Habit Trackers: How to Form a Healthy Habit
One day, I decided I was tired of just thinking about the little things I wanted to do to get better.
I decided I needed a way to get stuff done and stop making commitments to important habits just to forget it was even on my mind.
And then I got distracted by something and that was that.
In all seriousness, I know I'm not the only person this happens to. Every year on the first of January, millions make promises to themselves to better their lives. Yet, studies show that less than 25% of people continue their resolutions after 30 days. I question the validity of that study, but it doesn't really matter how precisely accurate it is.
We all know that building habits is hard.
Building a new habit takes the innovation of an idea, motivation to start and follow through, AND the effort it takes to complete whatever the task may be.
A lot of my fitness habits come from years of coaches' instruction, accountability of teammates, and external factors like my schedule during college. In college we had an hour or so blocked out for weight room sessions and there was an understanding that you would roll and stretch in the minutes before the lift began. This became a habit because I was told to do it, we were all doing it, and my schedule placed me there. To this day, there are certain drills I'll do before a weight session.
But what about the eyelash growth serum I splurged on a few months ago? (lol yes this is an important habit, too) No one's hovering over my shoulder telling me to do it, and with all of the things going on in my mind all the time, small things like this easily slip through the cracks.
A solution when you just can't get a habit to stick?
A habit tracker!
Habit Trackers: What They Are and How to Use Them
While it varies by the person and the habit, it takes on average 66 days for a habit to become automatic. Habits are the little daily things we do that help us live a healthier life or reach larger goals.
Have a larger goal, like "build core strength" or "eat healthy"?
These lofty goals can seem so daunting as a big picture. A simple habit tracker can make this process so much more efficient. Break down these goals by building a habit or two at time that work towards these, like a core routine 3 times a week or eating one raw vegetable per day.
A simple format for a habit tracker that I usually use:
A single page that I use to track one habit- label the very top with which habit you are tracking
Write out the days of the week like a calendar
Leave a space to check off each day when you do it
For this format, you could use an actual calendar or a calendar print out of a month.
Pro tip: Placing the habit tracker in a place that you will see it is one of the most important things you can do to make it effective.
And I don't mean just put it on your dresser (although this might be the place you need it), where it could get lost under piles of whatever it is you collect.
Tape that paper on the wall right next to your bed, if you want to remember to stretch before bed.
Stick the sticky note right onto your bathroom mirror if you want to remember to take your daily vitamin pill.
If you can't miss it, you won't.
This little tracker next to my bed reminds me to do my daily core and back mobility, and if I'm getting into bed and haven't done it yet, I'll do it right there.
Other habit tracker formats, like this nifty Habit Journal, have multiple spaces to fill out more than one habit each month and write a check mark or an X whenever you do the habit.
Personally I can't benefit from another journal that I have to keep track of, since I have a few planners each year for the different parts of my life. And 9,000 notebooks at all times.
But this format might work better for you.
Benefits of Habit Trackers
Tracking is a form of motivation!
It feels so good to check something off of a list once you've done it.
Its a visual reminder that you got something done and took a step towards your goals. Seeing progress is a huge motivator, and I know just seeing all of the days filled out on the habit tracker keeps me motivated.
Inevitably, there are days we don't feel so happy about our productivity or had a bad workout. A quick glance at your habit tracker will remind you of how much you've done.
Similarly, you're able to see why you might not be making the progress you desire. If you can see that you're skipping whatever it is, there's less room for you to say you did it everyday of the week, when in reality you forgot to 3 times. In our busy lives, forgetting happens!
Habit trackers remind you to act.
Ideas of Healthy Habits to Build Using a Habit Tracker
Habit trackers can be used for a variety of things, especially building a healthier lifestyle. Try creating a healthy lifestyle with these habits!
writing in your journal for 10 minutes
taking supplements daily
doing a core workout 3 times a week
flossing your teeth
eating 2 raw vegetables a day
going on a walk
clean the bathroom once a week
What are some habits you think you could build with a habit tracker? Give it a go!