Welcome to the first post in the Healthy Habits Series. In this series of posts each Monday I’ll be bringing you along with me on my Healthy Habits journey I’ll be experimenting with over the course of September.
I won’t go into too many details about what habits are, or how you form them; I have already written about this in my Getting Ready For Resolutions Series. If you would like to know more about habits and the best way to go about forming them you can read How to form habits and set goals and my “9 Ps to Form A Perfect Habit“.
How To Track Habits
How you go about tracking your goals and your progress is quite a personal choice, you may decide to go down a technology route (you can view a list of great resources in my article Tracking Your Goals and Habits) or you may go down the paper route.
I’ve been a fan of paper based task tracking for years and usually use a Moleskine as my diary and note-taking system of choice so I decided to go down the paper route with my habit tracking. I also wanted to keep it separate from my main to-dos so I could have a bit more flexibility – and fun! If you’re wanting a simple paper-based habit tracker then you may want to download my Free Goal and Habit Tracker to get your started.
When I was looking into ways of tracking my habits I came across Bullet Journaling which is quite similar to my Getting Things Done With A Moleskine set-up I used to use back in 2007. I felt that neither the bullet journal system not my original tracking system would really work for what I was trying to accomplish so I fell down the Pinterest Rabbit hole (warning, you will be gone for hours, grab a coffee before you click on the link!) to find some inspiration on design.
What Sort Of Tracker Should You Use?
One thing I soon realised was that the type of tracker would be directly impacted by the type of habits I wanted to track. There are many different visual ways of representing habits from lists and graphs to clock-style tracking and icons, and without knowing what I wanted to keep a track of, I could decide on any layouts.
I also wanted the system to be flexible enough so that if I changed what I wanted to track, for example if I decided that something wasn’t worth tracking or I needed to add something I could do that with the minimum of fuss.
To get started I wrote down a list of things that I wanted to track and why I wanted to track them, this allowed me to see what the items were and why I wanted to track them. Whilst I didn’t think there was much point in tracking items that were part of my general daily routine I thought it was important to add some items that I could tweak to make my life easier, or make the habits stick better.
After I had my list I sketched out a few designs to figure out which layout would work best for the number of habits I had, and still had room to add some if required.
Once I was happy with the design I then had to choose my notebook – this was probably the hardest part! I knew I wanted to go with something that was around A5 size as this would allow me more freedom and room. I had a look at my stack of notebooks (I have too many, I know, I have a problem!) but decided as this was short-run project to begin with (I may keep going after September) I didn’t want to use a 200 page notebook to start off with so I decided to use a spare Moleskine Cahier (affiliate link).
I started with setting up my monthly habit tracker (I couldn’t face designing a cover page, it was a bit overwhelming!).
Then I came up with my first day’s spread, which was really daunting even though I had already come up with the basic layout.
My Thoughts So Far
I’m really enjoying the tracking aspect of this challenge, and I like sitting down at the end of the day to think about what I have accomplished. My one complaint – if you can call it that – is that coming up with a design for the day takes so long! I’ve decided to do several at a time so I can just sit down of an evening and fill them in. I have a feeling this amy be considered “cheating” in certain Bullet Journaling circles, but I think the most important thing is that whatever system you choose it works for you, it is your system after all!
What’s Coming Up Next Week
On Friday I have some more healthy tips and habit tracking links in my round-up and on Monday I’ll be looking at how you can manage a healthy eating habit.
Have any tips on goal setting and habit tracking? Let me know in the comments!