We all want to create new and healthy habits, and we are all capable of creating new habits. Why then, does it seem so difficult?
A large part of what makes new habits difficult is remembering to do the thing you are trying to make a habit of. If it is not something that you normally do you may not even think to do it.
So tying it to a time of day, or another similar habit or task that you do can help you to remember to do it at a certain time. There are lost of way to remind yourself. We have our phones of course, planners, and calendars. All of these things are important tools in creating new habits.
We know that we must repeat a task over and over again to make it habit. Using these digital tools and maybe even some physical reminders as well can help us do this.
So a combination of an alarm on our phone or a simple note on the mirror, with some kind of tracking of our habit to help us see how we are doing can really help a habit stick.
Tracking New Habits for Accountability
Research tells us that accountability is crucial in creating habits. Even if the accountability is only with yourself, keeping track of whether or not you complete your habit on the designated date and time can do wonders for creating the momentum to keeping a habit going.
An easy way to achieve this is to track your new habit. Having your progress tracked is a great way to look back and see how great you are doing. Once a habit gains some momentum it can eventually become ingrained in your daily routine and your won’t even have to think about it or be reminded to do it.
You surely have habits now that are so automatic you don’t even think about them much. Things like brushing and flossing our teeth daily are not innate. We have to learn to do these things.
There are tons of ways to track your habits, but any easy and simple way to do so is using a habit tracker in your daily planner or journal. Since you already look at your planner daily you will see the tracker and be reminded.
Habit trackers can be as simple as drawing a star on all the days you did your new habit to using a large yearly habit tracker that is color coded.
I personally find that weekly habit trackers make more sense for me. It lets me celebrate at the end of each week and doesn’t make it seems so unending. Plus, they fit on the weekly planner page which is something I look at daily.
Pro tip: To create the habit of looking at my planner daily, I used my phone reminder alarm to tell me to do so in the morning.
Where to Add a Habit Tracker
You definitely want to put you habit tracker on a page that you look at daily. You can add smaller habit trackers to your daily page. I find putting things like hydration trackers on my daily page works. Especially since I need to drink water more than once a day to meet my goal.
However, for things like exercise a weekly planner page works better for me. Anything that is not a daily habit tends to be a better fit for the weekly or monthly planner page.
Habit Tracker Placement – Specifically for Rad Paperless Planners
If you use my yearly undated teal planner there is space below the dates in the notes for this new and free tracker that I created.
Goodnotes has a highlighter that I use to mark the days I have completed a habit. I also mark off the dates that I do not use with the black pen so I remember I don’t have to do the habit that day.
If you use my blank journal you can put this tracker anywhere you wish. It would be important to book mark it in your journal so you can easily refer back to it each day to mark your progress.
This tracker is free when you sign up for the freebies vault. If you haven’t done so you yet, you can sign up here: https://shinytinylove.com/free-digital-assets-vault/
How Long Does a New Habit Take?
The research on how long a habit takes to make are a bit confusing. 18 to 254 is considered to be a normal window. That is a really large window! 66 days is considered the average number of days it will take to make a new habit.
That means you need a habit tracker that is at least 66 days. So, using a weekly habit tracker for at least 7 weeks you could get up to 70 days tracked.
It seems simple, but depending on the difficulty of the new habit and the time involved in completing it could take a long time to lock in a habit.
Definitely consider starting small and working your way up. If for example you want to make sure to stretch every day. Try adding in a quick stretching routine with your morning routine.
Most people have some kind of morning routine that they adhere to when they start the day. Doing things first thing in the day also make them more likely to happen.
As you get better at making sure to stretch every morning you can add more time or more stretches in to grow the habit.
It is much less hard to stack habits on top of one another, that is, using one habit to build another. So building any kind of habit that relates to one you already have and a schedule you already keep can be helpful.
Things like linking taking your vitamins to your lunch break, or adding stretching to your morning dog walk routine are easy additions that can make your feel like you are making good progress, especially when you can see that progress on a tracker.
So keep track of your progress with your habits. Maybe even reward yourself for a full week of completing your goals.
There is nothing like feeling accomplished. Celebrate the little things!