The Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide

How to track a habit

Posted On January 13, 2021

What is a habit tracker and how it works?

A habit tracker is probably one of the simplest and most effective ways to develop good habits while keeping you motivated to take action.

We all do our best to improve our lives and well-being; changing habits is part of each individual’s evolutionary process. You and I have tried to change our pattern in the past, sometimes with success, but forced to contend that most often, the feeling of frustration remains that you have failed to change your behaviors.

Whether it is to change a bad habit or simply modify a routine that no longer corresponds to your current needs or achieve specific goals, it requires time, patience, and energy.

It is at this moment that the habit tracker shows all its interest.

What is a habit tracker?

It is a support, most often in the form of a table or a calendar, allowing us to follow the evolution of our progress.

It is a simple and effective tool, a kind of personalized guideline.
This system is a perfect example of what we call baby steps; the goal is to reach a specific objective by making little but regular progress. It takes up the idea of this famous Chinese proverb: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The principle of the habit tracker is precisely the same. A behavior change is a long and chaotic journey that starts with a first action repeated daily.

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

How you set up your habit tracker

To make it easier for you, I created a free pack of printable templates, including 12 habit tracker.

The first step is to choose the number of habits you want to change. Remember the baby steps rule mentioned above; the same goes for everything. Don’t aim for 20 or 30 habits to start with.

In the first place, I would recommend that you choose 6-8 habits max. Once you get used to it, you can easily add tasks.

So what next? It’s like a spreadsheet; there is a column for each day and a row for each habit you want to track.

At the end of each day, simply check the corresponding box for each habit you track.

Stay consistent, and you’ll be able to appreciate how rewarding it is to see the spreadsheet fill up.

 

Why you should track your progress

After seeing what a habit tracker is, now it’s time to see the power of this tool.
Changing behavior requires a long-term vision; nevertheless, most of us are much more attracted by an immediate reward, i.e., it’s more attractive to watch the latest Netflix series than to run outside. It’s only because we don’t see a direct result by going running. On the opposite, having a good time pleases us in an instant.

In one of the best-known and most effective methods for setting a goal called SMART, the letter M means Measurable. This is not a coincidence because you need to be able to monitor your progression.

To stay motivated over the long term, you need honest and immediate feedback that shows you are on the right path.

If your goal is to lose weight, you will regularly weigh yourself to determine exactly where you stand. However, changing a particular habit is not always so obvious.
If you choose a simple routine such as drinking a large glass of water in the morning when you wake up, there is no precise measurement; I did it, or I didn’t do it.

Without a habit tracker, it will be almost impossible for you to follow your progress over several weeks, therefore impossible to see your regularity.

This is precisely the interest of this great tool, i.e., to have immediate feedback to track progress daily, generating a lot of satisfaction when you checkboxes, and encouraging motivation.
It also makes it possible to take stock and have an overview over several months.

 

Benefits of using a habit tracker

Benefit #1: Stay motivated

As I have just discussed in the previous paragraph, I will detail a sensitive point: motivation.
Motivation is a fascinating subject that can be the subject of many articles. The question that often comes up about motivation is simple: how you stay motivated?

We are motivated to do things that we like and make us happy, requiring little effort for an immediate result. When we watch Netflix, when we eat a fabulous cake or play video games for hours, this is the case. (no, no, no, I don’t feel like I’m being targeted at all … Oh wait!)
Nevertheless, adopting a new behavior is not easy because it takes time and effort to say everything that will make the motivation drop.

Adopting a habit tracker generates a feeling of progress and, consequently, a feeling of motivation. This is exactly what we are looking for to put all the chances on our side.

Benefit #2: One of the simplest ways to change a habit

Having the right tools is a must, but easy-to-use tools are also required. Imagine if a mechanic had to set up a wrench for 30 minutes before he could go idle, he would quickly find another, more efficient way to use it.
The same goes for everything, and that’s a great advantage of the habit tracker. It’s so quick and easy to use.
Just check the corresponding boxes, and that’s it, nothing more. It’s a very pragmatic and efficient approach that gives exactly the desired result.
If you want to save time, don’t hesitate to download the files I put at your disposal. You print them, and they are directly ready to use.

No matter what medium you choose, a printable template or a homemade template, make it as simple as possible.

Benefit #3: Holds you accountable for your change

Have you noticed how easy it always seems to find an excuse when you can’t reach a goal?
That’s what we call not taking responsibility.
Yet, it is indeed the number one step for deep and lasting change. When we track our daily habits with such precision using a tool, it highlights our actions. Either we check the box because we have acted, or we don’t check it. This awareness brings us face to face with our responsibilities towards ourselves. There is then no more excuse, just us and our actions.

Benefit #4: Helping you reach your goals

From the most modest to the most incredible, all of our life goals result from all the small actions repeated every day.

It is all of the little routines that lead us towards our goals. Successfully changing our habits brings us closer to our goals. Therefore the habit tracker is an ideal companion in the pursuit of our objectives.

Benefit #5: Endless possibilities and customizable

This is the most creative part and, without a doubt, the one that appeals most to creative people.
You can create your tracker outfit in your own image, that is to say, the one that suits you best. In the absolute, there is no perfect way to do it. It’s up to you to define what suits you.
You can create tracker suits of different shapes, use colored pencils, brushes, crosses, circles, in short, whatever you want.

You can use your diary for your tracking, hang it on the wall, etc.
Of course, if it doesn’t interest you, you can also download ready-to-use templates.

Nowadays, there is a new way to track our progress using applications. There are dozens of applications for IOS and Android.

 

Three habit tracking apps you could use

Habitica

best habit tracker app

This is the application I use because it transforms tracking like a video game and makes the whole thing very playful and fun.
More info: Website Download: iOS or Android

However, if you are not familiar with video games, you should use one of the following applications:

Momentum Habit Tracker

Habit traker app for iOS

As it says: Momentum is the simple, yet powerful, habit tracker that boosts your willpower and helps you reach your goals.

More info: Website Download: iOS

Repeat Habit – Habit tracker for goals

Habit tracking app for android

Present itself as: A simple yet elegant habit tracker that motivates you to succeed in your life.

More info: Website  Download: Android

I have personally tested many methods; I like to use the duo very much, a printable template/habitica. Do not hesitate to tell me what you prefer in the comments below.

 

What can you track?

You can track many things with a habit tracker, and there are tons kind of habits; daily/weekly/monthly.

I highly recommend starting with the smallest patterns you can to make sure that you see a change day after day.

If you want a much more complete list, I invite you to look at my detailed article where I give you 100 ideas classified by area of life that you can track!

A shortlist of things you can track:

  • Medidate
  • Write in your journal
  • Drink a glass of water at wake up
  • Stretch
  • Yoga
  • No alcohol
  • Clear your inbox
  • Practice musical instrument
  • Listen to a podcast
  • No spend day

Final Words

Throughout this article, I wanted to show you the interest in habit tracking. I hope I made you want to use this fantastic tool in your life. I use it daily, and it is now part of my routine.

Thanks for reading, and happy changing my friends.

 

Photo by Prophsee Journals on unsplash.com
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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Written by Cédric Potard

I'm Cédric Potard, founder and author of this website and former 3D artist in the videogame industry. You can connect with me on my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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