Everything You Need to Know About How to Track Habits
Leigh Weingus •
When you’re working to build good habits and break bad habits, one of the first things you should think about is how to actually track your habits. There’s a thought that habit formation takes 21 days, but others believe it takes 30 days, or even 66 days.
Regardless of your school of thought around forming habits, tracking them and making sure you’re sticking with them on a regular basis is a great way to hold yourself accountable. But there’s not just one way to go about tracking your habits — actually, there are a lot of great options! — so we broke down the top habit tracker ideas. Here’s what you need to know.
Printable habit tracker
If you’re the type of person who likes to be able to see your progress at all times, try the printable habit tracker.
A printable habit tracker is great for anyone who likes to put pen to paper and likes to be able to see their progress. You can hang up a printable habit tracker, keep it at your desk, or keep it with you at all times.
Pros of a printable habit tracker
- It’s convenient
- You don’t have to think about how you want to track your habits, because it does the work for you
- Depending on where you put it, you can see it at all times
Cons of a printable habit tracker
- It takes ups space
- It could get damaged
- It doesn’t give you the option to track your habits in a way that’s personal to you
- It takes up space
Habit tracker app
If you're the type of person who wants everything in one place and you don't want to bother with a pen and paper (and haven’t handwritten anything in years anyway) try a habit tracker app. At its core, tracking you habits with an app is incredibly efficient and simple — we’re all glued to our smartphones anyway, right? Some examples of habit tracking apps include Momentum Habit Tracker, Habitica, Productive Habit Tracker, and more.
Pros of a habit tracker app
- Easy to use
- Depending on which app you use, you’ll get positive reinforcement from the app
Cons of a habit tracker app
- It’s on your phone, so if your phone dies or malfunctions, you won’t be able to use it
- You can’t physically see it unless you look at your phone
- You don’t get the creative power to decide how you want to track your habits
- If you’re trying to form the habit of spending less time on your phone, this probably isn’t the habit tracking method for you
Bullet journal habit tracker
If you’re the kind of person who likes creative power over tracking your habits, try a bullet journal habit tracker. Bullet journal habit trackers allow you to decide exactly how you want to track your habits. Some bullet journals come with more structure than others — for example, Silk + Sonder gives you the basic structure for your habit tracker, but you can use it however you want. A bullet journal like Silk + Sonder also gives you the option to see how your moods go hand-in-hand with your habits, so you can see how keeping up with the habits you want to cultivate actually impacts your mood.
Pros of a bullet journal habit tracker
- Gives you more creative power than other habit tracking methods
- Encourages you to get off your phone and put pen to paper
Cons of a bullet journal habit tracker
- Takes up space
- Can make habit tracking more complicated than it needs to be
- The fact that it’s in a notebook could make it easy to forget about it — especially if you don’t use your bullet journal for other things.
Monthly calendar habit tracker
If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep it simple, try a monthly calendar habit tracker. Whether it’s a wall calendar or a monthly calendar that lives in your planner. Each Silk + Sonder issue comes with a monthly calendar, so if you’d like, you can skip the habit tracking aspect and simply use an “X” to mark each day that you stuck with your habit.
Pros of a monthly habit tracker
- Visible (if you go for the wall calendar option)
Cons of a monthly habit tracker
- No creativity involved
- Takes up space
- Can feel a little boring
Wall calendar via @randilynnreedillustration
Google doc or excel sheet habit tracker
If you’re the kind of person who spends a lot of time on your laptop, try an excel sheet or Google doc. You won’t need any extra devices or a piece of paper or pen, and you can simply log your habits before you start your day or when you finish it.
Pros of using an excel sheet or Google doc to track your habits
- Convenient if you’re on your laptop a lot
- Gives you creative power to track your habits how you want to
- Doesn’t take up extra space
Cons of using an excel sheet or Google doc to track your habits
- Means more time on your laptop
- Visually, there’s only so much you can do with a spreadsheet
- This tracking method relies on your laptop, so if it malfunctions or dies, you won’t be able to track your progress
Regardless of how it is done I really get motivated by the visual record.
SARA WINSETT NOV 15, 2021