Five Reasons to Start an Accomplishments Journal

Posted April 4, 2019 by Sophia / 14 Comments

accomplishments journalMaybe you’re like me.

You have the memory of the goldfish and can’t remember the little or big things that happen to you.

You like the bullet journal system, but you’ve tried it and failed. The system is too much for you because you’re a lazy bookwyrm like me and like pre-made but also want customization despite everyone saying it can be simple. (Hahaha, look at all the beautiful spreads spoiling my eyeballs. I’m not that talented.)

Why I’m starting an Accomplishments Journal

Back in July 2018, I put my discbound notebooks to use and turned it into a planner that I continue to use. But while it’s been helpful with looking at the present and ahead, I have a habit of throwing out my pages. So in February 2019, I decided to start an Accomplishments Journal, and maybe you’re wondering, “why an accomplishments journal?”

But first, what the hell is an accomplishments journal?

I tried googling what an accomplishments journal really is and all I’ve gathered is this: an accomplishments journal is a running list of one’s accomplishments and achievements over time.

I’m forgetful with milestones.

Whenever I reach a milestone on the blog, I’m super happy and excited because “Hey, look, people read my word vomit stuff and they enjoy it!” But then months down the road when I want to remember when I hit that milestone, I end up drawing a blank.

Plus with me throwing away my planner pages, I’m definitely going to forget. I can’t even remember what order belonged with who at work, how am I supposed to remember when I took over the world hit 500 Instagram followers?

It’s good to look back on.

You’re probably wondering, “wait, Sophia, why are you throwing away your planner pages?” But honestly, who wants to constantly see “assignment xyz” is due all the time? I don’t.

My accomplishments journal is set up month to month rather than weekly. It’s only listing the important things that I want to remember years from now or things I want to look back on. I want to come back to my journal 5 years and remember, “Hey, this happened at this time!” or say, “Look, I’ve grown!”

Or hide somewhere because 26-year-old me thinks 21-year-old me is embarrassing as I think of my 15-year-old self. Embarrassment sounds likely, but maybe less. Why am I thinking that far ahead.

It helps me keep it simple.

I’ve learned from the few planning and organization systems that I’ve started, abandoned, then returned to, the pattern is always the same: I overthink. (But I overthink everything.) I make things more complicated than what I really need, which ends up being overwhelming.

The same goes with bullet journaling for me. I overthink it. A month by month layout for me is about 2-3 pages: an overview, books I read throughout the month (not including textbooks and ones for fun, aka poetry and graphic novels/manga), and stats. I usually take up about a whole sheet, but who knows if I’ll use a third one day. With only a few pages dedicated to each month, there’s little room for me to overthink.

Everyone says bullet journaling can be as simple or as complicated as I want it to be. An accomplishments journal lets me do whatever I want bullet journal style, only I list it accomplishments rather than track my daily life or habits. #NailedIt

I’m a Stressed Ball of Stress™

I originally wanted to start a Happiness Journal rather than an Accomplishments Journal, taking a few minutes out of my day to list 3 things/people/events that have made me happy some point in the day.

But then I switched it over because:

  1. That’s overthinking and making it more complicated.
  2. Can I really think of 3 things that make me happy without repeating myself?
  3. I’ll forget later anyway, see number 1.

There’s so much negativity and stress in my life that at times I feel like I’m constantly drowning. Sometimes I feel like there is little greatness and happiness in the world. I just want a place where I can think about the little things that happened throughout the month.

A planner that lists all my deadlines does not make a happy Sophia.

A journal that lists little things that actually brought some joy makes a happier Sophia.

When I look back at the overview, I’m only seeing positive vibes. Forget being told that blogging is a waste of time. Or that I have bills that make my account closer to zero than away. Or that someone made me cry for saying something hurtful. And if I’m at a low point when I feel everything sucks, this is proof that good things have happened. “My life does not suck horribly – look at this small but significant to me accomplishment.”

It keeps more things in one place.

When you’re a forgetful dragon like me, it’s nice to keep things in one place. As much as I love hoarding notebooks, keeping 2-3 pages a month lets me use my journal longer, which means fewer notebooks lying around all lost. My current journal is 80 pages and at my current rate, I’ll be using this journal for nearly 6 years before I need a new one. 😱

Do you have an accomplishments journal? Do you use a bullet journal? Are you an overthinker like me?

accomplishments journal

Sophia

Owner at Bookwyrming Thoughts
Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is sorted in Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Other than BWT, she can be found at Project Canvas, Stay Bookish Zine, The Arts STL and 60 Seconds Online Magazine.

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14 responses to “Five Reasons to Start an Accomplishments Journal

  1. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST, because yes hello I “read your (word vomit) stuff and enjoy it”!! also heck yes, you deserve ALL the positivity in your life, Soph 💕

    personally I just jot down accomplishments, milestones, and happy(ish) memories on the daily/weekly bullet journal spread, then I photograph every page to keep in a Google Photos album once I’ve finished the journal – but an accomplishments-specific journal will definitely last longer, so it’s on the list of inserts I need to include when I switch to a traveler’s notebook 📔📔📔

    Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites recently posted: Prescheduling, Blog Organization & Mood Blogging #BESpring2019
  2. Great post! This is a neat concept. I have neither a happiness or accomplishments journal. This has made me consider the accomplishments journal tho! I’ve never kept a bullet journal. I keep thinking about it, but it just doesn’t feel right for me. Well… more like, I have no energy to devote to creating one. I keep important things at the top of my current reviews file, and copy it over when I start a new one. This includes my list of deadlines for reviews, blog tours, etc.

    • That’s perfectly okay! People usually say a bullet journal can be as easy or complicated as you want it, which is true, but it is SO OVERWHELMING for first timers. I think an accomplishments is a fantastic start if you want to try out a bullet journal, but don’t want to overwhelm yourself – since mine is monthly, it sort of forces me to take it one step at a time. There’s no key, not much decorating, which is perfect for me. But what works for me may not work for you. At the end of the day, though, if you have a system that works for you, that’s awesome and what matters the most. <3

  3. I’ve started a bullet journal a million times and epically fail. Now, I’ve bought one that’s kinda like a pre-made bullet journal and it works for me when I remember to look at it… *Bangs head on table*

    An accomplishments journal sounds like a good idea. My memory is like a sieve, I retain only the big clunky stuff.

    • I hope so! Personally I find it’s a good start to bullet journaling – you’re really just doing a monthly list of accomplishments rather than weekly or daily. Let me know if you give it a try and see how it goes!