Whilst there are still always things to learn, I think most of us do know the basics of how to look after our health. It’s equally true though that we don’t always do the things we know we should do – whether that’s making sure we’re hydrated, eating the rainbow, prioritising sleep, or flossing our teeth. Why not?
There are many reasons, and many excellent resources out there to help us overcome them. A favourite of mine is Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before*, and in that she tells us that ‘we manage what we monitor, so we need to find ways to monitor what matters’. One way of monitoring that I’ve found really helpful is the Habit Tracker.
In a nutshell, the Habit Tracker makes monitoring visually appealing which can help us build momentum. The more often we do our habit (or don’t do it, if it’s a habit we’re trying to break) the stronger that momentum becomes. It takes around 66 days to form a habit (good article by James Clear, if you want to read about the research behind that) so we need to give ourselves time, and thankfully, missing a day here and there is not a deal breaker.
The tracking is a reward in itself as seeing an unbroken line of ticks is supremely satisfying. As you can see in my photo above, I’ve only got one completely unbroken line so far, but over 17 days and 4 habits I’ve only missed 4 squares, and as a recovering perfectionist I’ll settle for that!
I’m tracking 3 habits that I want do more consistently, and the 4th is to work for 15 minutes a day on a task that I’ve put off for more than a year (shredding old paperwork from my former Aromatherapy business). This has been so successful that I actually finished it today! I’m going to carry it on though with another big task – isn’t there alway another one waiting?
There are a variety of ways to track habits, which is always a good thing – no one way is going to suit everyone. In my photo at the top, I’ve drawn up a monthly tracker in my bullet journal (this is just a notebook of my to-do lists – without which my life wouldn’t happen!), but you could equally draw one up on any piece of paper and put it somewhere you’re going to see it. Or download a fancy one ….
Or use whatever calendar you have hanging on your wall if that suits you best!
If you like to do things electronically, there are many, many habit tracking apps out there, including Gretchen Rubin’s which is called Better. I’ve used the Insight Timer app for several years as a meditation timer, but as a side benefit it also tracks how often and how long I’ve sat. I was talking about it with a fellow retreatant at the last retreat I went to and he was saying that he didn’t like that it gives stars as rewards as if we were 5-year-olds ……. I had to admit that my inner 5-year-old still LOVES getting stars as rewards!
Any other big, grown-up 5-year-olds out there?
Have you tried habit tracking? Are you inspired to? Let me know how you get on.