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

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

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

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Key Ideas

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. 

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.

“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. 

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.

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:

Building habits

The basic process for building all habits is basically the same: you repeatedly condition the behavior you want, over time, until it becomes automatic.

But no habit starts out auto...

Conditioning a habit
2 main ways you can condition a habit:
  • Classical conditioning: a paired association with a trigger and a behavior. Going to the gym after you wake up each morning is this kind of habit.
  • Operant conditioning: you not only associate a trigger with a behavior, but you reward that pairing, to accelerate the habit-forming process.
The 30-Day Trial

You commit to some change for 30 days, then tou can go back to your old ways. But having spent thirty days applying a new behavior is often enough to convince you to stick with it.

Pros:

  • Can handle more significant/difficult behavior changes you might be unlikely to start with a perpetual commitment.
  • Fosters an experimental mindset, rather than assuming you already know what’s best.

Cons:

  • 30 days probably isn’t enough to actually make something a habit.
  • Without a long-term plan, many 30-day trials will revert back to the original behavior.

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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 matching

When planning on building new habits, one easy way to integrate them into your everyday routine is by actually adding them to an already existing habit. 

Therefore, choose one habit y...

A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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