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Good habits are the greatest indicator of potential success. People who continually work on themselves and their craft will find better results. That sounds great, in theory. All that a person has to do is be consistent.
Having the willpower to build these habits is where things get hard. Everyone says they want to exercise and eat right, but they are unwilling to wake up an hour earlier to get it done. In any case, the process is hard, so it’s important to have the right tools to make it more manageable.
This is where a habit tracker can help people build a routine. Keeping track of the small steps that they’re taking to get to their goal is one of the best ways to stay on the right path.
What Is a Habit Tracker?
A habit tracker is any type of chart, agenda, journal, or whatever people want to use where they can register their different daily activities. There can be online habit tracker options. A popular one is tracking habits through a calendar app. The app can tell the person what to do at a specific time.
This does not mean that a habit tracker is just an agenda. That’s what many people get wrong. When they do, it makes it harder for them to create lasting effects. It’s not just about writing down what a person is supposed to do throughout the day but also tracking what they actually did.
Having a calendar on an office desk with many activities the person plans to do is not enough. There has to be a way to “track” that these activities are being completed. This has proven to be a more effective way to build these routines.
How Does It Work?
There are different ways that a habit tracker can “work.” It’ll depend on the type of habit tracker each person wants to establish for themselves. There are daily habit trackers and weekly habit trackers.
With an online habit tracker, there could be ways to input information from a running app into the tracker. This can be a way to not only cross off the list of activities that each person has set out to do. It can also be a way to keep track of the progress made because of the good habit.
In the simplest form, though, a habit tracker can be written down on a paper agenda. There will be a list of activities that need to be done throughout the day, sometimes with time frames attached. At the end of the day or the week, the person can cross off the activities they were able to perform.
The only real way for these trackers to be effective is if people commit to filing them out accordingly. Another important factor is to not lie about the activities that were completed or not. These trackers are usually only meant to provide a personal benefit. It doesn’t make sense to cheat on them.
Habit Tracker Benefits
Life is complicated these days. Everyone is balancing a set of activities that they do daily. That can include work, a social life, trying to exercise, having to clean or cook, and going to the grocery store. It’s hard to keep track of the things that need to get done just from memory.
Even though a habit tracker is not just an agenda, the first benefit it provides is a space to write down each person’s daily duties. That hopefully leads to fewer missed meetings, calls, or even social events.
Then comes the part that separates an actual habit tracker from a list on a desk where people can write down healthy office habits. Incorporating health tracking devices into an online habit tracker tool can make seeing progress much easier. People often give up on a good idea because they can’t grasp the results.
With the tools available today, habit trackers can also help mix things up. Many people find it hard to stick to a routine because it gets boring. What if the habit tracker can help develop a good recipe to stay on the diet?
Regarding exercise routines, these apps can also help by suggesting different activities. Modern smart health fitness tracker options don’t just provide the number of steps a person takes during the day. That was one of the early apps phones came with at the start of the smartphone age.
There are plenty of benefits that can be obtained through these trackers. It takes imagination and finding the right app to grasp the benefits they can bring.
Habit Tracker Ideas
The simplest way to create a habit tracker is with a small calendar, agenda, or book. Ideally, in these situations, the tracker won’t just make a list of things as was described earlier. At the very least, these journals have to have space for the person to write down exactly how the activity went down.
People can use their base calendar app to digitize their habit tracker but don’t want to download another app. Many of these apps are good because they send alerts to get people to do what they need to do. Plus, there’s usually a way to jot down what occurred within the activity.
The problem with keeping a tracker in a simple calendar app is that the progress can’t easily be quantified. Maybe the next step would be to copy and paste that into an Excel sheet. The problem with just using an Excel sheet is that there won’t be alerts on the phone to get the person up from their office chair.
These days, it’s hard to find an alternative that’s better than an app made to be a habit tracker. The main benefit that these apps provide is that they make it easier to track the progress. They can often send alerts to the person's phone to remind them to exercise, cook, or finish a particular project.
Habit trackers can be as simple or complex as people want them to be. Regardless of the type of tracker people choose, the important thing is that it’s effective for them. Some people will still love walking up to a schedule posted on a whiteboard in the fridge. If that’s effective, then it’s fine!
