

The brains dump page is going to be a catch-all page for any thoughts, ideas, or tasks that I don’t have a place for yet in my new bullet journal. I can’t wait to see how this works out, and I’ll be sure to share updates for you throughout the month :)

Bullet Journal - Future Log & Brain Dump


Of course I had to transfer over my Level 10 Life spread. I won’t elaborate too much here because I’ll be doing a video on it very soon.

You can also see my color index in action here :)

Bullet Journal - Level 10 Life


For my “Books to Read” list, I simply copied over the books that I had not read yet. I’ll be adding more to this list throughout the year and marking them off as they’re completed.

My savings goals tracker got a little update as well. Look at me… almost saved up for Europe in May! :)

Bullet Journal - Books to Read & Savings Goals


The Fountain Pen Wish List is pretty self-explanatory… again, I just migrated the pens that I haven’t gotten yet and I’ll be adding to this list as I find pens and ink that I love :)

My Pen-Pal Tracker is a fun little page to track my letter-writing activities. The forward arrow signifies a letter sent, and the backwards arrow signifies a letter received.

Bullet Journal - Fountain Pen Wish List & Pen Pal Tracker


With all of my information transferred over from my previous Bullet Journal, it’s time to set up for the month of January! You can see below that I decided to change the format of my monthly spread a little bit.


Instead of having 3 columns for “morning”, “afternoon”, and “evening”, I decided to divide it between “All Day”, AM & PM. I think I’m going to enjoy this format but as always, it’s just an experiment :)

The “All Day” column will house birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, etc.

Bullet Journal - Monthly Spread

#PlanWithMeChallenge & JANUARY TRACKER:

On the left page will be where I write in my #PlanWithMeChallenge prompts for the month of January. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks… we should have the new prompts posted soon :)

On the right hand side you can see my January Tracker. I’ve changed up what activities I’ll be logging a bit this month :)

Bullet Journal - Monthly Tracker


One of my favorite monthly collections is my monthly memories page. Throughout the month, I like to fill it up with sketches, doodles, and notes of fun things that happened or trips that I took :)

My “Waiting On” page is a catch-all for packages that I’m waiting on, email responses, or just anything in general that I’m waiting on for the month. I simply add a checkbox, describe what I’m waiting on, and check it off once it arrives. I got the original idea for this page from Kim (Tiny Ray of Sunshine)

Bullet Journal - Monthly Memories & Waiting On


I pared down my Gratitude Log to two pages this month. I’m not sure if I’ll like it this way, because I love coming up with 3 things to be grateful for each day (vs. the 2 allowed here). The beautiful thing about the Bullet Journal system though? If I don’t like it, I can always change it up next month :)

Bullet Journal - Gratitude Log

So that’s it! On the following page is where I will start in with my dailies for the month. I’m counting down the days until January begins so that I can dive into my brand new bullet journal for the year!

>> Curious about what supplies I use? Check out my FAQ right here! <<

If you’d like a more in-depth view of each page and how I set everything up in my new Bullet Journal, then head on over to YouTube or check out the video below :)


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Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy - Boho Berry Paperie.
  • Vero Stewart

    The new system looks great! Personally I need different notebooks for different things (like your personal versus business bullet journal). I’m not sure why, it just seems to be easier mentally to keep track of each thing individually, instead of having to figure out which section I’m in or if I’m taking up too much room… I’m working out of a converted two year Moleskine right now, so I don’t have as much room for collections, but I think come January I’ll integrate a few of these. :)

    • Thanks Vero! I’m pretty excited about the switch to two notebooks! I’m looking forward to keeping all of my blog/business related things together and easily searchable! :)

  • Fiona Benjamin

    Awesome! I’m about two months in right now and I’ve found that my business + personal life kind of clashes… and I’m running out of pages. I may give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

  • Awesome. I made the decision early in Dec. to have two BUJOs for 2016, and started with setting up my JPB BUJO first, as I register my domain and set up email etc.. and it’s working out so great.

    • Love it! I’m really excited about the separation. It will be nice to have all of my blog/business collections under one their own roof :)

  • Gemma

    Kara you can always add a second column for your gratitude pages if you want to add extras. Great video.

    • Thanks Gemma! While I like that idea, I tend to write across the full line, so I’m not sure if that will work for me. I’m going to see how the 2-per-day feels this month and then go from there. It’s all one big experiment, really ;)

  • Adam

    With all these lists, collections, overviews and what not won’t you run out of pages in your journal before 2016 is over? Are you planning on two journals for the year or just migrate whenever this one fills up?

