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How to Setup Your Bullet Journal for 2021

by Guest Blogger 11 Dec 2020 4 Comments

Hi loves! It's Kate from @journalwithkate and I'm back with some inspiration for your 2021 bullet journal setup! 2021 is just around the corner! Around this time people start to think about planning for the new year. Have you gotten yourself your 2021 bujo yet? My pick is the A5 Moon Flowers Dot Grid Journal. I can't get over how beautiful this journal is! The color really matches my vibe! Click on this link or use code KATE10 to save money on your order!

If you're new to bullet journaling, I've got you covered! In this blog we're going to cover a lot of yearly spread ideas. Read until the end, I've got a useful freebie for ya! 

Bullet journaling isn't really a supply heavy hobby. All you really need is a good bullet journal and a pen. 

Back in the days, when I started my bullet journal journey, I used to look up examples of yearly spreads on Pinterest and I would end up with so many yearly spreads: from a year at a glance to series trackers. Over the years I found which spreads work best for me. Nowadays I create a handful of spreads for my yearly setup. Let me show you some examples.

Title page

Although it's not a functional spread, I like to start my bullet journal by creating a big title page to mark the beginning of a new year. 

Ready for some inspo on how to setup a 2021 title page? Watch this video and learn how to set up the title page in minutes! 

I set this easy peasy spread up within 5 minutes! And I absolutely love how the layering effect turned out. You can download this free printable as well as a 2021 year at a glance calendar down below. I printed it on vellum (transparent paper) to be able to create a layering effect. 


At this point I know which symbols I use un my bullet journal and what they mean, but I feel like my bullet journal isn't complete without a key spread. And I absolutely love creating this spread. 

According to Ryder Carroll, the inventor of the bullet journal system, there are symbols he uses consistently on his bullet journal pages. If you haven’t used these symbols before, having a key on hand is really helpful.

A bullet journal key or legend is simply a handy reference guide that you create to remind you what colors, letters, or symbols you use in your bullet journal to signify various tasks.

Year at a glance

One of the very first spreads people put in their bullet journal is the year at a glance. I find that writing out all the calendars is so calming! You either love it or hate it. A way to make it easy is to print a calendar and stick it in your bullet journal. Another fun way is using calendar stickers.



    Future log

    The future log is a great reference guide for planning out your entire year. They are so useful to marking holidays, birthdays, and other important dates. Future logs are a must have in your yearly setup. They make planning easier and are a fantastic reference when creating your monthly and weekly spreads.

    Goal setting

    Write down goals you have and a plan for getting there with mini deadlines. 

    Reading log 

    Keep record of the books you read, when you read them, favorite quotes, and your thoughts/ rating. 

    More trackers: workout & period

    There are so much more trackers you can add in your yearly setup. Some examples are:

    • Movies/ TV shows/ Podcast I need to watch
    • Skincare tracker
    • Healthy habit tracker
    • Mood tracker
    • Sleep log
    • Birthday tracker
    • Period tracker

    Which ones would work best for you?

    Social media ideas/ stats 

    When growing your online presence, having a place to track your own growth and dump ideas can be helpful. Remember not to get obsessed with the numbers though. It's more about sharing what you're passionate about. 

    About me

    While you're busy setting up functional yearly spreads, add in some fun 'about me' spreads. These are so much fun looking back at after a couple of years. 



    I've showed you a handful of yearly spread ideas. Remember, you don't have to add all the fancy yearly spread out there. Just pick the ones that are useful to you. I hope you find this blogpost helpful and you'll start setting up your 2021 yearly spreads! I'd love to see what you create, so tag me (@journalwithkate) and @archerandolive on Instagram. 

    Good luck and have fun! 

    Download your printable freebie here:


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    08 Jul 2021 Danielle

    Hello :) I’m a beginner at bullet journaling! I’ve always wanted to start one but never knew where to start I bought my first journal for it and supplies and watched some YouTube videos but I’m having trouble figuring out how to start my bullet journal? I’d appreciate it a lot if you could tell me what my first couple steps are to setting my journal up?
    Thank you so much! :)

    28 Apr 2021 Alycia

    This was really useful! I also would love the know where you bought the feather stamps from! Thank you

    28 Apr 2021 Jamee

    Thank you so much for this introduction to bullet journaling. I have adult ADHD, and I’ve only just recently (in my late 40’s) learned to do daily journalling to stay organized. I also only recently learned I have some talent for drawing, so I want to start combining the two so I can learn to love my daily task of journaling and planning.

    28 Apr 2021 Kajal Chitroda

    I love your bullet journal ideas.

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