Monthly Highlights: January

Another blog series on journaling, brought to you by COURTNEY LYNN!

That is how I envision myself introducing this post to you if it was in video format. But alas, I am far too awkward and ramble WAAAY to much to ever consider vlogging. Kudos to all of you who have the patience to do all that work! And for feeling comfortable doing it!

Anyway, I am slowly moving this blogversation (get it, aha? yes, I am FULL of “Mom,” jokes already hah), off topic. Let’s refocus our efforts here, shall we?

I mentioned in another post on journaling that I have monthly pages or things I put into my journal’s to help keep my life organized, help keep me on track with my goals, etc. I figured I would do a few snapshots each month, along with some of my own reflections on what I did well, what I can improve, and see if anyone else out there has suggestions to help me better myself/my journaling experience!

I’ll also include any major progress that has been made (if any), on some of my annual pages. Basically this is a way for me to hold myself accountable, share some of my original creations I am most proud of, and maybe give some of your newbie journalers some inspiration to keep going!

Remember: the mistakes you make, make your journal your own! 😉 Channel some Bob Ross and think, happy little accidents. 

The first page I created while I was on my Christmas break was this cover page for January.


I really enjoy doing cover pages for my months (and incorporating a little Dutch) as I think it helps kind of section off the different parts of your journal. I was really proud of this idea, because it felt super unique compared to the “standard themes,”  that a lot of people select for their journals.

Next up, is my habit tracker! I have already showed you guys my habit tracker when it was half filled in, but here it is totally done *clears throat awkwardly*.


As you can see, I started off the year REALLY strong and then my interest in filling it out kind of dwindled. In fact, this tends to happen to me quite a bit with my habit trackers. Most months I create a habit tracker and am like YES I AM A BADASS AND I CAN DO THIS. Then it tapers off, and I totally forget about them. It really is tough to delegate your time appropriately when there is so much you want to accomplish!

Below I will go through my weakest habit areas:

  1. NOVEL WRITING. Like hi, hello, one of my life goals is to become published one day, and I totally forgot that piece of myself in January I guess. Anyway, I already addressed how I would fix this come February, and I really hope that I stick to trading in my reading time for writing/revising time.
  2. Crocheting. Yeah….this is one of those habits that is a struggle to incorporate if I am spending 98% of my time reading. Since I padded my reading goals pretty good in January, I’m thinking I can step it up in the crocheting arena next month.
  3. Working out. I know, I know. I’m not giving up on this one though. It’s just been cold. I was really depressed this month. It was hard. I went more than once, so I am proud of myself for that.
  4. Prayers. This should be like my number one concern. I need to get better at this. I want to be more spiritual. I need to really just make time. Also, I’m a harsh critique when it comes to this. Because sometimes I see the box isn’t checked and so I say a quick prayer and then I’m like “does that even count?” All that Catholic guilt man. A vicious cycle all around. I will try to start and end my day with God on the mind though. And slow my roll on rolling over and instantly picking up my phone.

If I am being honest. These were the only ones that I had major concerns with. If you know me personally and see this, you know it’s a very big deal for me not to drink everyday anymore. I am really cutting back from the “functioning alcoholic status,” so I am really freaking proud about that.

Really quickly, I mentioned how I also include some traditional elements to my bullet journal. One main element that I make sure I take the time to set up is my monthly spread. This helps me visualize what social events I have going on for the month, important dates, and also what some of my major goals are. It’s basically just a calendar spread that I fill in as the month goes on.


Alright, now let’s move onto my reading pages. So I won’t go into detail on the individual review pages that I’ve already shared. Also, I feel like I’m losing some steam/motivation to do them. I definitely enjoy doing the quote(s) page, but like beyond that…I think I might go back to typing out reviews on here and inserting a picture here and there for fun. We’ll see.

This is my rolling list that I am keeping in Journal #2, until I run out of space.


