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How a bullet journal can help you with your habits and your happiness

Introduction to Bullet Journals

A Bullet Journal (“BuJo” for short) is a versatile tool that can be used as a todo list, a diary, a planner and much more. The idea of a Bullet Journal was created by a New York Designer named Ryder Carroll. It was created as a simple way to “help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” It is a flexible tool that can be adapted to each person.

A Bullet Journal differs from a traditional diary. It is a quick and dirty way to capture information and is not intended for consumption by anyone other than the author. It should only take a couple of minutes a day to complete. Instead of writing long paragraphs you use symbols to designate the content type and then just write a sentence or two. You can learn more about about Bullet Journals at the official website.

Bullet Journals are typically “analog” (written in a good old fashioned paper book.) However you can use whatever tool works best for you. You can use index cards, a Word document or even an app on your phone. I use a Bullet Journal app called Journey on my phone but even a note taking app would work. Choose the tool that works for you.

Bullet Journal for habits and happiness

The brilliant thing about Bullet Journals is they can be customized however you want. This being a blog about habits and happiness, I want to show you can example of a simple Bullet Journal that can help you in those areas. The idea of Bullet Journalling has been described by mental health professionals as “a toothbrush for the mind.”

I use my Bullet Journal to track:
  • Intentions.
  • Emotions.
  • Gratitude.

To keep it quick and easy I use shortcuts to designate each category.

@ is for intentions,
) is emotions,
+ is gratitude

@ ~ Intention

I use this bullet to set my implementation intention for the day and help with habit formation. This can be my current habit or it can be deciding ahead of time how I want to behave in a given situation. This is incredibly important because people who set implementation intentions are 2 – 3 times more likely to follow through. You can read more about implementation intentions here.

) ~ Emotion

I use this to work on my emotional intelligence by noting how I feel. I choose from the 4 basic emotions of “happiness”, “sadness”, “fear” and “anger” and add a quick note explaining why I feel that way. By becoming aware of my emotions I can then work on managing them which builds my EQ and helps with my happiness.

+ ~ Gratitude

I use this to note one thing I am grateful for each day. It must be different every day. People who practice gratitude on a daily basis have been shown to be measurably more happy. 


Here is an example of a Bullet Journal.

@ when I finish lunch then I will go for a walk.
) happy. got a lot done at work.
+ grateful we have the means to buy good food.

@ when I finish lunch then I will go for a walk.
) happy. got out for a nice walk at lunch.
+ grateful i could leave early from work


A Bullet Journal is a simple but effective tool. I use it to record my intentions, feelings and gratitude, all of which are proven to help with habits and happiness. The great thing about Bullet Journals is they are completely customization and you can add categories over time as you wish. Its a nice feeling to jot down these things in your journal. Give it a try, it really is like a toothbrush for the mind!