I achieved seven of my ten September goals. One I didn’t meet was to re-establish a regular yoga practice. I only practiced yoga once so far this month. Another was to meet a specific weight goal, which I didn’t. Probably because I only only exercised 11 days so far this month. I also ate in a manner in which I’d like to avoid 19 days and drank alcohol 11 days. How do I know all this? I use a habit tracker. And I’ll tell you why you should use a habit tracker, too.
What is a habit tracker?
A habit tracker is a simple tool where you can track habits you wish to cultivate and any other daily functions relevant to you. Your habit tracker can be made in Excel or a similar program, written in a bullet journal, or however your creative heart desires. List the habits you want to track and allow a block for every day of the month beside each habit. Check off or fill in the pixels on the days you achieve each habit, and leave blank the days you don’t.
Why you should use a habit tracker
1. It keeps you honest with yourself.
Plain and simple. You either succeeded or you didn’t.
Here are some of the habits I track:
- Waking up at 5 am
- Daily meditation practice
- Minimum of 45 minutes spent exercising
- Minimum of 60 minutes spent working on novel
- Worked towards a monthly goal?
If I do those things, I get to color in the box. If not, it stays blank.
2. You can see in black and white (or bright colors) where you may be falling short and what’s preventing you from achieving your goals.
Goals are achieved through daily actions. One of my goals was a specific weight. In order to make it, I had to eat right and exercise. I failed at doing that consistently enough, so it’s no surprise whatsoever that I didn’t meet my goal.
Say your goal is to write 100 pages of a novel over a month. Well then your daily goal becomes 3.2 pages a day and that can be a daily habit you track. If you don’t hit your mark, you’ll be able to look at your tracker and see why.
If you’re a goal-oriented person and understand that you need to break down your goals into daily tasks, then a habit tracker is for you.
After all, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
3. Because “Never is never right, and always is always wrong.”
Ganga White said this and it’s one of my favorite quotes. Through the use of my habit tracker I see first hand just how true this is. We have a tendency to say what we “never” do or “always” do, but when you’re literally tracking those things, you begin to see that neither is correct.
After a week of steady exercise we tend to boast how we “always” work out, even though we didn’t for three weeks before it. Or when we’re disheartened we may say things like I’ll never finish my novel because I never write anymore.
When you track your habits, you see that the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle, and then you can adjust accordingly.
4. A habit tracker is a motivational tool that makes breaking bad habits and cultivating good ones fun.
The boxes are little carrots at the end of the day that you want to color in. That simple act is motivating! They’re like gold stars for a job well done!
Not sure what to track? Think of the habits you want to break and those you want to cultivate.
Here are ten ideas to get your gears turning:
- Didn’t smoke
- Drank 64 ounces of water
- Ate breakfast
- Made the bed
- Didn’t buy lunch
- Didn’t exceed daily calorie intake
- Smiled at a stranger
- Walked a minimum of 10,000 steps
- Didn’t snack before bed
5. You get to start each month with a clean slate.
Each new month brings with it a cleansing and enthusiastic energy. I like to start each one organized and prepared for a fresh start. I don’t dwell on where I could have tried harder or what I should have done better. I look to the future and try again. So I print out a fresh new habit tracker and begin again!
Excited to join me and try out habit tracking for yourself? Click the button below to join my mailing list (I only send one email a month, I promise!) and receive a free habit tracker download! Once you submit your email address, check your inbox for an email with a link to your beautifully designed habit tracker pdf. (If you don’t see the email, please check your spam or junk folder.)