I incorporated habit tracking into my life about six months ago. I was making a lot of positive changes but was struggling with focus. Habit tracking sounded like a good tool to help with these lifestyle changes.
There are a lot of different options to consider with habit tracking. It can be done by hand or electronically. What habits do you want to track? How often?
Simply for ease and convenience I chose to use an app for habit tracking. I always have my phone with me so there are no excuses. There are many apps to chose from. I just picked one that had good reviews to try it out. You could just as easily make an excel spreadsheet or hand drawn table for tracking.
The hardest part for me was deciding what to track. I had things I wanted to do more of and things I wanted to reduce. I decided to focus on where I want to be. My theory is the negative habits will organically fade as the new positive habits become a part of my life. So far, my theory is proving true in my situation.
On my first try I listed close to 20 habits to track. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work. For anyone just starting out I would recommend choosing 3-5 habits in the beginning. Then you can build on that as you feel comfortable.
The key is choosing the right habits. Have you taken the time to figure out what your priorities and/or goals are? Choose habits that support those priorities and move you towards those goals.
Currently I’m tracking 9 habits:
- Meditate – 5 times a week
- Yoga/stretching – 3 times a week
- Hike – Once a week
- Walk – 2 times a week
- Check in on a friend – 3 times a week
- Go to bed early – 4 times a week
- Morning prep – 3 times a week
- Unclutter my life – 3 times a month
- Plan my budget – Once a week
At this point I do several of these more often than shown above. For me, it made sense to set them to the minimum recurrence that I would consider acceptable. It helped me not become discouraged.
One other helpful aspect of using an app to track as opposed to the other methods is the reminders. Between the kids, the dog, work and the house I quickly lose track of what I’m doing. Haha! The app I use also sends encouraging notifications when you are doing well.
I use an app called Balanced. It’s easy to navigate and very user friendly. It has a few draw backs. It only shows the past 30 days. I would love to be able to see how I’ve done over the last 6 months. Also, you can’t really drill into specific habits to see details.
I encourage anyone struggling to make lifestyle changes to try habit tracking. If nothing else, it will make you more self aware. Maybe you are struggling with a specific habit because it isn’t your priority.
I would love to hear any other habit tracking methods or apps anyone is using that have been helpful.