Habit tracking is a simple and effective way to establish healthy habits on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Need some habit tracker ideas to help get you started?
If you ever ask me how to lose weight, I’m going to tell you the same thing. Every. Single. Time.
I’m going to tell you to track your calories. I have NEVER lost a significant amount of weight without tracking my calories. And when I say tracking, I’m talking every single meal of every single day until I get to my goal.
I’ve TRIED to lose weight other ways… I’ll start going to the gym and eating salads, and give myself the impression that I am significantly cutting my calories. All while explaining away the daily cheat meals and the “little” snacks and drinks that I reward myself with “here and there”.
When I actually start tracking every single calorie that goes in, it quickly becomes clear why I hadn’t lost any weight. I can no longer lie to myself about the extra calories that are finding their way into my diet.
And that my friend, represents the lesson behind today’s post.
TRACKING YOUR DAILY HABITS HELPS YOU TO BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF,
SO THAT YOU CAN SEE REAL RESULTS.
This is why you need to use a habit tracker!
A habit tracker is a visual tool that you use to keep track of whether you have completed a target behavior or habit. You can even track how much of something you were able to do.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to use a habit tracker to establish new routines and increase accountability for any behaviors that you want to do consistently.
Why You Should Start Using a Habit Tracker
- They help you to learn about yourself and the lifestyle patterns that you have.
Maybe you’ll notice that you tend to forget to take a shower on Thursdays. This can lead you to do more thinking about what happens on Thursdays and how you can adjust your schedule to make sure that you get a shower on that day of the week.
- The instant gratification of checking something off is positive reinforcement to keep doing it.
I believe James Clear says it best-
“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.”
>>>> ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear
- There is also a sense of motivation that comes from seeing the missing spots in your tracker.
Even when you feel lazy, you might just push yourself to take that walk around the block just so that you can check it off.
- They help you chart your evolution.
The nice thing about graphs, in general, is that you can look back and see your growth over time. By saving up your habit trackers, you can trace how your behavior has transformed.
- They’re another tool to help you meet your goals.
Like John Maxwell says, “the secret of your success is found in your daily routine”. To achieve your dreams, you’re going to have to identify behaviors that align with your goals and practice them regularly.
Research says that it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic, so it’s time to get tracking!
Do You Have to Use a Bullet Journal to Use a Habit Tracker?
Even though habit tracking is one of the most popular elements of bullet journaling, you definitely don’t need one to reap the benefits.
Here are some of the ways that you can use a habit tracker without a bullet journal.
By using a printable habit tracker, you don’t need to spend a bunch of time drawing or designing your own.
We have one for sale in the shop right now- try it out!
Just print, write your desired habits down, decide on a reward (if you want) and then start tracking daily.
Habit Tracker Apps
You also have the option of going paperless, with a habit tracker app!
The benefit of an app is that it’s completely mobile and you can keep track of your progress wherever you are (as long as you have your phone of course).
The downside is that you might forget to open and use the app due to the sea of apps that we have on phones these days. With paper, you can put it up somewhere as a visual cue to remind you to use it but phone apps won’t work the same way.
Here’s a list of habit tracker apps if you want to try it out.
It’s also pretty easy to create your own. To draw a simple habit tracker, you just need to write the desired habit(s) and then somewhere next to it, draw 7 boxes or circles to represent each day for a weekly tracker or 31 checkboxes for a monthly tracker.
It’s even easier if you use a spreadsheet because a grid is already made and waiting for you.
Just write your desired habit(s) on the column to the far left hand side and then number the first row with how many days you will be tracking and voila- you have a habit tracker fast and easy.
Finally, many planners actually come with a habit tracker already, which makes it easy to incorporate into your day to day planning.
135 Habit Tracker Ideas
At this point, you’re probably wondering…”What are good things to track?” Let’s answer that today, shall we?
The trick is to make the habits simple and easy to achieve on any given day.
For example, I don’t recommend putting down “take over the world” because that might be pretty hard to achieve on a daily basis, don’t you think? 😉
With that being said, I’ve got some phenomenal ideas for habits you can track.