As you can see, I read seven [d: zeven] books in January [d: januari]! And I am so pleased that out of these , five [d: vifj] were female writers and two [d: twee] were from my diverse female writers list. Now I recognize I still have more work to go as far as reading more diversely. But this is already better than my stats from last year. Seriously I read one non-white female! I couldn’t believe it. This year things are changing already. 🙂

I also have decided that instead of weighing myself weekly (because it fluctuates so much if we’re being honest), I am going to do so monthly. So here is my progress on both the exercise tracker AND the weight loss tracker.


As you can see I am halfway down with my gym exercise tracker. I haven’t even touched the non gym going one yet, but I really need to give that one a shot. My goal is to complete 14 at home work outs and the rest of my gym exercise tracker for the month of February [d: februari]. And I am down a few pounds, so that is good [d: dat is goed]! Only four more pounds before I will “splurge,” on a new, fancy water bottle. 🙂 All in all, for how cold the month’s been, I am proud of myself for at least setting foot in the gym a handful of times.

And finally, I want to include some of my favorite daily pages. I have blurred some personal content, but otherwise, I hope you still enjoy these pages!

That tape matched perfectly with a photo I found on Pinterest. Seriously it was a total, happy accident!
Mostly shared this one for the centered quote on page two! I think it’s so important!

^^ Was trying to be a little artsy. The first page was a prompt from journalingyourway. And the next two were basically me fangirling about the “live,” version of Rent on FOX.

Lastly, I was just excited about this spread overall! And it was a great night to definitely remember! Pens won!

So that was everything in Journals #2 and #3. Let’s talk about Journal #1 aka my Language Learning Journal. So progress has been made on the 365 words in Dutch pages. I now have two pages of words completed! I’ve shown you the first one completed, so now I’ll show you the next page with the overflow as it wasn’t exactly two full pages, but slightly more! 🙂


Out of the thirty-one [d: eenendertig] words [d: woorden], there are only about ten [d: tien] I don’t know. I am going to include reviewing them (and eventual conjugation of the verbs), in my daily Dutch lessons. Which I will alternate with French in February. 

So all in all, I think I did ok. There’s always room to grow and improve, but I am fairly satisfied that I stuck with journaling for a full month now!

Anyone else out there proud of certain designs/spreads? How is everyone’s habit tracking & goal setting going this year? I want to hear it all!


The Long Term Goal Conversation

Now that we’ve all gotten those resolutions for the year off our chest and January is nearly gone, let’s talk about what comes next.

Like so many people out there, I am complicated. My hobbies are multi-faceted, and it can be a real challenge to prioritize accomplishments. I want to get so much out of this single life I have, how can I make my dreams into more of a reality?

Most of us will undoubtedly lose that spark of enthusiasm that jetted us off into 2019. The mantras containing “new year, new you,” will be forgotten for another 348 days. So how do we keep ourselves moving towards our goals? I’m sure there are many ways to motivate yourself. And everyone will find that their ways of motivating themselves is different. But for me, I find that keeping my long term goals alive, involves my journals.

Shocked? I know right? I have talked about my journal experience more in 2019 than I have since I began my journey with it two years ago. But I swear, writing things down really helps me visualize where I am going/what I need to do in order to get to a specific endpoint. 

And yes, you read that correctly. I have more than one journal that I use for achieving my goals. A little crazy? Maybe. But I promise you it will make sense once I explain it a bit more to you.

So in order to prepare my journals for 2019, I did an overall goals page. I split up everything I wanted to achieve into six major categories. Here they are below:

  1. Creative Goals (includes craft projects also)
  2. Health & Fitness Goals
  3. Financial Goals
  4. Marriage Goals
  5. Spiritual Goals
  6. Language Learning Goals

I won’t share all the information or details on two of the six goal areas since they contain private information, but I will at least give you the basics and my tips for tracking my progress for the rest (once I figure it all out). It is a LONG post, so I placed them beneath the cut for your convenience.  Read More »

New Year, New Reading Goals!

Happy New Year All [d: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar]! I hope everyone is having a good start to 2019! But even if you aren’t enjoying yourself today or are going through some difficulties it doesn’t mean your year still can’t be good. This is just the beginning. Every day is an opportunity for you to be the best version of yourself. The year just makes up the bigger picture of a bunch of tiny goals that you can set for yourself each day. So even something that starts off as ugly can transform into something beautiful.

