A Better You, Old Or New: Documentation, Reflection, And Preparation For 2019

Whether you cringe at the mere mention of resolutions and vision boards, or you have a twelve-point plan to achieve this year’s goals, you can benefit from starting 2019 with documentation, reflection, and preparation.

Is it just me, or was 2018 simultaneously the shortest and longest year ever? Regardless, a new year is here. Whether you cringe at the mere mention of resolutions and vision boards, or you have a twelve-point plan to achieve this year’s goals, you can benefit from starting 2019 with documentation, reflection, and preparation: documentation of what you have achieved and accomplished over the past year; reflection on what should be left in the past, continued into the future, and started anew this year; and preparation to make 2019 your best year yet.

Everyone has their own way of doing this; my way is with my bullet journal:


If you use any kind of planner on a regular – bordering on religious – basis, throw your hands in the air. *throws hands in the air* My planner of choice is called a Bullet Journal. You can get the gist of what bullet journaling at its core is over on the official website, but what bullet journaling is (for me) is basically a Do-It-Yourself planner. This is a place to keep track of the past, present, and future. A place to make plans, set intentions, and document progress. A place to keep my mental, physical, and emotional health in check. Basically, a bullet journal can be whatever you need it to be. The beauty of it is that when you need it to be different, you can switch it up immediately without having to wait for a new year or a new planner. Here is a peek into how I use my bullet journal, especially when it comes to documenting, reflecting, and preparing for the year ahead.



2018 was a blur. I had forgotten much of what last year entailed until I documented it with an “I Did That Sh*t!” list. This idea came from Stefanie with The Focus on You. In December’s newsletter, Stefanie discussed ways to take inventory of your year. Of course, there was the obligatory vision board recommendation and mention of several writing exercises. However, what stood out to me was the “I Did That Sh*t!” list. Why? Because it is a documentation celebration! It forced me to remember what I did and didn’t do in 2018 that made me proud of me. That surprised me. That made me thankful and grateful to me. Yes, this sounds highly narcissistic and self-absorbed (adjectives which may or may not describe me in real life…), and this list is a great way for those who are not necessarily so comfortable with singing their own praises to realize just how much they have accomplished. Additionally, acknowledging your achievements will help you gauge what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year.

I wrote down my IDTS list in my bullet journal. Since I carry it with me everywhere, I can easily refer to my list when imposter syndrome has me feeling useless. Next to the list, I also made a note of what I want to leave in 2018, bring into 2019, and start new in the new year. This way, I acknowledge the successes and strengths alongside the needs for improvement.




I have been choosing a word of the year for a while now, but I usually either forget about or abandon it before the spring flowers start to bloom. This year wasn’t as bad, probably since I decided to write a post about it. While I didn’t necessarily keep my word in mind all year, it’s safe to say that this year has been one of perseverance:

  • I persevered and made it through my third year of teaching, which culminated in attending the graduation of my first class of students. 😭😭😭
  • I moved and stumbled through the job search process, but I persevered, ending up in a position I adore and in the field that I have been aching to return to.
  • I have persevered through another year of motherhood, which this year threw prepubescent tween angst my way. Thankfully, The Sibs persevered with me, and together, we have managed to make it to the end of 2018 with two happy, healthy kids.

To choose 2019’s “word”, I did some reflecting and asked myself: what do I want to embody next year? What kind of mood, vibe, feeling do I want 2019 to have? My answer: the same mood/vibe/feeling I had towards the end of 2018: “auspiciously audacious.” Yes, that is technically a phrase, not just one word, but to know me is to know that I am always doing THE most. Whatevs.


“Auspiciously audacious” is what happens when Divine Alignment meets Determined Confidence. The Creator has been good lookin’ out for your girl, placing opportunities in front of me for which I was perfectly fit. That’s where the audacity comes in: turning 30 sent my confidence through the roof in such a way that I knew I was the perfect fit and communicated that fact effectively. “What is for you, is for you”, but it will not be yours unless you go get it!





One of my favorite things about a new year is the attitude of self-improvement. A lot of people find it corny or annoying, but I’m here for it every single year; after all, what better time to prepare yourself to set, meet, and exceed goals than the celebration of another revolution around the sun? A few ways that I use my bullet journal to prepare for a successful new year:

  • Vision “Board”: Keeping it in my journal helps keep me focused and accountable. I have looked at it daily since I created it, and it has already helped me immensely.


  • Quarterly Goals: As much as I love planning for the future, my brain tends to go into overload when I try to set goals for the entire year. Breaking them into 3-month chunks works much better for me, but you do whatever works for you.


  • Trackers: In my personal bullet journal (I also have one for work), I like to document what goes on in my life from week to week. An especially helpful piece of this is my tracker, in which I document various habits that I am cultivating along with my mood, energy, and productivity. This is a MAJOR key to maintaining a healthy mental state for me, and I highly encourage anyone who has or is struggling with their mental health to try it out.


This post didn’t quite make it in time for January 1st. But that’s ok; it is never too late to document, reflect, and prepare for a new year. Some people take the whole month to complete the process. Whether you fill a poster with magazine clippings, jot down a list on a sticky note, or type your goals in your phone’s notes, writing down your dreams, plans, and goals is the first and most important step to a better you, whether it is old or new.

Happy New Year!


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