The Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide - Deepstash
The Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide

The Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide

jamesclear.com

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Why and How to Track Your Habits

If you want to stick with a habit for good, one simple and effective thing you can do is keep a habit tracker.

Habit formation is a long race. It often takes time for the desired results to appear. And while you are waiting for the long-term rewards of your efforts to accumulate, you need a reason to stick with it in the short-term. You need some immediate feedback that shows you are on the right path.

And this is where a habit tracker can help.

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The Habit Tracker: What It Is and How It Works

A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit.

The most basic format is to get a calendar and cross off each day you stick with your routine.For example, if you meditate on Monday,Wednesday, and Friday, each of those dates gets an X. As time rolls by, the calendar becomes a record of your habit streak.

Habit tracking is powerful for three reasons.

1. It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.

2. It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.

3. It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.

Let's break down each one.

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Benefit #1: A habit tracker reminds you to act.

Habit tracking naturally builds a series of visual cues. When you look at the calendar and see your streak, you’ll be reminded to act again.

Habit tracking also keeps you honest. Most of us think we act better than we do. Measurement offers one way to overcome our blindness to our own behavior and notice what’s really going on each day. When the evidence is right in front of you, you’re less likely to lie to yourself.

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Benefit #2: A habit tracker motivates you to continue.

The most effective form of motivation is progress.When we get a signal that we are moving forward,we become more motivated to continue down that path. In this way,habit tracking can have an addictive effect on motivation.Each small win feeds your desire.

This can be particularly powerful on a bad day.When you’re feeling down,it’s easy to forget about all the progress you have already made.Habit tracking provides visual proof of your hardwork a subtle reminder of how far you've come.the empty square you seeeach morning can motivate you to get started because you don't want to lose your progress.

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Benefit #3: A habit tracker provides immediate satisfaction.

Finally, tracking feels rewarding. It is satisfying to cross an item off your to-do list, to complete an entry in your workout log, or to mark an X on the calendar. It feels good to watch your results grow and if it feels good, then you’re more likely to endure.

Habit tracking also helps keep your eye on the ball: you’re focused on the process rather than the result. You’re not fixated on getting six-pack abs, you’re just trying to keep the streak alive and become the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts.

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Habit Tracker IdeasCommon daily habits to track

Alright, those benefits sound great, but it's not necessary to fill your habit tracker with every habit that makes up your day. In fact, if you're already sticking to a habit, then it seems like extra work to me to track it as well. So what should you measure in your habit tracker?

Habit tracking can help kickstart a new habit or keep you on track with behaviors that you tend to forget or let slide when things get busy.

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Common daily habits to track

  • journal 1 sentence
  • read 1 page
  • Meditate 1 minute
  • do 1 push up
  • stretch for 1 minute
  • write 1 thing I'm grateful for
  • make your bed
  • wake up by [TIME]
  • go to bed by [TIME]
  • take a shower
  • prioritize to-do list
  • take a walk outside

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How to Get in the Habit of Using Your Habit Tracker

Despite all of the benefits, a habit tracker is not something that makes sense in every situation or for every person. Many people resist the idea of tracking and measuring. It can feel like a burden because it forces you into two habits: the habit you’re trying to build and the habit of tracking it. That said, nearly anyone can benefit from habit tracking in one form or another—even if it’s only temporary.

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First, manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits. It is better to consistently track one habit than to sporadically track ten. I tend to keep my habit tracker simple and limit it to my three or four most important habits.

Second, record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs. The completion of the habit is the cue to write it down.

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How to Recover Quickly When Your Habits Break Down

Every habit streak ends at some point. Perfection is not possible. Before long, an emergency will pop up—you get sick or you have to travel for work or your family needs a little more of your time. Whenever this happens to me, I try to remind myself of a simple rule:

Never miss twice.

a perfectly filled-in habit tracker looks beautiful and you should strive to achieve it whenever possible. But life is messy. In the long run, what matters is that you find a way to get back on track.

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How Long Do I Need to Track My Habits?

all habits get easier with practice. But this line of questioning ignores the real purpose of building better habits in the first place.

How long does it take? The honest answer is: forever. Because once you stop doing it, it is no longer a habit.

A habit is a lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed. You are looking to make small, sustainable changes you can stick with for years. And a habit tracker is one tool in your toolbox on the road to behavior change. It is an effective way to prove to visualize your progress and motivate you to show up again tomorrow.

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