I find starting the first page of a new notebook hard. Even though I’ve done it more times than I can count, I feel pressure to make the first page something special, something that will start the notebook off on the right foot. So I usually procrastinate until sometimes I don’t end up using the notebook at all. Which might be OK, except notebooks are my thing. For some people it’s clothes, shoes, handbags, first edition books, or retro Nintendo games. For me, it’s bound pages: lined or blank, squared or dotted, in all shapes, sizes, designs and colours.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to face up to the fact I have a notebook problem, add them to my “not to buy” list for 2017, and focus on using up the ones I have before getting any more. Which means I need to overcome my first-page-phobia (especially when it comes to the “special” notebooks I’ve been hanging on to for years). Here are some ideas I’ve been using to get started.
18 Ways to Start the First Page of a New Notebook
1. Write out your favourite poem
2. Use it as an inspiring quotes page
3. Start with personal trivia. Include your height, weight, eye colour, place of birth, favourite food, theme song, and so on. Or, write a mock dating profile. What would you want someone to know about you?
4. Write a letter to your future self to return to when you finish the notebook.
5. Use it as a doodle page
6. Start a habits tracker. Keep the tracker for the duration of the notebook.
7. Create a life list. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do or experience during your lifetime
8. Make a list of places you want to visit
9.Write down your goals for the year
10. Start a “Secrets of adulthood” page
11. Make a list of qualities you want to embody or feelings you want to feel (a la The Desire Map)
12. Begin a gratitude journal. Keep adding to it for as long as you’re writing in the notebook and refer back whenever you need a quick pick-me-up
13. Create a key. Do you want to colour-code or use symbols? Use the first page to outline your own custom journal key. This is especially useful for bullet journals.
14. Create a life timeline. Not sure how to do this? Use the stepping stones technique from The Ultimate Guide to Journaling.
15. Start a table of contents. This is much easier if you’re using a notebook like the Leuchtturm which comes with a dedicated contents pages and numbered pages but you can also make your own. Having a TOC makes it easier to quick reference different things you’ve recorded and written about.
16. Do the Wheel of Life exercise
This is a simple but powerful coaching exercise that combines journaling with visuals to give you clarity on which areas of life create the most satisfaction and which need some TLC. Get your free workbook for this from the Becoming Who You Are Library.
17. Create a mission statement for your notebook. What is it for? Is there a particular purpose or theme to it? What are you hoping to get out of it?
18. Create a time capsule from the current day. Make a note of the day, date, time and details about that day like the weather, the news headlines, any particular current events happening in the world and any significant events in your life. It will be fun to look back when you’ve finished the notebook and see how the world (and your world) has moved on and what else has happened in the meantime.
How do you start the first page of a new notebook? Leave a comment to share your ideas!
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Image: Giulia Bertelli