In keeping with tradition, I am going to catalog my goals for reading for the year. Originally, they seemed pretty simple, but the more I thought about them, the more involved they appeared to get. So some of my goals come with stipulations and sub bullet points. But I think these goals will make my reading experience in 2019 more meaningful.

  • I am adopting a “read what you own,” mindset. (After today though because I just bought 7 books from B&N online haha). Like many others in the bookish community, I have WAY too many books that remain unread on my shelf. I need to knock some off my TBR shelf and onto my read shelf (and maybe get some new shelves), and I am hopeful this will finally be the year I achieve that! Or at least, the year I have more read than unread books.
  • With that goal comes another one. I am putting some rules in place for my purchasing habits. Quite a few in fact that this section comes with sub bullet points:
    • I will continue with my BoTM subscription, but I will only allow myself 12 books throughout the course of the year. I have two credits left over already, so I think I shouldn’t have any problems with maintaining this.
    • For every five books that I have owned from 2018 or before, I will allow myself to purchase 1 book.
      • I plan on only purchasing books from female authors as I would like to broaden my horizons this year and learn more about different cultures and see things from different perspectives. I also have some works from diverse, male writers that I would also be open to exploring as well.
  • The above, doubly subbed(? idek if that’s a  word) point ties in with my next goal of this year. To read more diversely. I think the number of books I read by diverse authors in 2018 was in the single digits. I want to change that and have read at least 10 by diverse, female authors. I also want to give a boost to these types of books as I feel they after often overlooked by most of those “Bookstagram influencers.”
    • Also, there is a great sub-community of Bookstagram emerging this year called thebookcult. It is headed by tablereading, who is all about diversity and inclusion. She’s fierce and holds a lot of “unpopular” opinions by the white majority of Bookstagram, but I believe her intentions are honest and noble. Having talked with her a couple of times on DM, I know she has a good heart and truly just wants to be an ally and help fight the good fight. A lot of my goals are inspired by her and this group. While I might not strictly read female or diversely this year, I am going to increase my stats in both of these areas.
  • Another goal I have in mind for this year, is to write some meaningful reviews within my bullet journal. I didn’t use it a lot for this last year, and I want to kind of the way I use it for this year. I will have a separate post that will include all of my bullet journal goals for this year, so stay tuned for that if you’re interested.
  • With regards to NetGalley reads and my Amazon Kindle, I would like to try and eventually read everything I have right now on it and then maybe raffle it in a giveaway. I don’t know if this will end up being a 2019 or a 2020 goal, but it is something I have been considering for a while. I also think I will refrain from requesting NetGalley ARCs this year. I think I got into the business of doing it because I wanted to be “cool,” and get “ARCS.” I think I’m done trying to be what I think Bookstagram wants me to be. I am going to stay true to myself this year, and do my own thing.
  • As far as reading challenges and readathons go, I will definitely be doing the Bout of Books week long challenges hosted by Amanda Shofner & Kelly Rubidoux Apple, and the Beat the Backlist challenge hosted by NovelKnight. This year I am also doing the Hogwarts Mini challenge that is included in the Beat the Backlist challenge. This is another way to track your reads and earn points for your house. All of my fellow Hufflepuffs should join with me! But even if you don’t do the Hogwarts Mini challenge, you should sign up for Beat the Backlist. Especially if one of your goals is to read books you own from 2018 or later! Also for another component to Beat the Backlist is that you participate in a photo challenge with one of their prompts. I am going to tell myself to do one per month, but I might end up doing more if there’s a good one.
  • And finally, I am aiming to read forty [d: veertig] books this year for my Goodreads challenge. If I end early, I will increase the count by ten [d: tien], like I did last year.

So that is it as far as my bookish goals are concerned. I have a lot of other personal goals that I might catalog in another post, especially since I think this blog might include more than bookish content in future.

What goals does everyone else have for themselves this year? Anyone in need of a cheerleader for any of them?

Until next time my bookish buds!