My habit tracker list is organized into 8 categories:
- Diet & Fitness
- Health & Wellness
- Personal Goals
- Self Care & Hygiene
- Hobbies & Learning
- Household & Family
Diet & Fitness
Like I mentioned above, I’ve never been able to lose much weight without tracking calories. Why? Because the key is accountability. It’s so easy to think that you’re making good choices every day, but tracking reveals the objective truth.
Here are some of the best diet and fitness goals for you to keep track of.
- No junk food
- No soda intake
- Skip the fast food lane
- Jog around the block
- Hit the gym
- 10,000 steps
- Eat a certain amount of fruit
- Eat a certain number of vegetables
- Calorie goal
- Eat breakfast
- Weigh yourself
- Log food
- Used the stairs
Health & Wellness
Healthy habits are some of the hardest types of habits to adopt. They’re not always fun and they’re not always convenient, but when it improves your wellness (whether that be emotional, physical, mental or spiritual wellness), it’s always worth it.
Here are some healthy habit tracker ideas to consider.
- 8 hours of sleep
- Breathing exercise
- Take medications
- 30 minutes of sunlight
- No cigarettes
- Use sunscreen
- Drink gallon of water
- Snacking frequency
- Sugar intake
- Alcohol intake
- Cups of coffee
- Take vitamins
- Wear CPAP overnight
- Pain level
- Have a dream
- No self-harm
- Menstruation days
These are the goals that don’t quite have to do with your health or your fitness, but help you to become a better version of yourself.
For example, if you wish to be the type of person that is more positive, then you can aspire to write in a gratitude journal daily. Or maybe you want to be more adventurous, then you should set a goal to do at least one new thing each day. These habits create the type of lifestyle that you desire.
Here are some ideas-
- Wake up at a certain time
- No snooze button
- Daily affirmation
- No phone morning
- Read book
- Have sex
- Call friend
- Go to church
- Give a compliment
- Water the plants
- Read bible
- Listen to feel-good music
- Gratitude journal
- Ride bike
- Arrive somewhere early or on time
- Meet up with friends
- Random act of kindness
- Try something new
Self Care & Hygiene
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.
Maybe you’re the parent with a newborn that keeps forgetting to shower or take your medication. Or you’re a college student that tends to forget to go outside for sunshine during finals week.
You can’t be the best YOU unless you take care of yourself and a habit tracker can help you do that! Here are some self care and hygiene habits to track-
- Sleep at specific time
- Skincare routine
- Remove makeup before bed
- Remove contact lenses
- Brush teeth
- Wear retainers
- Wash hair
- Make the bed
- Put away clothes
- Wear makeup
- Attend support group
- Bullet journal
- Tidy workspace
Hobbies & Learning
Next are some fun habit tracker ideas for those that wish to learn something new or practice a favorite hobby more often.
NOTE: Tracking how often you participate in your hobbies shouldn’t give you a sense of dread. If it does, you might want to consider tracking something else. Instead, adding these habits to your tracker should remind you to take time to do the things you love and help you discover patterns about your participation in these activities.
- One-Line-A-Day journaling
- Crossword puzzle
- Watch movie
- Practice handwriting
- Speak new language
- Practice instrument
- Draw something / Doodle
- Listen to podcast
- Play sport
- Watch YouTube video
- Practice hairstyling
Do you want to make career moves or develop in one professional area or the other? Or perhaps you want to do a better job of balancing your work life with your personal life. If any of these apply, then take a look at some of these habits and consider adding them to your tracker.
- Make daily To-Do list
- Answer e-mails
- Apply for job
- Brainstorm new ideas
- Research strategy
- Post on social media
- Write a blog post
- Create new product
- Check in with mentor
- Write a certain number of words per day
- Read career-specific newsletter or publication
- Make a sale
- Back up computer files
- Left work on time
Household & Family
Your habit tracking journey doesn’t have to be a solo project. It can extend to your family and home-life. If one of your goals is to spend quality time with your loved ones and be more intentional with your relationships, then adding some of these habits to your tracker should be right up your alley.
