Habits which began as a struggle can easily become routine with tracking. The process is simple, and you can track any habit or behavior, from study sessions to food or chores. In fact, there’s something very satisfying in checking off a habit each day and keeping track of goals, actions, and progress on a daily basis.
What Should You Track?
When you decide on a new habit to track and encourage, consider the following:
1. Motivation: Choose a habit that you actually care about sincerely. Any habit that has meaning for you (walking your dog more often, playing your with kids, etc.) will come easier and be more successful.
2. Regularity: Every repetition enforces it as a behavior and gives you a better chance of doing it again. Try to find a habit you can track every single day.
3. Achievability: Be realistic. You most likely will not be able to run a 10K marathon every day. Don’t be afraid to start small and progress slowly.
How to Build Strong Habits
There is an art to establishing and building long-lasting habits. Start by tackling one new habit at a time. Focusing on a few at the same time will make things harder for you, as you’ll have to spread focus and effort thinly.
One of the best ways to turn a behavior into a habit is to use a trigger to remind yourself to do it. A good trigger is something that you do anyway. Want to start taking vitamins? Your first morning trip to the bathroom could be your trigger. You can also make your new habits triggers for additional new habits – there’s no limit.
Set aside time in your daily schedule, especially for your new habit. To make your habits become automatic, plan them into your day. Do them in the same way, in the same place, at the same time every day. Your mind will start to associate a specific time with a specific behavior and become used to doing it automatically.
How to Keep Track
You should find the method that works best for you. Of course, there is always the old fashioned method of keeping a pen & paper journal. You can use a calendar to keep track of results divided by days. There is something satisfying about writing down your results. Alternatively, you could use computer software to build a spreadsheet tracking your accomplishments. Lastly and most popular, perhaps, is to choose from the wide array of habit-tracking apps now available for smartphones. Two popular ones are Momentum (iOS) and Habit Bull (Android).