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Do you crave to create the life of your dreams? Building powerful habits can become the most useful tool in your arsenal.
When a behavior turns into a habit, it becomes automated, so you no longer have to think before doing it. It happens naturally and effortlessly inside the rest of your routine. Therefore, habits can ensure that you will preserve any change you make in your daily life.
No matter how easy it is to keep a habit once it is routed, making it stick can be challenging. Research shows that it takes somewhere between 18 to 250 days to build a new habit and, on average, 66 days for a behavior to become automatic.
This is where habit tracking can come to your rescue. Habit tracking can keep you accountable and consistent, maybe speeding up the process and helping you through the tough first days.
In this article, we unpack the benefits of habit tracking and give practical tips to get you started.
What Is Habit Tracking?
Habit tracking records your progress in repeating the habit you want to start. For example, if you want to begin reading a book before sleep, you can note down each day you succeed in doing it.
Of course, you can take habit tracking to the next level by merging it with a bit of journaling. To make the most out of it, you can note the times you perform a habit per week, at what hour each time, how long it takes you, or your feelings about it.
This way, you can extract a ton of valuable information that will help you tailor new habits to your needs.
What Are The Benefits Of Habit Tracking?
Habit Tracking Helps You Make Your Habit Your Own
Not all habits are suitable for all people. One that revolutionizes someone’s daily life can be damn irrelevant to you. You want to create ones that fit your lifestyle and personality and serve your purpose.
But it may be hard to decide from the beginning which ones are right for you. This is why this benefit of habit tracking may be the most valuable. Habit tracking can help you evaluate whether a new habit works for YOU.
Habit building is a trial-and-error process. By reviewing your daily routine, you become aware of the things that need improvement. You may begin implementing some change that doesn’t work out for you entirely.
Instead of giving up, you can modify your new habit to adjust to your needs. By tracking it, you will know what went well and what didn’t, what you liked or hated, and extract that knowledge to create the routine of your dreams.
Habit Tracking Keeps You Motivated
Motivation is a feeling that comes and goes. It is greatly influenced by our mood, confidence in our powers, and faith in our goals. One day you may feel on top of the world, and the other, at the bottom of a pit. Therefore, you cannot trust it to determine your drive for action.
So, instead of motivation, you need a system. In other words, you don’t need a spark but a slow-burning fire. Habit tracking can provide that benefit, keeping you organized and consistent.
But we cannot disregard that motivation can give a powerful emotional boost to maintain your efforts.
Habit tracking can renew and replenish those feelings of motivation. Indeed, the written testimony of your progress can constantly remind you of your efforts and achievements. It makes it easier to measure your growth and be in touch with your end goal.
Tracking your habits also reassures you that even when you have fallouts, you have a system that will keep you on track.
Habit Tracking Boosts Consistency
Consistently doing something that may be unfamiliar to you can prove hard. We are designed to follow routines that we are used to, so it is easy to forget about carving time for your new habit.
Habit tracking can work as a reminder (a.k.a. a habit alarm clock) until a new behavior becomes automated.
An added benefit of habit tracking is that it can also provide a productive level of pressure to ensure you are not losing your commitment.
When you take notes of your progress, you become aware of it, and losing a good streak becomes less tolerable. It also functions as the best reward system since growing your streak is the direct outcome of your efforts.
Habit Tracking Helps You Keep Tabs On Your Progress
When we are busy with life, we don’t often sit to reflect on past actions making us unable to account for our progress. When you keep your progress in your mind, you can also easily overestimate or demean it.
If you keep notes of your habit-building journey, you make your progress visible. You can directly link action to outcome. Therefore, it becomes easier to acknowledge the victories you earned with your efforts and pinpoint parts you can improve.
Habit tracking has the benefit of increasing the reward factor, making you feel your hard work is paying off.
Also, it makes it easier to find the reasons behind the “bad” days, increasing your knowledge of yourself. In a few words, habit tracking can help you detect the ups and downs and recognize the factors that affect your performance.
