It can help you reach your goals
Tracking your daily wellness habits, everything from drinking enough water to exercise to making sure you go to bed at the same time every night, might sound tedious at first but can be extremely helpful in getting you to your goals. There are a number of benefits to tracking your habits.
- Habit tracking can create a visual reminder or cue that can help motivate you to keep going because you’ll want to keep your streak alive.
- Seeing a bunch of checkmarks or colored boxes can provide a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, even if your day got away from you in other ways. For example, if your kid is home sick and your week was totally derailed, it can be helpful to see that you still made your goal of eating a piece of fruit everyday.
- Tracking habits can help you identify barriers or conflicts to achieving your wellness goals so you can make adjustments or come at it from a different perspective.
- You can also use the tracking technique to break less than healthy habits. For example, you can track how many times you check social media or how many times you visit the vending machine at the office or how many cups of coffee you drink. Aiming for fewer checkmarks each week can help you move beyond those habits that may be holding you back.
- Habit tracking is a habit itself so give yourself some grace if you miss tracking for a day or a few days or even a few weeks. Something that can help with this is to only track 3-4 habits at a time. Trying to track too many things can be overwhelming and then you’ll just stop altogether. Also, record your tracking as soon as you complete the habit instead of trying to remember at the end of the day.
After you track your new habits for long enough, they become second nature and you don’t have to track them anymore. So if the idea of habit tracking seems exhausting to you, then consider it a temporary situation and that might help you stay focused on the goal.
Break it down
To make it a little easier, break large goals into small habits. For example, if you want to drink 8 glasses of water a day, don’t list the habit as “8 glasses of water”. That sets it up as a pass/fail situation. Instead, create eight separate checkboxes or lines or whatever you’re using so you can check each glass individually. That way, even if you don’t get to the full 8 glasses for the day, you can see that you still made progress by hitting 6 or 7 glasses.
Find a system that works
The key to making habit tracking work for you is to figure out a plan that makes it as simple as possible. Maybe its a color-coded spreadsheet. Maybe its a whiteboard in your home office. I create a simple chart on a blank page in my day planner.
There are also lots of apps you can set up on your phone. And let’s face it, we all have our phones with us all the time. Unless, of course, that’s a habit you’re trying to break!
No matter what system you use, habit tracking can help get you to your goals a little faster.
If you have a tracking system that works for you, let me know in the comments.