So the first few months that I was habit tracking were just a disaster. I had no idea what to pick and some of my “habits” literally didn’t happen. How would I do it differently and pick habits that lead to productivity? Read on to find out.
- Start by choosing some things that are relatively consistent habits, a couple that you want to start but NONE that are established. My first habit tracker in this current bullet journal had the pipe dream habit of “no caffeine” as well as “no soda.” It’s almost cute that I thought I could go cold turkey. Literally, I had zero days that I accomplished no caffeine. I also used to track making the bed which is just silly for me to do as I can’t start my day without making my bed. I didn’t need the reminder or tracker.
- Pick a total of a maximum of 10-12 habits. Don’t kill yourself here. I find about 10-12 is a happy place for me to be (currently I’m tracking 11). It’s not too few that I forget to fill my habit tracker in, but it also isn’t so many that I’m overwhelmed.
- Watch which habits aren’t functional or don’t make them happy and cut them out. I really wanted to journal when I first got to Spain. Firstly, that’s just not a daily habit for me – I don’t have that much to reflect on. Secondly, it just made me feel like I should write something down which made the whole thing a chore. I stopped tracking and now only journal when I feel like there’s something I want to reflect on.
- Not every habit must be daily. I like to track when I clean which is typically a two-three time a week event. I don’t typically do cleaning days but more like one cleaning task per diem. For me, I like to see the last time I dusted, swept or cleaned my makeup brushes. There’s no rule that says you have to pick daily habits, although it is more common. Do what works for you!
- Evolve your habits as they become more established. Going back to that “no caffeine” habit – the smarter way to try to track that habit would be to start tracking “no soda,” move into “no caffeine,” then into “only water.” I would only make those changes after about seven weeks. Research suggest it takes seven weeks to make a new habit – in order to ensure it was established, I would take my time.
- As habits become established – stop tracking them. This one should be obvious, but if you have about two solid months where you no longer need a reminder for a habit. Once you get to that point, take it off your habit tracker.
- Introduce only one new habit at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much. It’s just not reasonable. My habits take anywhere from a minute or two to around 10 minutes to complete. On the low end – that’s maybe 10 minutes a day, on the high end maybe an hour total. When introducing something new, consider it in terms of your larger habit tracker.
- Nestle habits into categories. For example, in the past 3 months I’ve used hygiene, personal and home. The categories could be anything: cleaning, children, fitness, beauty. I just think it’s visually and mentally helpful to have them organized.
- Use with a mood tracker to take a look to see if some habits affect mood. When I get enough sleep, drink a lot of water and don’t drink soda, I tend to be overall happier in my day. It helps me stay on track and also lets me see what things actually make me happier.
- Lastly, if you are traveling, try to keep as much consistency as possible. Obviously, I can’t track my chores as I’m not in my house but I try to keep my personal and hygiene the same.
Those are my biggest tips to picking habits and maintaining your habit tracker. I hope these ideas are helpful. Let me know if you have any other tips to help new habit trackers!