- Daily devotion
- Walk pet
- Feed pet
- Do a load of laundry
- Cook dinner
- Call family member
- No yelling
- Homework time
- Check-in with spouse
- Read to child
- Clean one room
- Take naps
- Baby’s sleep
- Children’s potty training
- Run to the supermarket
- Timed clean
- Dinner together at the table
In my opinion, financial goals are similar to weight loss goals- you need to know the details of everything going in and everything coming out. To establish positive money habits, it’s crucial that you track your financial moves every single day.
Add some of these goals to your habit tracker if you want to become intimately familiar with where your money is going and if you want to achieve big financial goals like paying off your debt or building your savings account.
- No spend
- Pay bills
- Transferred money out of savings account
- Transferred money into savings account
- Exceed spending limit
- Impulse buy
- Check the mailbox
- Trade stocks
- Send money to someone else
- File receipts
- Change passwords
- Log mileage
- Unexpected expenses
- Children’s allowance
How to Set Up a Habit Tracker That Works for You
Alrighty, now that you’ve got that massive list of daily habit tracker ideas in your pocket and you’ve learned how to create a habit tracker, you’ve got all the basic tools.
To put it all together, choose a small number of habits to track so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
As you get used to the process, you can increase the number of habits that you track on a regular basis.
How many habits you should track depends on what your priorities are.
Some tips on making your habit tracker work for you are:
- If this is your first time using a tracker, make “fill in my habit tracker” one of your first habits to track.
- Make your tracker attractive so that you look forward to filling it out.
- Keep your tracker somewhere that you are sure to see it regularly.
- If habit tracking starts to feel like a chore, re-evaluate what and how many habits you are tracking as well as your technique. Maybe it’s time to switch it up.
- Every now and then, reflect on your habits and use that to inform your behavior and future goals. Calculate a success rate (# days you completed the habit divided by total # of days).
If you add more habits and your success rate goes down, then you may not be ready to juggle that many.
- Consider writing down your ultimate goal and planning a reward (like in this habit tracker we have in our shop) to incentivize yourself.
Here’s how to decide what type of habit tracker you might need-
Daily vs Weekly vs Monthly Habit Tracking: Which Is Best?
Most of the time (if not all of the time), when people use the term “daily habit tracking”, they’re actually referring to checking off goals on their weekly or monthly habit tracker every day.
So the real question is…. weekly vs monthly habit tracking- which is best?
The answer is that there is no best. Different trackers work for different purposes and different people.
Here’s how they stack up against each other.
WEEKLY HABIT TRACKING:
- Description: A tracker with 7 days
- changes to your routine can be made more quickly based on data collected the previous week
- weekly habit tracker ideas are anything that you need to achieve every day or multiple times a week
- new pages are needed often (every week)
- less data collected means you don’t get to see ‘the big picture’
MONTHLY HABIT TRACKING:
- Description: A tracker with 30-31 days
- more data makes it easier to see behavior patterns (aka the big picture)
- new pages aren’t needed as often
- adjustments to your routine take longer to make when you have to wait a month
Many people find that a combination of the two is perfect for them. You can track some habits on a weekly tracker and others on a monthly tracker.
What Habits Should I Track Daily / Weekly?
Anything that you want (or need) to achieve every day or at least multiple times a week. Some examples are:
- Skincare regimen
- Showering / bathing
- Loads of laundry
- Waking up early
What Habits Should I Track Only Monthly?
Track the things that you have no reason to do daily with a monthly tracker.
Some examples are:
- Bill paying
- Deep cleaning
- Meeting up with friends
- Getting a wax
- Health symptoms (e.g. migraines, period cramps)
That’s a wrap on the best habit tracker ideas on this side of the interwebs.
So, what do you think? Does habit tracking work? What has your experience been?
As a new bullet journal affecrionado I really liked this article, very realalistic and helpful,