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Good Habits: How and why to use a habit tracker

Good Habits: How and why to use a habit tracker

Starting out a new habit is pretty easy - sticking with it is hard.

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty good at writing a list of new year’s resolutions and starting out the first week in January full of energy and good intentions. But then you hit a set-back or get off track and the motivation of January 1st starts to wane quicker than the popularity of the Houseparty app after the first lockdown. And that is why relying on motivation alone is not a reliable way to reach your goals.

Paper habit tracker with monthly pages and circular grid

Goal setting is touted as the holy grail for increasing productivity and reaching success but what about the bit after you set the goal, then what?

If you think back to something you achieved, something you’re proud of, what got you there was likely not a massive push (unless we’re talking childbirth) but a million tiny steps in the right direction. Over the years I've realised, for me, the key to kicking procrastination and reaching those goals is forming good habits. As author of Atomic Habits James Clear says -  

“You do not rise to the level of your goals—you fall to the level of your systems.”

It’s the things you do every day that move the needle, which is why I decided to design the daily habit tracker I wanted to use. 

So let’s track some habits.

How to use a habit tracker

  1. Start by setting your goals

    Decide what areas of your life you want to focus on and set up to six realistic, achievable goals each month. Make them really small and start with habits that take just a few minutes - rather than saying ‘drink two litres of water a day’, say ‘start the morning with a glass of water’ and then build it up as you go.

    Monthly habit tracker - February page
  2. Plot your progress

    For each daily habit in your tracker. There is something about putting it down on paper, adding some accountability - even if it’s just with yourself - that makes you more likely to stick with it.

    How to use monthly habit tracker

  3. Reward yourself

    Reward yourself for sticking with your habit and celebrate your success!

  4. Reflect

    Reflect and look back over the months to see your personal growth and achievements over time. Are you ready to step it up a notch?

    Example of how to fill out a circular monthly habit tracker

 

What habits to track?

You know all those ‘shoulds’ we carry around in our heads - have I had any liquid other than coffee today, i should probably move my body a bit more, must get a bit more sleep etc. By taking those ‘subconscious goals’ out of my head and adding them to a habit tracker, I find that I'm actually giving myself more mental space for the things that need to be in there. 

I’ve written them down, I'm tracking them - I’m a lot less likely to forget.

Here are some more ideas on habits to track:

  • Journaling
  • Water Intake
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Financial goals
  • Bed time
  • Wake up time
  • Reading
  • Screen time
  • Phoning friends and family
  • Practice
  • Hobbies
  • Time outside
  • Chores
  • Cleaning and tidying
  • Healthy eating
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Affirmations
  • Self care

Celebrate Your Achievements

When you have successfully implemented a new habit, be sure to celebrate your achievements! Forming new habits do take time and effort, but having a visual record of your effort is so satisfying. Not to mention reaping the benefits in your chosen area.

Give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself some flowers, have a fancy coffee or you know - get some stylish stationery 😝.


Do you use a habit tracker? We would love to see what you’re tracking and how it’s going, tag us in Instagram @onceuponatuesday_