Journal with Purpose

Details of the 6 week planning challenge can be found here.

Week 1

It’s here! Welcome to week 1 of my 6 week planning challenge.  Through this challenge I aim to gently guide you through thinking about your life goals and how you can steadily work towards them by planning in your bullet journal.

Well, whilst I said gently, we are going to jump straight into the deep end and think about your funeral…

Version 1.1This isn’t supposed to be as morbid as it sounds – it is designed to help you focus on what is important to you, which can so easily get lost in hectic day-to-day life.

The first part of the challenge this week is to think about what you would like to be remembered for.  Take a moment to imagine your funeral; who will be there, what sort of people are they, what adventures did your life hold to enable you to meet these people and what will they be saying about you?

I find this a really helpful part of the planning process. To think to the end of my life and what I will want it to have looked like really helps focus me on making every day count now.  I refer back to this page in my bullet journal every week. It makes me think about how I should behave, what sort of things I should be doing, what is really important to me and the way I should treat people if I want this image of my funeral to come true.

For me, thinking about my funeral really motivates me to make the most of every minute.  I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think about all the things I could have been.  I want to have fantastic memories, wonderful stories to share and to have somehow changed the world for the better.

Don’t be too concerned about the details at this stage.  We will work on this as we progress through the later weeks of this challenge.

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The second part of this week’s challenge is to think about what you would like to have achieved.

You may find it useful to split you life into different sections so that you can focus on just one area at a time. For me, the important areas of my life are family, love, home, work, social, giving and health.  Please feel free to use this as a guide, but it’s really important that you choose only the areas that are of significance to you.

Again, as you work through this, don’t be too worried about how you will achieve these goals yet and please don’t let self-doubt limit what you write down.  I believe that the more you focus on your goals and visualise them, the more ideas and opportunities will present themselves, so your path will become clearer.

For example, one of my goals is to have found a way to help others, free of charge.  At the time of writing these goals in late May this year, my mind was not clear on how I might achieve them.  However, when I shared these posts on Instagram I received such positive feedback and questions, that it led to me considering setting up a blog with the aim of helping others to also focus on their life goals.

This will no doubt progress further, possibly through volunteering with a charity at a later stage, but this is an area I am still in the process of exploring.  So, please don’t worry yet about the detail behind each goal.  Your life and goals will no doubt change so this will be something you should revisit on a regular basis, but the important part is getting started.

So, this is week one of the six week planning challenge.  I hope it inspires you to start thinking about your life goals and how you would like to be remembered.  I will be releasing week two towards the end of next week.  Don’t worry if you fall behind, there is no time limit, it’s just important that you spend as much time as you need to focusing on this.  I will be posting all of these details on the 6 week challenge page so that they can be easily found at any point.

I have also created a YouTube video about week one of the challenge which can be found here.

If you are on Instagram and wish to share your challenge pages from your Bullet Journal, please use #journalwithpurpose and I will pop some up on the Inspiration Gallery page to help inspire others who are also working through the challenge. I would love to see what you create.

I would also really like to hear how you feel about this challenge and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section down below.

Until next week, I wish you all the best.

“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs” – Tony Gaskins

Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of the bullet journal planning challenge.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing the pages produced so far, along with the feedback I have received on this challenge – thank you so much.  The goals being set are utterly inspiring, moving and at times have made me quite emotional.  I feel surrounded by people who want to bring love, positive change and passion to their lives and the world around them and I just couldn’t be happier to be connected to you.

If you are still working on week 1 of the challenge, don’t panic!  I have saved some photos in the Inspiration Gallery of bullet journal pages put together by other people taking part in the challenge – they are definitely worth having a look at. It’s so great seeing the different styles and content, they may well also give you a few ideas for your own pages.  I have included links to the various Instagram accounts, so that you can join up with other people taking part in the challenge.

So, on to this week’s challenge.  Week 1 was all about looking into the future and making goals.  This week’s challenge is about getting an honest understanding of exactly where you are now.  I actually found this one of the hardest parts when completing it in my own bullet journal. Bullet Journal Week 2

I really wanted to honestly reflect on my current situation, but there was a part of me that thought, am I just writing this down for the sake of it? I know where I am and everything about my life.  But, when I started properly considering my current situation I was surprised how much came out on my pages that I hadn’t really thought about, the power of pen and paper still amazes me.  I found it both cathartic and rewarding, so I hope you find the same.

