4 Reasons To Bullet Journal

4 Reasons To Bullet Journal

Because Bullet Journaling is a much better planner than your iPhone calendar.

If you've talked to me at all over the past four months, you've probably seen my little black journal that almost never leaves my side. Now, even though I'm not keeping a diary or making a journal of all the things I hear during the day that I could turn into a short story or poem, that little black journal is still really important. That's because I've recently put myself into the family of bullet journalists all over the world.

Bullet Journaling is basically a fancy way of saying, "I'm making my own planner out of to do lists and trackers." I've given up on Erin Condren and Lilly Pulitzer for making the best planner, and now I'm doing it myself. If you're finding it's hard to keep your life on track, and regular planners are hard to keep up with, here are a few reasons why you should also start your own bullet journal.

1. You can make it however you like.

Even though there are general guidelines for bullet journals, ultimately the bullet journal is something you create and you work on until you're absolutely pleased with your layout.

2. It's just a bunch of "to do" lists

Which are a whole lot more satisfying to check off than just writing your tasks in a planner.

3. You can keep track of anything and everything else

Even though my bullet journal is mostly to-do lists, several Bullet Journalists also keep track of their reading lists, weight loss goals, bucket lists, their mood and anxiety levels, memories, and many other pieces that they want to keep at their hand's reach.

4. It will definitely keep you organized

I had the hardest time before the bullet journal keeping up with my assignments, all the things I needed to get done that weren't school-related, and knowing what I was doing at any given time—and all of that is because regular planners just didn't work out for me. The Bullet Journal is the best system I've ever come across for actually motivating me to use it daily, and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Cover Image Credit: bulletjournaljoy.com

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21 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Aspire To Be More Self-Aware

How fulfilling is my every-day life?

Sometimes, we forget to take a step back and observe our lives. We forget that we are human too, that we make mistakes, and that we are always capable of change. We move on, we forgive, we create new memories, and we develop new habits... but how often do we evaluate ourselves to make sure that all of these changes are benefitting us in the best way possible? How often do we put everything else aside and focus on the betterment of ourselves?

I have listed a set of questions below that will help you evaluate yourself and hopefully become more self-aware. Linked to the questions, are ways to fix a possibly negative answer. For example, question one has a link to beneficial ways to be more accepting of change.

1. How do I deal with change?

2. How do I respond to situations that force me to get out of my comfort zone?

3. How do I deal with negative people?

4. How do I deal with negativity in my environment?

5. How do I deal with stressful situations?

6. How do I deal with another person's mistakes or behavior?

7. How do I approach and deal with uncertainty?

8. How do I spend the majority of my time

9. How would I rather be/not be spending my time?

10. How do I respond when I make a mistake?

11. How do I respond to bad news?

12. How do I respond to those in need?

13. How much time do I devote to those around me?

14. How do I treat people who have hurt me in the past?

15. How often do I let go and relax?

16. How do I recharge or rejuvenate my energy?

17. How do I wake up each day?

18. How do I feel about myself when I look in a mirror?

19. How often do I work on something that will benefit my life as a whole?

20. How often to I prioritize myself and what makes ME happy?

21. How often do I take a step back and appreciate what I have?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Martial Arts And Me

A Gateway to Understanding

I usually use these articles as a chance to discuss social issues and ways we, as a society and as individuals, can improve. Today, I’m going to take a bit of a break from that.

I’m not going to discuss the impending end of DACA or the way other countries view the United States at the moment. I’m not going to talk about the #MeToo campaign or gender inequality. I’m not going to talk about the Oscars or Oprah’s recent speech. No, today I want to discuss something completely removed from, and simultaneously tied to all those things: martial arts.

Since I was about four or five years old, I have been studying the arts of Hapkido and Jeet Kune Do. Both arts—the first of which was established in Korea and is a cousin of Taekwondo and the second of which was established by Bruce Lee himself—enable individuals to engage others in hand to hand combat as well as defend themselves against various types of offensive interactions.

Anyone who has ever seen a Bruce Lee movie—or even the latest Marvel blockbuster—knows that martial arts can give you the confidence and ability to fight someone. This, however, is far from the only utility of these arts. In fact, seeing as we do not live in feudal times where hand to hand combat is the only thing standing between us and a Hobbesian death, martial arts offers me and other practitioners a plethora of useful life skills.

