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Should You Always Start A New Journal In January? Including 2020 Flip Through!

by Hayley Remde 07 Dec 2020 0 Comments

Hey again! It’s Hayley here (@hayleyremdeart on Instagram), and today I'm going to talk about whether you NEED to start a fresh journal at the start of every year.

I always see this topic come up as we get to the end of the year, and as someone who used to be wholeheartedly on Team Fresh Start, but now leans more towards Team Switch Whenever, I thought I could talk about the pros and cons of both. Either way, keep in mind that this is all about personal preference. There's no right or wrong way it's solely down to what works for you!

journal stack

Recommended Supplies:

  • Archer and Olive Journal – As always, it will be no surprise to you that my pick is the Archer and Olive Journal. The lovely and thick pages have no bleeding or ghosting, so you get a clean start for every project spread! Also, it means you can decorate the spread without worrying about it. You can even use my affiliate code HAYLEY10 for 10% off everything on their website.
  • Pencil – To carefully plan out your ideas so you can make sure your spread has everything you need.
  • Decorative Touch (optional) – This could be anything from washi to acrylographs, or of course, nothing! I usually like to add a personal touch to my spreads so they’re more fun to use and look at.


Team Fresh Start

journal flatlay

So the main reason most people start a new journal before they finish their current one is to get a fresh start. Even Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal method strongly recommends starting a fresh journal at the start of every year. You can see his thoughts on the subject here. In short, he believes starting a new journal in January lets you leave behind the 'junk' of last year and 'move homes' into your new journal.

I myself bought into this for a long time. I think a lot of us tend to place a lot of importance on the new year, and for me it just seemed a good time to start fresh, make new goals and resolutions and get excited for a better year. But the more years I was journalling, the more I felt impending doom at carefully planning out how many pages I was using each month and planning for the new year in the busiest month of December.

Many people are speak to are in Team Fresh Start just because they haven't questioned whether this is actually best for them. Some have has similar problems that I had such as leaving journals with many pages left unused and struggling to plan for the new year over the Christmas period. If this is you, keep reading for some of the benefits to switching journals whenever.


Team Switch Whenever

box stack

Starting a journal in February!? The horror! Or maybe not... In fact starting my new journal in February is something I did at the beginning of this year, and believe it or not I enjoyed it far more than when I push myself to set up in January. For 2021, I think I'll be moving too my new journal in March, because that's when I will have finished my current one.

But enough about me, here's the actual reasons to consider becoming Team Switch Whenever:

Not Putting Off Starting a Journal

I see so many people putting off starting bullet journalling because they're waiting for the new year. Even in months as early as August and September, people don't want to start a new journal because as soon as they get going they'll have to start fresh in January. So they're missing out of months of planning, organisation and learning just because we've all bought into this idea that we HAVE to start a fresh journal at the start of the year. Above anything, surely planning is better than not, so you pick up that journal and when it gets to January, just keep going!


Not Worrying About Page Use

Planning out how many pages I could use each month was a constant battle for me. It actually made me more unproductive for what I needed and wanted, because some months I would have to go without certain spreads because I couldn't fit them in. Others I would add in unnecessary spreads so at least they were used before I switched. When you're happy to switch your journal whenever, you don't have this problem because you create the spreads you need and switch when you need: simple!


The Joy of a Completely Filling a Journal

I hate leaving journals half empty, do you? And that happened a few times because I filled journals part way through the year and switched to another for the last few months. But then I HAD to switch in January for a new start, right? Now I get much more joy out of filling journals than I do starting a new one in January because I feel like I have to!

full journal


Not Staying in a Journal You're Not Happy With

On the other side of this argument, people actually stay in journals they're not happy and aren't working for them because they'll just switch in January. On this point, I just think why stick with something that is impacting you ability to productively plan. If it's going to be better for you to switch now because your pages are bleeding etc. I say just do it!


Not Trying To Plan Your Year In December

I've already touched on this a little bit, but isn't December one of the busiest months of the year? So why are we rushing to plan our whole new year out in this time? I found it much more productive to actually plan the new year late January once everything has calmed down a little. And there's nothing saying you can't create some new year spreads in your current journal to get the feeling of a fresh start without have to switch out of a journal before it's complete!


So Which Team Is Better? 

journal flatlay

Well the answer to this question in whichever works for you. It took me years to accept that I may not have to start a fresh journal every January. And maybe that works for you and it always will. But if you're having problems I've talked about about and you think just switching out a journal whenever you want could work for you more, give it a go!


2020 Flip Through

And as a bonus if you've made it this far, here's what my last bullet journal looked like now I've found what works for me. I included months February to July, and I used ALL of the pages:


If you were on the fence about what to do, I hope I've given you some help on what would work best for you! Whatever you do this January, I would love to see your creations, so tag me on Instagram (@hayleyremdeart) and use #hayleyremdeinspired to get the chance to get your creations featured in my stories!

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