I would recommend looking at the different sections you identified on your ‘What would I like to have achieved’ page and using these same sections to reflect on your current situation. Think of it like planning any journey.  You need to know where you are now, along with where you are going, to map out the best route for your adventure.  Bullet Journal Week 2 2nd

Don’t beat yourself up.  It’s important to be honest in your reflections, but there’s no need to judge yourself – your past decisions don’t need to define your future. I’ve been working on my goals for a few months now and I love looking back at these reflection pages as I can already see that I have moved forwards in so many areas.  There will be set-backs and some of my goals may change, but I certainly feel I am starting to move in the right direction.

I hope you get on well with this challenge and find it useful to spend some time reflecting on your current situation.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this challenge as it helps me to know whether I am providing information that you enjoy and find helpful.

Also, please continue using the #journalwithpurpose on your Instagram posts so I can add your pages as we progress throughout this challenge.  My YouTube video can be found here.

Finally, a quote that I read on Robin Sharma’s blog that I just loved and had to share. It certainly got me thinking …

“The world really is a mirror, giving us not what we want.  But who we are’.  Taken from Robin Sharma’s blog.

Week 3

Thank you for joining me on week 3 of the 6 week planning challenge in your bullet journal.  We’re just about half way there!

So far, we have looked at what you want to achieve by the end of your life and how you want to be remembered.  We have also completed some honest reflections on our current situation.  I know that some of you completing the challenge found last week’s particularly difficult and emotional. It can be tough realising how far away you are from your goals, but even by recognising this, you are taking a huge step forwards.

I definitely believe it’s better to have a long way to travel, than nowhere to go!

Left editedOn to the mission for this week,  I would like you to look at your completed challenge for week 1 and think about what you will need to have achieved in five years’ time to be firmly on track.  I know this seems a long way off, but you only have to think back 5 years to realise how quickly time passes us by.

These goals may well change, but they will still act as a useful guide for you when you are making decisions about how to spend your time. I plan to review mine at least once a year to check if any adjustments need to be made.

Right editedThe next part is to think about what you will have needed to achieve by this time next year.  It’s important to be realistic so that you don’t demotivate yourself, but also make sure you stretch yourself a bit and set targets that excite you.  Easy challenge this week?  Nope – sorry …again!

I went through a period of my life where every New Year’s Eve I would think, oh please don’t let next year be the same as the year that has just passed.  I did this for quite a few years before I realised that absolutely nothing would change unless I started thinking about what I wanted out of life and putting some plans in place.  No year is ever the same now!

I have added some more pages onto the Inspiration Gallery and they really make fantastic reading.  If you haven’t already, please do have a look and offer some support to others taking part in the challenge.

As always, I have saved these details on the 6 Week Challenge Page, created a download and my YouTube video will be up soon..

Please remember to keep using #journalwithpurpose and I’m really excited to see how you get on.  I would love to hear your thoughts down below in the Comments section.

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been” – George Eliot

Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of the planning challenge and also one of my favourite and most useful pages in my bullet journal. This week’s challenge is focused on translating your goals into actions.  It’s time to look at the page you created when setting out what want you want to have achieved by this time next year and start plotting out your next 12 months to make sure you get there.  It might be worth giving yourself a little time to play with this, so October could be a good month to start with.  I also completed mine in pencil first and started with month 12, then month 6 and then filled in the other months before committing to ink!

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I decided to pick between 5 and 6 actions per month, gradually building on them as the months progress.  A lot of my goals during this first 12 months focus on supporting my daughter during her school exams year, health and fitness, strengthening relationships, addressing my work/life/creative balance, building up some savings and finding ways to give something back.

For me, these are the foundations that I really feel I need to have in place to help me progress further and focus on some bigger projects.

Since writing out these monthly goals, I’ve been surprised by how quickly some areas have progressed.  I was reading ‘The Little Book of Mindfulness’ one evening and found the following section:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. [This raises] in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no-one could have dreamed would have come their way.  Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  Begin it now” – W.H. Murray

I love this thought so much.  I have put a bookmark on this page and read it regularly.  It makes perfect sense to me, that when you clearly put out into the world what you are seeking to achieve, that you will be more in-tune and likely to pick up on possible opportunities.  You will also be more likely to attract the right sort of people into your life who will help support you on your way.  This will hopefully give you the opportunity to support others too, which just generally makes the world a nicer place to live in.

On my original plans, I had aimed to start thinking about a blog in September this year. However, when people saw I was thinking about doing this back in June I received so many positive comments and support I decided to leap in much earlier than planned. This was further helped by The Little Coffee Fox’s wonderful blog post about setting up a blog.  I also received support promoting it within the Boho Berry Tribe on Facebook and Twitter, from lovely Candace.  This blog helps me to feel I am giving a little back by trying to help others.  Without having committed my goals to paper and sharing them on Instagram I am confident that they would have stayed just another vague idea in my head.