Practicing martial arts—whether that martial art is Tai-Chi, Taekwondo, Hapkido, Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Karate (which is a singular style of martial art and not Martial Arts in its totality as many people think), Capoeira, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Kendo, or even Ninjutsu—is a way to instill self-discipline, respect for all living things (yourself included), respect for the equality of all individuals, and much more. The practice of martial arts is also a way to connect further with the world around you and with yourself—it is a form of mindfulness practice (think Ninshu for those of you who are Naruto fans like me).

Through martial arts, I have managed to establish a significant part of my identity. My belief that all genders are truly equal can be attributed to my having had my ass kicked by men and women for about thirteen or fourteen years now. My belief that age has absolutely nothing to do with an individual’s competence is tied to the fact that those men and women have ranged from the ages of six to eighty-six.

My belief that an individual’s physical difficulties should not be factored into their worth comes from the fact that a man more than twice my age—who has hip and back issues—managed to complete a four-hour black belt test with no water, no breaks, and no special treatment without batting an eye. My belief that an individual should evaluate those around them on their own merits before making any judgements is undoubtedly the result of years spent in a martial arts environment, and my value for human life, in general, has been significantly deepened by my knowledge of the human body—and the ease with which it can be broken.

I suppose the entire purpose of this article is to say that martial arts, true Martial Arts, is so much more than learning how to hurt someone; it is learning how to live. Honestly and truly, I believe that if more people were practitioners of some form of martial art, we would have a lot fewer problems in the world. If people knew what it takes to break someone and the corresponding effort it takes to heal that damage, few people would be willing to fight and harm another individual. If people were forced to hurt others with their own bodies instead of hiding behind a gun, a missile, or a drone, few people would want to hurt another individual in the first place.

Now, everything I am saying in this article, along with everything I write ever, is completely up for debate. In fact, I have had conversations about the true meaning of martial arts with individuals who believe that a martial art is only effective if it teaches you how to do the most damage with the least effort, but I am a firm believer in the concept of martial arts as a way of connecting as I said earlier. Two things really cement this in my mind. One of those things is an experience I had with an older woman the night of my Black Belt pre-test.

After having spent hours running through everything I would need to know for my actual black belt test, my mom and I stopped at Chick-Fil-A for dinner and encountered an employee who remarked upon my traditional martial arts garb. She proceeded to disclose that she had been mugged multiple times in the past before asking me to show her a few ways to defend herself if that were ever to happen again. I did so without hesitation.

This experience highlighted part of the true importance of martial arts for me—helping others and connecting with them through their experiences. A month later, as I stood in front of a panel of fifth, sixth and even ninth degree black belts describing why I wanted to join their ranks, that moment stood out to me. I told all of them that I wanted my black belt in order to protect myself and others and to help others learn to protect themselves as well. Over time, my understanding of martial arts has evolved, but the response I gave then remains true.

The second thing that stands out when I think about the true importance of martial arts is found in the atmosphere created in the martial arts community—or at least in my experience. Over the course of my martial arts career, I have gone to multiple tournaments, multiple dojos, and encountered a startling plethora of individuals. I have even spent seven-plus years teaching others the basics of my craft. Regardless of where I am, when I am participating in the martial arts community I am truly an equal to others in all ways.

Race has never been a factor in any dojo I have stepped foot in. Age, gender, sexuality, nationality, citizenship status—even language hold no sway on how we treat each other while practicing our art. Sure, those with more experience are looked to for guidance, but the concept of inferiority is non-existent in those circles. As long as one puts in the effort, they are seen as equal to those around them. This kind of thinking, this kind of equity is sorely needed in modern society and I look forward to the day we achieve that kind of harmony on a mass scale.

With threats bearing down on humanity from all sides, now is the time to consider connecting with others and with yourself. Martial arts are one way to do that. Look into it if you’re interested and look into it even if you think you aren’t. I can almost guarantee that you’ll learn something valuable if you step even one foot into the expansive world of martial arts for more than a minute.

Cover Image Credit: YongKai Lin (WFU Taekwondo Club)

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