2021 Bullet Journal Set Up For Beginners



2021 is my second year of journaling, I’ve struggled with it over the years until I discovered bullet journalling. So I’m still pretty new to it, but a few friends have asked how I do mine, so I thought I’d share a super quick video. 

I like using the framework of the bullet journal technique to give me structure and focus, but I always leave room each month for writing thoughts, feelings, dreams and any other kind of stuff. I’ve got a blog post about my technique, but basically I love to experiment and try new things out. It’s important to me that it never feels like a chore. I want to enjoy it so if something doesn’t work for me, I’ll drop it in the next month and maybe try something else.

Really all you need is a notebook and a pen, but I am a bit of a stationary geek so this is what I’ve got in my pencil case. 

I am using Leuchtturm 1917 dotted A5 journals, I love the size and the variety of colours and that fact that over the years they will look nice sitting on the shelf together. The dotted paper is also an important choice, it helps give me reference when I’m formating my page, but without distracting or restricting you like lines or a grid would. 

In 2020 my colour was coral, but in 2021 I am strongly drawn to the colour yellow. I even bought a retro yellow phone recently and I still love gold, so there’s definitely a sunshine vibe going on with me for this year.

My set up for 2021 is pretty basic, I love the idea of having beautiful illustrations throughout my journal, but I am prone to overthinking things so I just kept it simple. I might get more creative later on during the year when I’m in the mood, but I have both a perfectionist and lazy streak, both of which can be creatively paralysing, so I just started without much of a plan.


In 2020 I spent ages illustrating a beautiful title page and I wasn’t sure what to do this year, so I decided to leave it to the end in this video.


The first pages are for my future log. I won’t explain how to use it here because you can watch the videos on the Bullet Journal YouTube page, where Ryder Carroll, the guy who invented the bullet journal technique, explains it all for you.

I already made my first mistake in setting up the dates, but I guess it’s always good to get the first mistake out of the way early and a little bit of white out did the trick.


The next page is for my goals. I am a little cautious about setting too many goals this year, in 2020 I made lots and lots of goals and didn’t achieve many of them, so I’d like to be gentler on myself this year. But I do find it useful to give me some direction so I definitely want to maintain goal setting.

This page set up is inspired by Shayda Campbells 2021 bullet journal set up, I love her work and have learnt a lot from watching her videos over the last year. If you want to learn how to create beautiful and easy-to-follow floral designs, she’s very inspiring. 


This is actually inspired by Simple Happy Zen and her minimalist bullet journal set up. I lead a very minimalist lifestyle so I thought this is a great idea. Basically, during the year, whenever I think I want to buy something, I’m going to list it in this box and sit on it for a while so that I can be absolutely sure it’s really necessary. That way I will hopefully avoid any unnecessary purchases. 


The brain dump is also inspired by other bullet journalers. Any time I have thoughts and ideas I don’t know what to do with, I’ll just put it here and I’ve drawn some flowers that my thoughts can fertilise.


Because I want my journal to be a positive and empowering tool, I decided to introduce a couple of pages where I can list the people and things that have inspired me in the coming year. That way, whenever I feel stuck or frustrated with myself, I can remind myself of these people or things and transform my feelings into hope and inspiration.


I also decided that this year I would like to have a reading log so I can look back and see all the books and audiobooks I’ve read. I’m keeping the pages pretty blank for now because I’m not quite sure how to list them yet.


And finally, although I have nothing to show you yet, I’ve left a couple of empty pages so I can have a bit of fun and do a yearly oracle reading for myself for the year ahead. Last year I did what they call a medicine wheel, but really all it was was that I picked a card for each month for the year ahead. It was really astounding to look back recently and see that they all came true. So I’m curious to see if the oracle cards will be the same for this next year. It’s a bit of fun anyway.

So that’s it for my 2021 year set up. I will be uploading my January monthly set up very soon. 



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