    • Hi Adam! I will most definitely run out of room before 2016 is over. Each notebook lasts me approximately 4-5 months. I just got lucky this time around that I’m migrating to a new journal at the beginning of the year. I fully expect to have anywhere between 2-3 notebooks over the course of 2016 and yes, I will migrate important collections that are still relevant along the way :)

      Kim over at Tiny Ray of Sunshine just wrote a great post on notebook threading (a way to keep collections where they are and still reference back to them once you move to a new notebook). You can check her out here:

  • Liset

    First time commenting…
    I love your pages, they are so beautiful!
    Will the journal you’re working on right now be completely filled up before you start in January? Or will it have some empty pages?

    • Thank you Liset! I only have about 20 pages left in my current notebook, and yes I expect that it will be full by the end of the month. If I do end up with a few empty pages I might use them to practice some doodles or lettering techniques just to be sure the notebook gets completely filled up :)

  • Kacheri Bodily

    Yey! I’m setting mine up this week :)

    • Woohoo! Can’t wait to see your gorgeous pages, girl! :)

  • This is so awesome! I’d love to make one of these for myself.. but I’m not sure I have the patience. I DIY a blog planner every year but it’s pretty basic, this puts mine to shame. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Aw, you’re welcome, Sophie! There’s nothing wrong with basic whatsoever… you do what works best for you! :) Thank you for the kind words :)

  • Great ideas and beautifully drawn out, so glad you’re making videos too now. I’m looking forward to read more about setting big goals and seeing the biz planner develope!

    Thanks for your generosity!

  • THANK YOU for this awesome post! I just started bullet journaling last month, so this gave me a ton of new ideas for how to improve it for the new year!

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful, Crystal! Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  • I am just discovering the whole wide world of bullet journals… I sort of did something like it in my notebook already, but the works of art that you call your journal are so inspiring! I’m working on changing my notebook over to a bullet journal. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    • You’re very welcome! I hope you find some useful tidbits here :)

  • Amanda Macfarland

    I am going to start a bullet journal in Jan. and just got done watching your video. I understand the setting up part. But what exactly do you put for your daily entries? Stuff that you do that day? Notes?

    • Hi Amanda! Sorry for the delayed response, I’ve been struggling to keep up with blog comments lately and sometimes they slip through the cracks… so sorry that happened to you!

      My daily entries are basically my to-do lists for the day. I write down my tasks, appointments, and any notes that I have from phone calls, emails, or meetings :)

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  • Mia Elizabeth Dawkins

    DYING to do this!! What type of journal do you use?

  • 1curiouskat

    Thank you so much for the videos and the blog posts. I’m new to creating a bullet journal and your break downs of the pieces you use has been valuable. I have a question about the dailies. Do you do one at a time, or do you make your boxes a week in advance? Your December video stopped after you created Dec. 1, so I’m curious to know what works for you.

    • I just go one day at a time :) I never know how much space I will need for a day, so this way works best for me :)

  • I was going to just continue my current bujo when the year started as I have a good 60 pages left, but I think this post and the video changed my mind. I think I’m going to have to start a new notebook for a new year! I hate leaving those empty pages though… Do you ever have empty pages? What do you do with them?

    Thank you for the inspiration! I stumbled upon your stuff a couple of months ago and I have been lurking ever since. Figured I should officially say hi via comment :)

    • Well hello! (officially lol) I would probably use those pages to practice doodles or for handwriting practice… oh, or you could even use them to practice different layouts before putting them into your new BuJo :)

  • Oh my gosh, this has SO much inspiration for me when I start my new bullet journal for 2016! I like how I have mine set up right now, but it’s kind of… boring? It’s very practical and no-nonsense, which is great, but I’d like for my 2016 bullet journal to have some more room for creativity and long term goal mapping/planning. Thanks for all of these tips!

    • You’re very welcome, Manda! The beauty of the Bullet Journal system is that it can house anything you want it to :) Here’s to an amazing 2016! :)

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  • Autumn Leigh

    So, I just discovered the bullet journal idea through instagram, and I have to say I love it!! I realize it is January 2nd, but that’s not too late to get things started and make a beautiful way of tracking what is happening in my life, goals, and things to remember. I am inspired.

    • Happy to inspire! Thanks for stopping by, Autumn :)

  • Nessa Buckley Suzzoni

    Serendipity : the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. And I would add : leading to find things you didn’t know you were looking for… yet.
    I just found out about you/your blog/bullet journal early this week. And I just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to an overload of inspiration.
    Will keep reading your older posts today and watching your videos, as I start setting up my first BuJo ever !
    Thanks again. And wishing you a very Happy New Year all the way from France :)

    • Thanks so much, Nessa! Good luck on your first BuJo! It’s such an exciting adventure to embark on :)

  • Kate Moynihan

    Hi Kara! I had seen a lot of things about bullet journaling and was intrigued, but when I found your site via Pinterest I became truly inspired. I started my Bullet Journal on Friday and I’m already in love with it. Thanks for sharing so much of your process; it’s really helped me to jump in with both feet. I know I’ll be developing my own style as I go forward, but having your inspiration really helped! Thanks!!

