You’ve set an intention, and now you need a habit tracker to help you with the follow-through.
Habits are called habits for a reason: They’re your inherent, automatic, go-to behaviors; and the only way to build new habits is through routine.
Habit trackers like the ones we offer at Silk + Sonder help you develop good habits and accomplish your goals by creating accountability. If you have a goal in mind and are wondering how to use a habit tracker to help you get there, you’ve come to the right place.
Perhaps you’re thinking about starting your first bullet journal habit tracker, or you’re considering downloading a habit tracking app. No matter what the case, it’s important to weigh all your options, and we’re here to walk you through it.
What is a habit tracker, anyway?
Habit trackers come in many formats such as calendars, check lists, dot grids or wheels, but they’re all essentially a way to help you keep track of your habits by recording each time that you’ve accomplished a task. Unlike a simple to-do list, however, habit tracking can be used to break bad habits, build new habits, or even keep track of tasks you’re already doing.
Above all, habit trackers allow you to become more mindful of your behaviors and encourage consistency and self-accountability.
"If the habit or goal you are trying to achieve hits the 'sweet spot' between achievable yet challenging, habit trackers can facilitate learning, encourage accountability, and generate motivation," explains Dr. Sarah Kwan, a clinical psychologist. "This, in turn, provides a cycle of momentum that fuels self-esteem and self-mastery."
While habit tracking apps such as Habitfy or Coach.me can be useful, at Silk + Sonder we believe there’s nothing like putting pen to paper to make yourself feel committed. That’s why we recommend finding the right monthly journal or bullet journal habit tracker template for you. You’ll need to consider whether it’s a daily or weekly habit you’re trying to build, and choose the format that works best.
Now that you know what a habit tracker is, it’s time to harness the power of visualization and learn how to use a habit tracker to lead you to your goal.
Habit tracker ideas
How you use your habit tracker is completely up to you! Whether you want to kick-start a new self-care routine or simply keep track of how long you’ve gone without biting your nails, there are plenty of tasks and behaviors you can include in your habit tracker.
The first step is goal setting. What do you want to accomplish, and how often? Here’s a list of habit tracker ideas to get you started on building a new daily or weekly routine.
- 30 minutes of exercise
- Drink 8 cups of water
- Cook dinner
- Eat together at the table
- Go for a jog
- Morning push-ups
- Read a book
- Practice a new language for 15 minutes a day
- Avoid eating junk food
- Make the bed
- Call a friend
- Take your vitamins
- Take hourly stretch breaks
- Walk 10,000 steps a day
- Go to bed by 10 p.m.
- Don't check social media when you wake up
The most important thing is to write it down! Journaling helps you commit to the intention in your mind, and allows you to come back to it on a daily basis.
Weekly versus monthly habit trackers
The format of your habit tracker depends on your goal and its frequency. Most commonly, you’ll select a few daily habits and use a chart to check off each time that you completed the task. Use a check mark, an ‘X’, bullets, colorful boxes, stickers — get creative, it’s your call!
"If you love art, creating a beautiful tracker might help with motivation. If you notice that you prefer the ease of the digital, then absolutely use the apps and spreadsheets available," Dr. Kwan says. "There is no 'right' way to track a habit – the beauty of habit trackers is that you make them work for you."
Typically, you'll select daily habits (floss every evening) or even weekly habits (practicing yoga several times a week) and log them in a monthly habit tracker.
However, if your goal is to drink eight glasses of water every day, for instance, you’ll want to use a daily or weekly habit tracker with space for eight check marks per day. The same could be said for hourly stretch breaks during your waking hours.
You can find a bounty of simple habit tracker templates online, and if a monthly habit tracker is right for you, our Silk + Sonder monthly journals feature a new template each month.
Commit to building better habits
For those new to habit tracking, we recommend starting with the basics and building upon your new habits from there. And make sure they're measurable!
Dr. Kwan suggests selecting only one to three easily definable habits to focus on from the start, and checking in with yourself about how much time you will realistically be able to commit to each.
"Getting as specific as possible helps with accountability, so I like to schedule those blocks of time into my calendar. Don't be afraid to start small," she suggests. "If 10 minutes is all you can commit, then 10 minutes is all you need. You can gradually increase the amount of time dedicated to each habit as you gain a sense of mastery. Remember, these are your own self-set goals, so there is no failure – only opportunities to learn."
Don't feel overwhelmed if you're not perfectly consistent from day one. When you set out to build a new habit, you're committing to a lifestyle change. Each new day is another opportunity to check off all the right boxes and cement those habits, and over time, you'll see the progress!
We’d love to hear how habit tracking has worked for you. Comment below or join us on Instagram to continue the conversation. And as always, make sure to subscribe to Silk + Sonder today for a guided self care journey designed specifically for you.