Habit Tracking Helps You Keep Things Organized
I once started doing daily yoga but never bothered to track it. I randomly tried to fit half-hour classes into my day whenever I remembered about it. As you can imagine, this didn’t go very well…
Making a new habit is a learning process. Imagine it as burning a new song in your hard disc. The best way to achieve that is to start small and doable and then increase volume and intensity.
One organizational benefit of habit tracking is that it can help you plan your course of action. For example, I could begin with 5-minute yoga classes and then increase it to 10 minutes when that started feeling natural in my daily routine, etc.
Carving time in our tremendously busy lives for something new is no small thing. This is where the second organizational benefit of habit tracking comes into play. When done correctly, it helps determine how much time an unfamiliar action takes you.
You can also note when it is the most productive and feel-good time of the day to do it. This will help you naturally organize your new habit into your routine.
What Are The Best Habit Tracking Methods?
Habit Tracking Apps
They are easy, practical, and quite attractive. Your phone is probably always in the vicinity, and the process requires minimal effort on your part, making it easier to track your habits. They boast designable templates and add-ons, like showing notifications or metrics on your progress, etc.
You can choose from a variety of habit-tracking apps. You will find one with a convenient layout and features that match your needs. However, if you are easily distracted by social media or email, it would be best to opt for one of the following proposals.
The Good-Old Analog Journal
If you routinely keep a journal, adding a new page for tracking your habits will be no biggie. It also allows you more creative freedom than a habit-tracking app gives you.
You can write things down the way you find easier to process. You can also track other parameters, like your feelings, your thoughts, how your new habits change your life, etc.
On the downside, keeping a journal takes more time. Also, if you do it only once a day, it loses the role of the reminder.
Plus, you may forget to write about important details. The key to eliminating these downsides is to keep your journal close and write in it whenever you complete each habit. You can also decide on a template to quickly note down what you want.
For example, make columns like “time it took me,” “time I did it,” “how I felt about it,” etc.
A Daily/Weekly/Monthly Planner
If you like things to be written down but prefer to keep the writing minimal, opt for a planner. You can use it to organize your new habits into your daily routines. You can also use some space in the planner for writing down extra thoughts.
Planners are everywhere and come in sheets or notebooks. They have easy fillable templates that can solve the problem of putting too much thought into what to write.
A Whiteboard Or A Monthly Wall Calendar
Sometimes I need to have something where I can see it to remember it. The whiteboard can function as a huge post-it note.
You can write daily or weekly habits and tick them off. You can also write down your to-do list in bullet points and include your new habits.
The monthly wall calendar can also have multiple functions. You can keep notes about habits and information you don’t want to forget, plan future activities, etc.
The profit here is that you can step back and determine when you are more inclined to perform a habit during the week (plus, it can be a fine wall accessory).
Hang them where you can make eye contact, and frequently check them out.
BONUS: The “8 Critical Tasks” Notebook
I once randomly stepped on a Youtube video that explains you can use an “8 critical tasks” notebook to keep you accountable and consistent. Every day, you write down 8 critical tasks you need to complete. You can come up with them first thing in the morning or the previous night.
Each day you manage to complete all the tasks is added to the streak. One fallout, and you lose the streak. The sense of reward is undoubtedly great, but so is the pressure, so test it out first!
Conclusion On Benefits Of Habit Tracking
habit tracking is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you make positive changes in your life. By tracking your habits, you can make them your own, stay motivated, boost consistency, keep tabs on your progress, and stay organized.
The benefits of habit tracking are numerous, and there are various methods available to help you track your habits effectively, including habit-tracking apps, analog journals, planners, whiteboards, and calendars.
Whether you prefer a digital or analog approach, habit tracking can be a game-changer for achieving your goals and living healthier and happier lives. So why not give it a try and see the benefits for yourself?