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Why You Should Be Tracking Your Habits (and How to Do It Well)

https://lifehacker.com/why-you-should-be-tracking-your-habits-and-how-to-do-i-1702100388

lifehacker.com

Why You Should Be Tracking Your Habits (and How to Do It Well)
I've been tracking my habits on and off for the past couple of years, but when I went through a brief stint of not tracking habits, I didn't do a very good job of building them, either.

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Habits You Should Track

Factors to consider when choosing a new habit to track:

  • Motivation: choose a habit you personally care about. If you pick a habit out of a sense of obligation, your motivation will fade.
  • Regularity: find a habit you can track daily. Each habit repetition enforces it as a behavior and strengthens the pathways in your brain related to it. 
  • Achievability: choose something achievable so you’ll feel that if you put the effort you can do it. 

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Tackle One Behavior At a Time

You can’t fully focus on any behavior if you try to establish several at once. 

Doing so risks overloading your willpower and your habits may end up competing for priority.

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“Stack” Your Habits

The best way to turn a behavior into a habit is to use a trigger to remind yourself to do it. Your trigger needs to be something you always do anyway. Anything you already do without thinking works.

As you build new habits, you create new triggers for yourself and stack a new habit onto it. Each existing habit acts as a trigger to remind you to complete the next one until it becomes natural to do both together. 

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Set a Schedule

To make your habits automatic faster, plan them into your day. Do them in the same way, in the same place, at the same time every day.

If you complete your new habit at any time, on any day, you won’t get the advantage of familiarity that helps you get used to doing that behavior without thinking about it.

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How To Keep Track

  • Paper: if you use a diary or daily planner, make notes each day if you completed your habit or not. If you do a regular weekly or monthly review, this is a great time to check back through your notes to see how you’re progressing over time.
  • Spreadsheet: you can set up a simple sheet to track if you complete your habit each day. This is a good way to make your tracking more visual so you can get an idea of a glance about how you’re going.
  • Mobile Apps: these are convenient and you can access them anywhere.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis

Self-Discipline - a series of healthy habits

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.

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Habit-formation apps are aspirational tools

They're less about distilling your life into a series of data points and more about becoming your ideal self: If you use their app, you too can become a person who practices good habits. You can be...

The 4 tendencies when it comes to habit formation:

  • upholders: disciplined and respond to both internal and external expectations;
  • obligers :can’t keep commitments to themselves but respond to expectations from others; 
  • questioners: ask why and can keep a habit if they understand the logic reasoning; 
  • rebels: hate being told what to do by others, so it has to be something they want to do.
Depending on your habit-formation tendency, habit-tracking apps may or may not work for you. 

Habit apps use the psychology of habit formation

  • Many rely on a “streak” feature: they track how many consecutive days you’ve completed the habit;
  • Other apps offer accountability features to pressure you into completing your goal; 
  • Some apps turn habit formation into a game: The app rewards users who complete their habits with badges and other virtual incentives.

How to Build a New Habit

  1. Start with an incredibly small habit, one that is easy enough that you don't need motivation to do it
  2. Increase your habit in very small ways -...

Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn

"Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day."