I can’t pretend it’s all been rosy and that there haven’t been setbacks.  I’ve had some problems along the way and sometimes it can be pretty difficult to bounce back with the same enthusiasm.  An example of this is on Saturday last week I shared the idea of a Travelling Bullet Journal on Instagram.  I saw the idea of a Travelling Journal on Ninja Traveling’s Blog and thought this would be a great project to try in the bullet journal community and a way of giving something back.  I wondered if the finished bullet journal could possibly be auctioned for charity and it was also suggested to me that it could be sent to Ryder Carroll, either of which sound great to me. I love the thought of a collaboration project and would hope that it might be a nice way to also boost other people’s IG accounts along the way.  However…

Within 2 days a guy contacted me to basically say, thanks for the idea, I’ve now gone ahead and launched it on Facebook myself, I was pretty upset (under-statement!!).  I blame my naivety because I really didn’t expect someone to do that.  It also made me just want to give up on the idea.  To make it worse, me being me, I just congratulated him and wished him all the best with his project – I’m such a wimp sometimes 🙁  I know you can’t protect an idea like this and I was very open about the fact that I had been inspired by someone else’s blog who had sent a traveling journal around the world as a project with their children. However, it upset me that rather than try and collaborate, or even mention where the idea came from on FB, he has jumped in there first.

However, I have taken a few days to reflect and message some great IG friends to see what they think and I now feel, bugger it (sorry!), so many people were excited about this idea, I am determined to go ahead and make it happen and now make it even better.  So, this weekend I am going to block out some time to really get cracking on this project and try and make it a wonderful experience for people to be involved in. Thank you Lena, Candace and Kris – your support, encouragement and wise words saw me through a tricky couple of days.

I share this, partly to get it out of my system, but also to be honest about the fact that along with all the great opportunities, some not so great things may also come along in an attempt to derail you.  Hopefully by reaching out to others for support and reflecting on your own goals and values, these things will actually help to make you stronger, refine your plans further and push you even closer towards your goals with renewed determination.

As always, the details are stored in the 6 week challenge page, as a download and on YouTube.  Some new people have joined in with the challenge, which is so exciting for me, so please do show them some support by searching on #journalwithpurpose

I have refreshed the Inspiration Gallery and you can now click on each picture to go straight onto the original IG pages to view the content more clearly and introduce yourselves to each other.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and apologies for the long blog post. Thank you also for the inspiring messages you have sent me as you have worked through this challenge. Best wishes for the week ahead, Helen xx

Week 5

Thank you for sticking with me, we are so close now!  It’s made me really happy to see so many new people join the challenge this week.  I have shared lots more pages on the Inspiration Gallery, so please feel free to have a peek at other people’s bullet journal pages and show them some support.

So, the week 5 challenge … before launching into working towards your goals, I think it’s important to consider potential barriers to your success and crucially, what you can do to overcome them and record these reflections in your bullet journal.

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I have a tendency to rush full steam into new projects, with so much enthusiasm, only to hit an unexpected obstacle and then feel like giving up – it can take the wind right out of my sails.  I hope that if you consider the potential obstacles in advance, this may help you to be ready for them and have a plan already in place to minimise their effect.

My initial barriers pages were fairly simple, but as I have started working towards my goals, I have needed to look in more depth at certain areas.  I have struggled with some areas more than I anticipated and also realised that I need more detailed plans in my bullet journal for certain projects that I want to tackle.

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About a month ago I completed a reflections page in my bullet journal to think more deeply about areas I was struggling with and what I could do about it.  I also created ‘A Perfectly Planned Day’ page so that I could be aware of how I would like my days to look.  I can’t live every day to this schedule, but it does work as a helpful reminder to me when I plan out how much I would like to achieve each day.

1 Health & Wellbeing Original a

Health and well-being is an area that I often struggle with.  I am lucky enough to be in good health and I walk the dog every day, so I tend to not prioritise this area of my life as much as I should.  However, I know how much more energy I have when I am eating well and taking good care of both my physical and mental health.  So, it makes perfect sense that I should do everything I can to look after myself. I know that if I’m not feeling great, it will make my goals so much harder to reach.  I completed these pages in my bullet journal and when I shared them on Instagram I received so much support.  People messaged me with fitness apps, health tips and even their YouTube workout collections.  I do find IG such a supportive community and I am back on track!

1 Mindfulness and Office Plan Original a

I also found that I needed to create some more detailed plans in a few areas.  Mindfulness is something that I am very interested in progressing further with.  I have previously found it hard to stick with meditation because in all honesty I felt like I was wasting time that I could be spending doing something else.  However, having completed further research I now feel I understand more about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and I wanted a plan in my bullet journal to keep me on track.

