When it comes to notebooks I’m generally pretty set in my ways. I tend to stick with a few specific products that are old reliables to me, but I am always excited to try something new.
The kind folks over at Exaclair were kind enough to send me a Rhodia notebook called the Goalbook to check out. Actually, it is [ goalbook ] if we want to go with how the branded name appears on the cover… Special thanks to them for providing it!
The premise behind the Goalbook is that it is a dedicated notebook around keeping a record of things you’re trying to accomplish and the progress you’re making. Now, you could technically do that with any notebook, but I think the way they’ve laid it out is pretty simple.
To discuss the look and feel of the notebook first, the Goalbook is in the A5 size (ahem, the BEST size... I'm bias) and is wrapped in a flexible leatherette cover which is super nice actually. The more familiar Rhodia Webnotebooks (Webbies) have a hard cover and aren't quite to my liking, but I really enjoy how they've made the cover of the Goalbook more flexible, but still sturdy.
The cover is a soft, matte finish and has the Rhodia logo and "[ goalbook ]" debossed cleanly into the material. I opted for the black cover (boring, I know), but there are a total of 16 possible colors to choose from. Around the cover is an orange elastic band to securely close the notebook.
Also included (as Rhodia does) are several other orange accents that make the book pop and stand out in a crowd.
The contents of the book are broken down into a pretty simple structure:
- Contents (to be written with whatever you please)
- Calendar list for each day of the year to record one daily goal
- Monthly calendar "blocks" to record larger, monthly themes and ideas
- Lots of writing space with the remaining 200+ pages as "blank"
All of the Goalbooks come with a dot grid pattern in the "blank" pages, which is something to consider. I generally prefer dot grid or grid, so this was ok with me.
The paper used in the notebook is a premium 90g ivory vellum paper which seems to take all types of writing instruments well. With Rhodia the paper is super smooth; "slick" I'd even say, which makes ink float a bit on the page which can extend dry times. While this makes Rhodia ideal for fountain pens leaving a cleaner line, it makes the practicality of quick page turning or closing of books a challenge without the risk of transferring ink where you may not want to.
If I have a choice I always prefer a white paper (like the dotPad or Ice series) to showcase the colors better on the page, but the ivory is a nice, soft color.
Regarding the content structure of the book, I like how it is a bit vague yet still defined. For the daily section it really only makes room for one major idea; jot down just one thing and strive to do that. Then, write down how it went in the blank pages. How did you succeed? How did you fail and need to improve? This differs quite a bit from other systems like bullet journaling which is more around the transfer of to-do items. While those are still "goals", it is a bit more like checklists.
For some people the lack of really clear structure might make using it difficult, but I like the simplicity. Overly rigid systems require a high level of commitment and consistency while I could see the Goalbook having a bit more flexibility.
For example, the calendar structure only comprises the first dozen pages or so which means you aren't actually wasting much of the book if you start late. That I REALLY like.
Books that have pages dedicated to each day of the year somewhat force you to wait, but the Goalbook can let you start almost anytime without feeling guilty about buying a notebook that you can only use half of.
Overall the quality of the book is fantastic as I would expect from Rhodia, and the structure they've laid out is simple and pretty easy going, but still able to keep things on track.
Thanks again to Exaclair for sending the Goalbook for review!
If interested, Goalbooks can be found at retailers like Pen Chalet.