Everything you Need to Know About Habit Tracking
13 Dec 2020 • 5 min read
Have you decided to set new goals and want to make sure you stick to them? While setting goals is a great thing, following through is not always easy. Life gets in the way, and soon enough, your good intentions have become a vague memory.
A common characteristic that can be observed in successful and highly productive people is that they break down their goals into daily steps or habits and track these habits consistently in order to reach their goals. Indeed, tracking habits is the best way to visualize your progress and change course if need be.
As a result, to reach your goals, you need to set new habits, ensure they fit into a consistent routine, and track them until they turn into automatic behaviors.
Are you wondering how to get started? To help you reach your goals and improve the quality of your life, we’ve highlighted below everything you need to know about habit tracking. Good luck ;)
How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?
If you’ve ever researched or read about how to increase your productivity, you might have come across the statement that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Indeed, in 1960, Dr. Maxwell Maltz published a book called “Psycho-Cybernetics,” in which he referred to this number of days based purely on observation of himself and his patients. The book became a best-seller, and the number quickly became a reference as opposed to a simple observation.
However, according to a study published by the European Journal of Sociology, it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit. The reason for such a broad time frame is that the time it takes to form a new habit isn’t a ‘’one-size fits all’’ figure. Indeed, it strongly depends on the habit and the person. Some people find it easier to adopt a consistent routine, while others might struggle and take longer to get used to it.
The bottom line is, to forge a new habit, you need to be consistent and accept that there is no magic number, and forming a new habit will take time, hard work, and commitment.
What Is a Habit Tracker?
A habit tracker is a simple way to track whether you’re sticking to your daily, weekly, or monthly habits and to measure and quantify your progress over time. There are many different ways to track your habits, from using a bullet journal, a calendar, or a planner to downloading a specific habit tracking app.
The journey of building a new habit is all about consistency and using a habit tracker is the best way to be successful. Indeed, a habit tracker enables you to keep track of your daily tasks, monitor your progress towards reaching your broader goals, and adjust if necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Habit Tracker?
Keeping Yourself Accountable
Like John C. Maxwell said, ‘’you’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.’’ Although John C. Maxwell has a point, it might sometimes seem difficult to stick to habits. Indeed, you might be extremely busy, tired, or just not feel like accomplishing the new habits you set yourself anymore. While this can happen, you’re much more likely to push yourself if you’re using a habit tracker, as you’ll be able to visualize what you’re doing and what you’re not doing.
A habit tracker makes you accountable for your actions as it reminds you of the promise you made to yourself and why you did so. Seeing you’re not honoring this promise might help you get back into your habits.
Keeping You Focused
If you live a fast-paced life and have a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to start adding too many things to your to-do list and lose track of your original intentions. You might quickly feel overwhelmed and end up giving up on your habits and goals.
Creating a habit list on your habit tracker app or bullet journal will help you get clarity on your goals, prioritize them, and break them down into achievable daily habits. As a result, you’ll be able to track and monitor your progress on a consistent basis, keeping your mind focused in the long run.
Keeping You Motivated
When you’re down, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked, and how much you’ve accomplished so far. Being able to visualize your progress can act as a reminder of your commitment and hard work and help you stay motivated.
Besides, another reason a habit tracker can be beneficial is that after a few days of marking empty squares, you’ll most likely feel the urge to keep marking them every day. Indeed, manually marking boxes and feeling a sense of achievement in doing so can quickly become addictive and keep you motivated at all times.
Providing Instant Gratification
There’s something deeply satisfying about ticking off a box to say you’ve completed a habit. Sure, checking off a box on your habit tracker doesn’t mean you’ve reached your goal yet, but it sure means you’re well on your way! Marking an X on your habit tracker will provide you with immediate satisfaction knowing you’ve accomplished something. And this can feel very rewarding. After all, it always feels good to see your progress in real-time!
Best Habit Tracker Apps
Now that we’ve established the importance of a habit tracker for success, you might be wondering what the best habit tracker apps are. While there are a lot of habit tracking apps available, we’ve listed below the ones we’d recommend.
Habitica is a gamified productivity tool. The app features in-game levels reached by accomplishing certain tasks, punishments, and rewards, along with a strong social community to help inspire you and keep you accountable.
Streaks is a to-do list app designed to help you form good habits. You can create up to twelve tasks. As the name suggests, the idea is to create streaks of consecutive days. The fact that if you break the chain, your streak will go back to zero can help hold you accountable.
Productive is a routine building app designed to help you set new life-changing habits. The app helps you create a personal plan and set reminders. It also features a powerful analytical tool to help you visualize and track your progress.
Habitify is a simple habit tracking tool that works by allowing you to set reminders. You can create a reminder, input the task to complete, add the time and the day, and the number of reminders you want to set for this particular habit. It’s a very useful app to use in order to turn habits into automatic behaviors.
This habit tracker is designed to help you create routines and break them down into small steps. A timer will help you visualize how long it takes to complete these steps. The tracker also lets you customize your routine and offers a library of meditation exercises you can select and set as a routine.
We hope this article will help you set new habits and will provide you with useful tools to reach your goals. Remember, "life is about the journey, not the destination." While reaching a goal is extremely rewarding, so is taking consistent steps towards it.