With my office…where to start!  I have a lot of stuff.  As much as this is a tidying project, it’s actually much more than that to me.  I want to create a workspace that is inspiring, that I look forward to going into and where I feel I can create great work.  I currently feel a bit claustrophobic and try to spend as little time in my office as I can.  I am now working through my office plan and look forward to creating an office that I am excited to go into.

I hope this helps to give you a feel as to how I have tackled this week of the challenge.  I would recommend starting with your most obvious obstacles and then reflect regularly.  Each month, look at the goals you have set for yourself and delve deeper into any areas that aren’t going quite to plan so that you can tackle them.  I can’t speak highly enough of the IG community.  If you complete a reflections page and need support moving forward in any areas, the bullet journal community on IG are so resourceful.  It has been such an unexpected benefit of sharing my bullet journal, I feel like I have a wonderful team of people around me who I can always turn to.  What could be better?

Please continue using #journalwithpurpose so that I can share your wonderful pages.

I wish you luck with this week’s challenge and I hope you have a great September.  Only one more week of the challenge to go!  If you have any feedback, comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear how you are finding the challenge.

I will leave you with some entries from Robin Sharma’s blog, where he shared his ten biggest wishes.  I particularly enjoyed these ones:

“I wish for a world where everyone understands that discomfort is the price of legendary. And fear is just growth coming to get you.

I wish for a world where people understand that life is short. So today’s the time to do big things.

I wish for a world where success is measured not by what we take nor by what we get. Just by what we give. And who we become.”

Week 6 of the 6 Week Planning Challenge

Thank you for sticking with me and congratulations on making it this far.  The final week of this challenge should hopefully take you back into the comfort zone of your normal planning system in your bullet journal.  This week is all about incorporating those plans you set out for the next 12 months into your regular layouts.

I love having my 12 month plan in my bullet journal and I look at it regularly, but to make sure that I work towards my goals consistently, I think it’s important to bring these activities into pages that I will look at every day.

Here’s how I tackle mine.  When setting up for a new month, I look at my 12 month plan and pick out my goals for the relevant month, along with any that I haven’t achieved in previous months.  As I prepare my calendar for the coming month, I also write out my relevant goals for the month, along with any additions I wish to make on the opposite page of my bullet journal.

Monthly layout a

I also use weekly plans, so each Sunday I prepare my plan for the coming week.  I pick some of my monthly goals, being realistic with how much time I have available and include them in my weekly plans.  You’ll notice that in each layout, I separate my tasks into the same categories.  This helps me to make sure that I carry out some activities from each category every day whenever possible.

Weekly layout a

When I write out my daily plan, again I look at my goals for the week and try to include at least one tiny step in every daily list.  I consider how many meetings I have and how heavy my workload is to try and pick an action that I can realistically fit in.  Some days I can work towards a few of my goals, on others it’s just one.  It could be as simple as a 15 minute workout on days that I am really stretched, but I know that I am one step closer to reaching my health and fitness goals, which gives me a boost.

Daily layouts a

At the end of each month, I go back to my 12 month plan and check off everything that I have achieved and start setting up for the new month.  This is the time when I do the most reflection.  I think about:

  • Are these goals still relevant?
  • Do I need to add to or change any of my goals?
  • Which activities couldn’t I check off last month?
    • Why?
    • What will I do differently next month?

Working through this process makes sure that by the end of the year, even if I haven’t achieved absolutely everything I aimed to, I will certainly be a lot closer to my goals than I would have otherwise.  Starting to see the crosses appear in my 12 month plan gives me a huge sense of achievement and I hope it will for you too.

This brings us to the end of the 6 week planning challenge in your bullet journal.  So, whatever your layout, however you plan, just try and incorporate some progress towards your goals every day.  If your goals scare you, try breaking them down into tiny chunks.  Even if it’s 15 minutes each day, to do some research, read an inspiring article, phoning or emailing someone that might be able to help you on your journey, it really is worth giving yourself that time.  I worked out earlier than even 15 minutes per day would total 91 hours of progress towards your goals over the next year.  Not too shabby!

Once you have completed the challenge, I would be really grateful if you could pop a quick comment below letting me know whether you have found it useful or any other feedback.  I would love to know.

Also…I did promise a small gift for anyone surviving the 6 weeks!  So, please do pop me an email to with your IG tag (if you have one), name and address and a little surprise will be with you shortly.

Please continue using #journalwithpurpose and I will look out for your pages to pop on the Inspiration Gallery.

Thank you again for following along with the challenge.  I have been so inspired to see your pages and your wonderful goals.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step’ –