Have you ever tried to break a bad habit? Or perhaps form a good one? Maybe you are a nail biter that’s ready to quit or you want to start waking up early to workout. Whatever it is that you have committed to changing, it can be challenging and frustrating to get started.
One thing that we must realize about breaking habits is understanding how the act you are trying to break BECAME the habit in the first place! Think about it. Maybe you are a nail biter. When do you bite your nails? Are you bored? Nervous? Whatever the trigger may be, your brain has been programmed to think that when you feel this emotion that you must engage in this habit. So when you decide that you want to stop biting your nails, you now need to reprogram you brain to NOT engage in this act when you feel nervous or bored. Phew! Still with me? Crazy stuff, right?
Fortunately, us humans are actually pretty smart beings (for the most part) and we are completely capable of creating and breaking habits. Though it can seem like somewhat of a challenge at first, with repetition and dedication you can overcome the obstacles in front of you. And with repetitive success, you will find that sticking to your habits becomes more natural and less like a chore.
Habit tracking is a new phenomenon to me. Sure, resolutions or goals have been made in the past about habits I would like to break or make. But just like Aristotle said, excellence is not an act, but a habit. You need to hold yourself accountable! And what better way to do so than to actually TRACK what you are doing on a daily basis.
A very good friend of mine first introduced me to the idea of a habit tracker a few months ago. Since then, I have been researching different methods to track my habits and formulating a list of habits that I wanted to monitor.
The first step is to decide what habits you want to track. Then you will need to decide how frequently you will want to accomplish them. Do you want to go to the gym everyday? Maybe three times a week works better for you. Either way, make sure that your habits are attainable and realistic! Your habits can be big or small, the important thing to remember is that they are YOUR habits. Maybe my habits don’t appeal to you. Or maybe they will help inspire you to get your list started. I will most likely add more habits in the future, but for now, this is a good start!
Practice French – daily (Duolingo)
Walk Rocky – daily
Practice yoga – daily
Attend a yoga class – 2 times per week
Write in my 5 Minute Journal – daily (AM + PM)
Go to the Gym – 2 times per week
Drink 120oz of water – daily
Bed by 11 – daily
Awake by 7:30 – daily
No Money Spent on Clothes (no spend January!) – daily
The second step is to decided how you want to track your habits. In this day and age there are so many different ways to plan, connect, engage, monitor and track anything from spending to caloric intake. What works for you? There are several habit tracking apps (mind you, the ones that I found did cost a small fee) but I found that a tangible tracker that I could look at daily works best for me! Also, how satisfying and fun it is to color in each square when you are tracking your habits each day. You can find the habit tracker that I am currently using over at Clementine Collective.
Also, if this is your first time creating a habit tracker (like me) then no need to stress. This is what the process is all about! We will analyze our habits at the end of the month to see what we find. By seeing our habits in front of us we can then determine specific correlations. Why did you not go to the gym that morning? Is it because you didn’t go to bed at your set time the night before? See! By analyzing our behaviors we are then forced to find the connections between our actions.
So go ahead, start thinking about the habits that you want to make or break. Write them down! Color in those squares! Need a little more motivation to commit to your habits each day? Check out my previous post 5 Reasons to Stop Making Excuses for a little shove in the right direction.
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