    • Aw, thanks Kate! Your own style will definitely evolve over time, but it sure does help to have a starting point and I’m happy that you’ve found that with me :)

  • Hey, Kara, about gratitude log. I guess it’s more useful to track it on the daily pages. This way it keeps reminding you the whole day about this. I found that when writing it on the separate page, it fades away for the rest of the day. The same for the affirmation. So, I find it useful (got this idea from the 5 minute journal to write on the page for the day what I’m grateful about, affirmation, and how can I make the day great. I have it in front of my eyes every time I check the day. Not to mention writing in the evening about amazing things that happened that day and how could I have made the day better to use the idea in the future.

    • Thanks Michael! The thing I love about my gratitude log the way I have it set up is being able to look back at a whole month at a time and see it all in one place. Every night I write in my gratitude and then reflect on all of the things I have been grateful for so far this month and I love it :)

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  • Sheena Anderson

    I am looking forward to your post about your yellow journal. I really hope you share it soon!!!

    • Very soon, Sheena! Before the end of the month :)

  • Leticia Workman

    Hi Kara, can you share the layouts you use to track finances? I’ve created a bill tracker much like the habit tracker … but was wondering if you do weekly / monthly spreads as well?

    • Hi Leticia! I have gotten away from tracking any of my finances in my BuJo besides the savings tracker pictured above. I use a budget software called YNAB (You Need A Budget) and honestly just don’t see the need to record my daily transactions in any way because I do that all through the mobile app on the go.

      I’ll be writing up an entire post about how I use YNAB soon, but if you’d like to check them out, head on over here:

      • Leticia Workman

        I actually have YNAB too! I just need to implement it better. It’s hard reminding my husband to keep his receipts!

      • Connie Adams

        YNAB is awesome! I have used it for three years now. Best budgeting software ever.

  • Alanna

    Thank you for sharing your bj with us.
    I’m new to bj. I’m from Italy. There is not so much material in my mother tongue (it’s very few actually), but your blog opened an entire new world to me. You inspired me a lot. I didn’t kow anything about bullet journal since I met your blog.
    I wonder about the “pen pal” thing. What do you mean? You write e-mail or “p-mail” (my word for mail old stile handwritten on paper, it stands for “paper mail”)? There’s someone who still write letters by hand?

  • Paulina

    This is SO awesome!! I have been looking for ideas to make my own calendar/journal kind of thing I guess? haha don´t know how to describe my idea but so far everything i have bump into has been printable stuff for binders but this is so cool I love that it´s handmade. I am totally doing this!! thank you so much for sharing this. First time in your blog and i’m sure it won´t be the last.

    • Aw, thanks Paulina! I’m so happy that you found some inspiration here :)

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  • Zoë Boeti

    Hey Kara,
    I am following your blog since a while now. I am especially inspired by your way of goal setting. That’s why I would love to hear how you plan your mega vacation to Europe :) It is just so great to have a giant goal and then making it work step by step.
    Thanks for all the inspiration,

  • Jess

    Love all your posts. Great inspiration! …for your Gratitude page, you could divide the page in half and you’d get four spots to log depending on how long-winded you are about your gratitude. I know I usually write in my BuJo in short phrases.

  • bobbiejean

    Do you know of any brands where the paper is thicker? I don’t like to see words from the other side while working. Thanks for any recs!

    • Ghosting (seeing your writing on the other side) has never bothered me, and is actually a quality that you will see in most mass-produced notebooks. If you’re looking for thicker paper, I have heard good things about Peter Pauper Press and Rhodia Webnotebooks (although I have never tried either). Hope that helps!

      • bobbiejean

        ah, yes! definitely helps. thanks for all that info. I haven’t started yet and all I use right now is a regular ball-point pen :)

  • 803homeavenue

    These tips are just what I needed to regain my motivation to maintain my bullet journal. Thank you for the detail and graphics – it helps so much!

  • Cathy

    I found your website and blog on Friday and have been obsessed. I’ve been looking for a way to keep myself motivated and all the things I do organized. I have notes and sticky notes and I keep switching planners. I think the bullet journal might be just what I need. I have my own coaching business, run a small non-profit and want tried keeping both “to do’s” and schedules separate but it’s just not working. I love your ideas and can’t wait to get started. Thanks so much for all your tips.

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  • Carla Cosenza

    Hi Kara! I love your site and I was wondering what pen you used to make the Me & My Big Goals. Thank you and you have a BEAUTIFUL notebook!

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