How to Get in the Habit of Using Your Habit Tracker?
The effectiveness of any habit tracker will largely depend on a person’s willingness to update it and truly use it. Are there ways to get into the “habit” of updating the tracker? The first step is to be convinced that this is something worth doing.
Another important thing is to place the habit tracker in a spot that the person frequents. Placing a list of healthy office habits behind the fridge in the office kitchen that no one uses is a terrible idea. If it’s a personal endeavor, the tracker must be on the desk or within that person’s phone.
Keeping those goals in the line of sight will make it easier for a person to find the time to update them. There is a give-and-take here to be aware of. If the phone ringing all the time is actually a trigger, then sticking to a traditional journal is a better option.
Building a habit often requires turning something that has to be done into something that a person wants to do. Keeping a habit tracker then has to be easy to do. What’s hard is building the habit. There’s no good reason to get uncomfortable in tracking these routines.
Keeping the habit tracker next to desk exercise equipment or within a home gym can make tracking progress easier. It can become like those old-school cards that factory workers punched in to track their time at work. Tracking progress won’t be an issue when it's easy and convenient.
How to Recover Quickly When Your Habits Break Down?
It’s fair to say there’s usually a sense of grief when habits break down. The original motivation that pushed someone to try and change their routine may be diminishing. Finding ways to get back on the horse as soon as possible is essential when that's the case.
One of the common issues is having the weather force people to break their habits. Going for a jog when it's freezing outside is not a good idea. If that’s the case, then looking into the benefits of using a treadmill is necessary.
That was just a simple example of a situation that can take place. The moral of the story is that when a habit breaks down, the key is finding the problem's source. Then, look for ways to try and shift the way that the activity is done.
When the habit is something like eating healthy, but work’s been tough, looking for healthy premade meals could be a good idea. Sometimes, people think they can’t be flexible when building habits. In many cases, it’s also not healthy to bend over backward to try and keep something that’s just not working.
Looking into different health challenge ideas to get the amount of exercise that’s required can be another alternative, especially when there are time constraints or even injuries in the process. Injuries are an interesting situation when trying to build a healthy habit.
What will happen is that the injury will keep the person from completing their routine. In that situation, it’s essential to find a substitute for the time that used to be spent doing exercise. That can be looking into things like meditation or rehab exercises. The key is to occupy the time frame productively.
How Long Do I Need to Track My Habits?
That depends on what type of habits any person wants to build. If it’s something like tracking a healthy corporate culture, then that will always need to show results. It could be a good idea to continue monitoring the habits for things like weight loss.
Keeping the habit of tracking the activities within a routine can help people determine if and when things go bad. Returning to the weight loss example, if the person begins to gain weight again, it could be part of losing the routine. What’s maybe even a better idea is to keep tracking habits but setting new goals.
People who want to track their habits to ensure they are going to the gym enough may have a weight loss goal. Once that goal is met, they can keep monitoring their habits, but now they want to achieve a muscle mass goal. In other situations, people may want to run a marathon now that they feel fit.
Keeping track of these daily activities is not a major hassle; staying with this habit can benefit someone immensely. Now that they’ve learned how to build a habit, they can use that information to create patterns in other parts of their lives. It doesn’t have to be anything physical; it can be a career goal.
There could also be certain things that are good to lose track of. Does anyone really need to know how much they weigh daily and make that part of their routine? There are certain professions and situations where it’s important. In most cases, though, it won’t need to be recorded daily.
Finding an effective way to build a habit is just as important as following through and creating the routine itself. There’s really no one right answer. That’s something that frustrates many people.
There’s a positive way to look at this: if someone is always on their phone, that’s a perfect place to keep a habit tracker. When the person wants to stay off their phone, there’s the traditional option. Many question when they’ll know they’ve built a sustainable habit.
It’s certainly a valid question. Like anything in this realm, it varies from person to person. Most people say, though, that a habit is built when it becomes second nature. It’s something that’s so embedded in that person that they’ll feel uneasy when they don’t complete their tasks.
Studies that have been performed on the topic mention that building a habit can take anywhere from a bit over two weeks to about a year. With those numbers, worrying about when the habit will be fully formed doesn't make much sense. Kobe Bryant would say, "It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and controlling what you can control".
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