“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”
- James Clear, Atomic Habits
A habit tracker is a simple way to track how you're progressing on the habits you want to develop or quit. Traditionally, habit trackers have been mostly limited to bullet journals, calendars, and checklists. In more recent times, mediums have expanded to include planners and mobile apps. Regardless of the format, all habit trackers have a common objective: to encourage consistency and accountability in the process of working towards a goal. All habits boil down to the repeated performance of a particular behaviour, and when it comes to building and breaking habits, using a habit tracker is indisputably one of the most effective ways to do so. For the uninitiated, here’s a guide on how to use habit trackers, as well as 4 creative ways of repurposing them for other tracking purposes!
1. BREAK OR BUILD HABITS
Before you embark on the course of habit tracking, the first step is setting a clear intention that will serve as a guide. Whether your goal is to adopt a new habit or break an unhealthy one, visualising the intended end result is key for generating the initial momentum. Next, set out your goals and how often you want to accomplish them. It’d be helpful to break them down into manageable parameters such that your goals aren’t challenging to the point where they might deter you instead. To do this, make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related). This way, you’ll make small steps of progress that will motivate you to stay on track!
2. TRACK YOUR FITNESS GOALS
If you’re looking to crush your health and fitness goals, a fitness tracker can be useful for planning your regime and monitoring your exercise habits. To do this, you may choose to create a colour code system that corresponds to various exercises (eg. orange for jogging, purple for yoga, green for deadlifts etc) and colour the exercises you complete on a certain day. By keeping a record of what you’ve accomplished, your tracker can motivate you to work out more frequently and reach your goals!
3. CREATE A SKINCARE LOG
While skincare routines can be extremely therapeutic, they can also become exhausting over time. Using a skincare tracker can not only remind you of the steps to complete, but also help to ensure that you’re completing your routine with appropriate intervals between certain products. You may choose to do this by marking the days you complete your skincare routine or create a more specific tracker where you check off individual products. Essentially, keeping a skincare tracker helps you to gauge the effectiveness of your overall routine!
Bohemia 2023 Planner from Papercranes Design
4. TRACK YOUR MOODS
If you’re thinking of taking steps to improve your mental well-being, a mood tracker can be an immensely helpful resource. One of the more popular ways to track your mood works by colour-coding a calendar grid that corresponds to different moods (eg. blue for sadness, red for anger, yellow for happiness etc). By colouring in the grids on a daily or weekly basis, your mood tracker acts as a visual tool that can help identify triggers and patterns. In turn, you may find that you’re able to better develop coping techniques and regulate your moods.
5. TRACK YOUR PERIODS
Using a period tracker can help you to take charge of your menstrual health. While fancy period tracker apps are aplenty, using a physical period tracker is as easy as colouring or marking the days your period starts and ends. Over time, you should be able to predict your next cycle, which also means that you can better plan your activities and take steps to manage your mood. In addition, this visual medium helps to detect patterns that are out of the ordinary, such as missed periods or irregular cycles.
Now that you have some ideas on how to use a habit tracker, make sure to keep your habit tracker within reach to make the process easier. At Papercranes Design, we believe there’s nothing quite like putting pen to paper on a fuss-free and visually-pleasing medium. We’ve incorporated habit trackers into our Bohemia 2023 Planner and Daydream Undated Planner such that other aspects of goal setting and day-to-day planning are in one accessible place. For a more handy option that is perfect for those on-the-go, our Sunset Hues Mini Notepads include habit trackers with tear-off pages!
Tracking your habits is a fantastic way to encourage positive change in your life. Whether you choose to track habits on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, be patient with yourself and remember that it is the cumulative impact of staying committed to your habits that will bring you success in the long-run. For the visual learners, we’ve also included a step-by-step video tutorial of some of the ideas mentioned in this post, that you may watch below or over on our Instagram. Happy tracking!